and I have urged upon General Bragg his consent to my adopting it. It is the boldest and most brilliant in its results; it effectually invests Morgan, while it turns Buell's communications; and if Kentucky be as ripe for the move as all representations indicate it must involve the abandonment of Middle Tennessee by the Federals. Politically, now is the time to strike at Kentucky. Delay loses the golden opportunity, and fall finds her people powerless and a large army between us and the waters of the Ohio. I can move on Lexington with 10,000 men and still leave Stevenson with a sufficient force in front of the Gap, able either to hold Morgan in check or to pursue should he follow me into Kentucky.
I inclose you a sketch* of the Cumberland Mountains, with the routes my columns are to follow. You will also find a letter from Colonel Duke, the man of Morgan's regiment. It is but one of many, representing the condition of affairs in Kentucky and is interesting. Buckner should be sent here; his name is a division in any movement on Kentucky. General McCown should be placed in temporary command of the department, and the line of policy to be pursued should be marked out for him. When the frontier has been disembarrassed of Morgan's command the conscript law should be enforced, and the 10,000 ablebodied men who have been so long protected in their rights by this Government should be made to stand shoulder to shoulder with its defenders. If the leading Union men have the alternative of becoming alien enemies or supporters of the Government and at the same time the conscript law be enforced I believe a large proportion of the fighting population of East Tennessee will be with us, and those who run away will be a happy riddance.
I inclose you General Bragg's last letter.+ It indicates a probable adoption of my plan of moving into Kentucky. As we act in concert, my movement will only be made with the sanction of his judgment.
I have just received a letter+ from General Bragg, a copy of which is inclosed. It sanctions my move on Kentucky; but the delay which it necessitates is to be regretted. My advance is made in the hope of permanently occupying Kentucky. It is a bold move, offering brilliant results, but will be accomplished only with hard fighting, and must be sustained by constant re-enforcements.
In conclusion, I must again urge the advantage of having Buckner sent to this column. There is not a Kentuckian of influence or a single Kentucky regiment with the command. I feel the great responsibility of my position, and having only the good of the country at heart, will cheerfully work in this expedition as a subordinate to Buckner, G. W. Smith, or any one who, as commander-in-chief, could better advance the interests of the cause.
E. KIRBY SMITH,
KNOXVILLE, TENN., August 11, 1862.
Brigadier General P. R. CLEBURNE,
Fourth Division, Army of East Tennessee:
GENERAL: The major-general commanding directs that the brigade formerly under your immediate command and now of your division
+Reference is probably to Bragg's letters of August 8 and 10.
48 R R-VOL XVI, PT II