force men must be selected for these positions to co-operate with the officers assigned to that duty. I would therefore respectfully recommend that ex-officio rank be conferred on the provost and deputies. I believe this is an opportune time to enforce the conscript law in this department. It will be necessary to retain force enough to hold in check any Union sentiment that may exist.
Colonel Scott and others in Kentucky have paroled East Tennesseeans in the Federal Army to return to their homes. These men are doing great damage. I have directed them to be collected and sent North, among others Lieutenant Peck, of the Federal Regular Army. Cumberland Gap, on this side, is closely invested, and General Morgan is short of provisions. The north side of the Gap is open, and he can escape in the direction of Manchester or Columbia. The force at my disposal is only sufficient to invest this side, protect the railroad bridges, and keep the country quiet. General Smith is calling on me for re-enforcements. My position as temporary commander of the department is embarrassing, to say the least. I shall carry out General Smith's views.
The conscript law should be enforced at once. I would prefer having the disaffected element in my front than my rear. I would recommend that warning be given that all those who left would be considered as aliens and their property sequestrated. I would in the mean time call for volunteers to the date the law would be put in force. Those who left for the north would only embarrass General Morgan in his critical position. If I had forces sufficient to invest the north of the Gap I believe that Morgan and his whole force would soon be captured or give battle. A definite policy should be adopted at once, and I ask early instructions. The position and importance of East Tennessee require prompt action.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. McCOWN,
[SEPTEMBER 4, 1862.-For Davis to Bragg see Part I, p.711.*]
CHATTANOOGA, TENN., September 4, 1862.
Governor SHORTER, Montgomery, Ala.:
Your telegram just received. What part of Alabama is the enemy ravaging? On railroads south of Tennessee River we are west from Decatur. That part of country is watched by General Price. My scouts extend to Guntersville, and are scouring the country north of river between Stevenson and Huntsville. Have heard of no incursions within reach of my lines. Have reliable information that the enemy has abandoned Huntsville and Winchester, Tenn. Send Colonel Morgan's regiment as directed by Secretary of War. I can give the ammunition needed, but no arms at present; send them without arms. Authorize the colonel to purchase three wagons and teams; I will have them paid for. If he can be supplied in Montgomery with the necessary funds for commissary and quartermaster service in his regiment for a month I will replace it.
*Copy taken by Union scouts from a Confederate courier at Glasgow, Ky., September 18, 1862.