General Bragg directs General Breckinridge, who has not yet arrived, to take with him to Kentucky all the arms I can collect here. If arms cannot be sent me from any nearer point than Columbus, Miss., I understand there are many thousands there, but have no control over them. Can you supply the arms?
CHATTANOOGA, TENN., September 8, 1862.
I am satisfied that there are no United States troops in North Alabama between here and Decatur. If there are any in Alabama west of Decatur General Price will soon drive them out. I have therefore directed Colonel J. T. Morgan to proceed with his regiment to Bridgeport and report to General Maxey.
GENERAL STEVENSON'S HEADQUARTERS,
Near Cumberland Gap, Tenn., September 8, 1862.
General S. COOPER, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I am here by the request of General Stevenson for consultation. As you are aware I was left in command of this department by orders of General E. Kirby Smith. The forces under the command of General Stevenson are only sufficient to safely invest the Gap. I find in the department, subject to my command (a part of Bragg's army is in the department), exclusive of the forces here, only sufficient to guard the bridges on the railroad and some Partisan Rangers; how many I cannot say. General Smith is calling on me for re-enforcements. A force of the enemy have left the Gap to strike, I fear, at our communication with Kentucky at Big Creek Gap. I have ordered every available man (Partisan Rangers) to that point and to Rogers' Gap to watch his movements. The strength of the Gap and the completeness of its fortifications will not permit its being attacked with any hope of success. General Stevenson agrees with me in this opinion. Safe in the front, the enemy is left with safety to strike any point left unguarded or at any trains going to General Smith. I believe, if it could be done, a force should be sent to invest the other side, and week would result in the surrender of all Morgan's command. As it is I doubt if I can with the force at my disposal prevent small blows through the other passages at the command placed to watch these passages into East Tennessee.
I am endeavoring to arm a command of convalescents, but cannot procure the arms. These men are a part of General Smith's command in Kentucky.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. P. McCOWN,