authorizing him to suspend the execution of the conscript act in East Tennessee. Before the order was given to enforce that law in this department Generals Smith and McCown authorized certain gentlemen to raise regiments of volunteers in this section of country, with the understanding that the regiments would be received and mustered into the service. One or two have been raised, as I am informed, and are ready to be mustered in, and others in the course of organization would have been ready if a doubt had not arisen as to whether they would be received. If that doubt were removed I am assured the regiments would be filled in about ten days. From the most reliable information I can gather I believe that a favorable change is coming over the minds and actions of the people of this section of country, who have heretofore been obstinate and persistent supporters of President Lincoln's Government. Many of the most prominent of these men, among them Thomas A. R. Nelson, esq., express the opinion that all hope of preserving the Union has fled, and that it is the duty of all men who remain in the Southern Confederacy to support the Government and take up arms in defense of the country. As an evidence of this state of feeling. I am told that great numbers of people are preparing to volunteer in the army. I believe that if the regiments which were authorized to be raised whilst the conscription act was suspended in this department are received into the service it will be the means of bringing into the field a larger number of efficient and willing volunteers, and in a shorter time, than can be procured in any other way; will tend much to allay disloyal feeling, and facilitate the execution of the conscript act on those who have not volunteered. I am told that much individual expense has been incurred in raising the troops I have referred to, and the refusal to receive them would in my judgment increase the disloyal feeling, and if when they profess themselves desirous of volunteering they are forced into the service as conscripts I should not regard them as reliable. A regiment which was raised some time since of men who were suspected of being disloyal, but were permitted to choose between volunteering and being sent to prison, proved, utterly worthless and was soon disbanded. I may add that it is the opinion of gentlemen of high standing in the community who are entirely loyal, and in no way interested in raising new regiments, that every man in East Tennessee whose services the Government needs may be brought into the service as volunteers. The work of enrolling conscripts is going on and I hope soon to have a number of them in camps of instruction. A number of gentlemen have applied to me to know if the regiments I have mentioned would be received. I could only reply that they could not be without an order from the Department or a modification of the law, and that the work of enrolling must go on regardless of the authority exhibited. It is very desirable that the question would be definitely settled, and I have respectfully to ask that you will communicate with me on the subject at your earliest convenience.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,