cannot spare the command to do it. It would draw a portion of their cavalry from Lawrence and Morgan Counties, Alabama, and give me an opportunity to operate completely in their rear and on the Memphis and Charleston road with more effect. I only make this suggestion in case there should be any cavalry in the Army of the Mississippi that the major-general could get temporarily attached to this brigade. I intend to move slowly until I can get near enough to act vigorously before the enemy can gain much knowledge of my approach.
I have the honor to be, with respect, your obedient servant,
FRANK C. ARMSTRONG,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Tupelo, Miss., July 20, 1862.
Colonel JOSEPH WHEELER,
Commanding Cavalry Brigade, Army of the Mississippi:
COLONEL: I am instructed by Major-General Hardee to say that the regiments of your command have been ordered to rendezvous at Ripley immediately. He desires that you will use the utmost possible dispatch to set on foot the movement in contemplation.
Respectfully, colonel, your obedient servant,
T. B. ROY,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Number 2, Tupelo, Miss, July 20, 1862.
Major General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding, &c., Knoxville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: Your dispatch announcing General Buell's arrival opposite Chattanooga was received and answered yesterday.* Confronted here by a largely superior force strongly intrenched, it will be impossible for me to do more than menace and harass the enemy from this quarter, as we constantly do with our cavalry by driving in his outposts and capturing his foraging parties and all stragglers from his lines. The fact is we are fearfully outnumbered in this department, the enemy having at least two to our one in the field, with a comparatively short line, upon which he may concentrate. With the division from here, the new levies from Alabama and Georgia, and the 4,000 from among which I authorized General McCown to stop and appropriate, I have hoped you would be able to cope with General Buell's force, especially as he would have to cross a broad and deep river in your immediate presence. That hope still exists; but I must urge on you the propriety of assuming command in person at Chattanooga. The officer I sent you, I regret to say, command be trusted with such a command, and I implore you not to intrust him indeed with any important position. New Madrid fell by his errors and want of decision and firmness, as is supposed, while other prominent instances and evidences of his want of capacity and nerve for a separate, responsible command have just been brought to my notice. His high rank constraining me to send him with his division, I had no alternative at the time.
*See Series I, Vol. XVI, Part II.p.730.