War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0670 WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX.

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post-quartermaster at a two-company post on the Texas frontier. Hence, I have no hopeful anticipations about transportation or an effective administration of the quartermaster's department, which is the vital force of such an army in the campaign proposed.

Meantime, however, Kirby Smith has a fine opportunity to strike a blow at General Morgan before Cumberland Gap. The proper force has been furnished, and if he does not effect something so great it will be truly unfortunate. The enemy in our front, unless we are grossly deceived by all appearances and a large amount of concurrent testimony, are disposed in a manner astonishingly favorable for our attack, being very much scattered and separate; if in a line, by no means favorable for rapid concentration if requisite; indeed, it looks as if they want to give as little trouble as possible; but it remains to be seen how efficiently, that is, how speedily, we shall be able to take advantage of their kindness. Buell of course can have no serious notion of attempting to cross the Tennessee now, at Bridgeport, with this army to contest the passage; therefore I am at a loss to comprehend his movements, especially his concentration of so many men at Bridgeport and thereabouts, and his division of his forces at points that can be struck from here like Murfreesborough was.

I hope you are now about ready to report for duty and that you will hasten to do so. The rest, quiet, and respite from duty you have enjoyed must have placed you all right on your feet again, and re-entrance in the legitimate sphere for you in times like these may now be better for you than the quietude of so warm a place as Bladon Springs must be at this season. I shall hope to hear that you have indeed already made application for orders. I sometimes hope that Mr. Davis may make certain amends and order you to Virginia for duty. He gave Governor Harris, however, to understand that you were not permanently taken away from this army-did not say so expressly, but, the Governor says, left the distinct impression on his mind that you would resume command of this department when well again. Your criticisms on the Richmond combats are certainly sound, and the more I hear of that field the more I am amazed at the paucity of results.

Dick Taylor was here yesterday en route for West Louisiana, where he is to command as a major-general. General Bragg asked for him in that grade with this army. He was appointed, but sent to West Louisiana. He says Huger has been assigned to duty with only his rank of colonel in the Confederate Army, his provisional grade of major-general having been abated. Magruder is charged with incompetency and loss of head, and much blame attached both to his and Huger's slowness.

D. H. Hill told Toombs on the field either to move up or resign his brigade into hands that had the nerve to lead it. Toombs challenged Hill; he declined on religious grounds. Toombs had a divided judgment as to his course, and halts, as an ass between two bundles of hay, whether to resign and cowhide Hill, or resign, make some facile Georgia member of Congress resign, take his place and overturn the Government from the floor of Congress. I had but little chance to talk with Taylor, and did not have a chance to hear more Richmond news.

The war is rapidly drifting to the black-flag phase. We cannot escape it if the new system prescribed in Pope's orders, and already inaugurated in my native county [Page] and village [Luray] is not stopped. We must accept the gauntlet thrown to us-accept the war as tendered to us, and the sooner the better. The letter of the President and the orders are in the right direction, but not radical enough. Private sol-