War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0673 Chapter XXIX. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Number 2, Chattanooga, Tenn., August 9, 1862.

Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,

Secretary of War:

SIR: Your letter of July 22 has just been received, having been to Tupelo and returned. My reply to a telegram from the President must have removed an erroneous impression in regard to the proportion between troops and generals in this command. In your letter you entirely ignore one-half of Van Dorn's, the whole of Forney's, and a large portion of Price's commands, not organized into brigades or divisions for want of commanders. I inclose a tabular statement* of the whole command, showing what its organization should be and the number of general officers we have and the number required.

The fact that some of the generals are absent from sickness and other causes does not remove the difficulty, for a greater proportion of the troops are also absent from similar causes. The presence of both would compel a large increase in the number of brigades and divisions.

In reference to the want of qualifications in some general officers I alluded particularly to Major-Generals Crittenden, McCown, and Cheatham, and Brigadiers Carroll, Trapier, and Hawes, as, in my judgment, unsuited for their responsible positions, and, as far as I can learn, not recommended from here.

The practice of giving command of divisions and brigades to senior brigadiers and colonels does not work well, and at times is fraught with great danger.

The recent exchange of prisoners will restore some of our generals and remove to that extent my embarrassments.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

BRAXTON BRAGG,

General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Number 2, Chattanooga, Tenn., August 9, 1862.

ADJUTANT-GENERAL C. S. ARMY, Richmond, Va.:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your favor of the 21st ultimo, inclosing copy of communication from the acting Postmaster-General to you. In reply I will state that the Post-Office Department is misinformed. No military possession or control of the telegraph lines in my department has been assumed by me. General Johnston and afterwards General Beauregard, my predecessors, had a telegraph operator of honesty and skill as superintendent for the regulation of such matters. The same officer and the same system have been continued by me. The operator is regarded as any other member of my staff-as an agent simply to see to the faithful discharge of the duties of his department. He requires the revenues of the lines erected by military funds to be properly collected and accounted for. He also audits the accounts of telegraph companies against the Government, and by his action in this particular a large number of fraudulent charges against the Government have been detected and rejected. Had the Postmaster-General, under the recent act of Congress, applied for the control of the lines in my department he would have encountered no opposition from me. The extent of the department and the importance of military operations in it, in my opinion, made it his duty to assume

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*Not found.

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43 R R-VOL XVII, PT II