there are being rapidly reduced, and when our movements become known it is certain they must throw more forces into Middle Tennessee and Kentucky or lose those regions. If you hold them in check we are sure of success here; but should they re-enforce here so as to defy us then you may redeem West Tennessee and probably aid us by crossing to the enemy's rear.
I cannot give you specific instructions, as circumstances and military conditions in your front may vary materially from day to day. To move your available force to Holly Springs by railroad, thence into west Tennessee, co-operating with General Price [who will move soon toward Corinth], or to move to Tupelo by rail and join Price, are suggestions only. Positive instructions, except to strike at the most assailable point, cannot be given when so little is known and when circumstances may change daily. Of course when you join Price your rank gives you the command of the whole force.
I inclose a copy of Captain Jones' inspection report.* Many of the points in it require your immediate attention. First and most important is the prompt reduction of your light artillery. You have enough for an army of 100,000 men. It is impossible to keep it all up and be effective. T keep it all ineffective must be avoided. Eight batteries of four guns each is ample for your present force. As you cannot discharge the companies without authority from the War Department I suggest that you dismount them, giving such horses and material s they have to make other corps effective and transfer the officers and men to your heavy batteries, relieving infantry; or you could arm them as infantry and put them in the field. Some companies, I see, are still being equipped. Put a stop to it immediately. Other parts of the report, too, require your prompt consideration, especially in the staff departments.
The reports from the medical inspector coming in are equally unsatisfactory. Your short time in command and close engagement at Vicksburg have allowed you but little time for these matters, but I trust you will be able, through intelligent and effective staff officers, in correcting some of the evils soon.
It is with deep regret I see you lose General Villepigue, as I consider him equal to any officer in our service.
Brigadier-General Duncan, and perhaps others, exchanged, will soon be with us, when you shall be attended to.
I am, general, most respectfully and truly, yours,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE TENNESSEE, Tupelo, Miss., August 11, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:
SIR: I have instructed one of my staff, Dr. Luke P. Blackburn, to wait upon you for the purpose of endeavoring to obtain from the Department for the troops of the Army of the West a portion of the improved small-arms which have lately come into the possession of the Government by capture and otherwise. Many of my troops are very badly armed, and some of the new regiments have no arms at all. I