AUGUST 25, 1862.
SIR: I inclose you a copy of a dispatch from Major-General Price, indicating that the enemy are about to fall back from West Tennessee. They are already on the move back from the Memphis and Charleston Railroad toward Nashville. Large bodies have moved toward McMinnville in the last two days, and my impression is they are concentrating at or near Nashville. General Buell is certainly there now.
The latter part of General Price's dispatch requires prompt attention. The agent of the Post-Office Department is making an effort, it seems, to work our telegraph lines in that section, and the execution of my order to discharge operators employed by military authority must work serious inconvenience. We are very fearful that competent operators in sufficient numbers cannot be had by the present post-office agent, who is specially obnoxious to all of the est known to me, and they refuse to work under him. Only three lines which pay good dividends have yet been taken possession of by him, and the general impression prevails that we are in the hands of the "money-changers." If the object of the agent of the Post-Office Department was to embarrass commanders and military operations in this department he could not more successfully accomplish it.
I am, &c.,
TUPELO, MISS., August 24, 1862.
A gentleman just from Tuscumbia says it is well understood there that a strong body of troops [30,000] are to be moved eastward immediately. He knows that they are making large preparations for a movement. Have sent my cavalry to annoy them, and will continue to do it as much as possible with my force. Will the order discharging all telegraph operators in Government employ leave me without any on this line?
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE TENNESSEE, Tupelo, Miss., August 25, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I feel that it is not necessary for me to apologize to you for the frequency with which I request you to do such acts as seem to me calculated to promote the efficiency of the army under my command, but that it is my duty to make such requests as often as the occasion arrives. I therefore call your attention to the deficiency of general officers in the Army of the West, and to the unfortunate consequences which necessarily result from this fact.
My troops are distributed into two divisions and a cavalry brigade, commanded, respectively, by Brigadier-Generals Little and Maury and acting Brigadier-General Armstrong. Little's division [which is much the larger at present by reason of the recent addition of six regiments of Mississippi troops] consists of four brigades, commanded by Brigadier-Generals Hebert and Green and Colonels Gates and Martin; Maury's