War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0687 Chapter XXIX. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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HOLLY SPRINGS, MISS., August 27, 1862.

Major SNEAD:

I arrived here yesterday. Have consulted General Villepigue. His cavalry do operate with me. I leave my train within his pickets. I send you dispatches by Dr. Webb. I will move from here to-night. A telegram will overtake me.

FRANK C. ARMSTRONG,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE TENNESSEE, Tupelo, Miss., August 27, 1862.

Major General EARL VAN DORN,

Commanding District of the Mississippi, Jackson, Miss.:

GENERAL: I acknowledge with a great deal of pleasure the receipt of your letter of the 24th instant, and am glad that you agree to my proposition to unite our forces for an aggressive campaign. I fully concur in the opinion that we should move our combined armies through Western Tennessee toward Paducah, and thence wherever circumstances may dictate. It seems to me that we should first drive the enemy from his position at and near Corinth, so as to retain control of the railroad. I fear that my own forces are hardly sufficient to accomplish this, as the enemy are equal to them in numbers and strongly intrenched, and I am not willing to risk a doubtful engagement under present circumstances. I therefore think that it is decidedly better that we should concentrate our forces at or near this point for the purpose of attacking the enemy at Corinth. This ought to be done straightway, so as to hinder and delay the re-enforcements of Buell as much as possible, and also to anticipate any re-enforcements which may be on their way to Corinth. In both of these views speedy action is very important. Having driven the enemy from Corinth we may then decide upon the future conduct of the campaign. I have sent General Frank C. Armstrong, with almost 2,000 cavalry, upon an intended reconnaissance. He has probably reached Grand Junction. He will make the circuit of Corinth, striking at whatever pints may appear most available. I will be able to advise you more particularly as to the enemy's strength and position after hearing from him. Let us meanwhile hasten our preparations to move. I can have my army ready within five days. Our success must depend in a great measure, and may depend altogether, upon the rapidity of our movements. We must attack the enemy before they begin to receive their new levies and while they are still discouraged by their late reverses. We ought to avail ourselves, too, of the moral force which we would gain by participating in the great forward movement which our armies are nw making everywhere. An advance on our part would put the whole line in movement from the Atlantic to the territories, for we alone are stationary. The dispatches this afternoon announce that the enemy are falling back from the line of the Tennessee. Let us keep them moving.

I am, general, with the greatest respect, your friend and servant,

STERLING,

Major-General.