Bragg, for the purpose of permitting him to command the forces ordered to advance into West Tennessee. You will turn attention immediately to the defenses of the States of Mississippi and Louisiana east of the Mississippi River, and consider the successful defense of those States as the first and chief object of your command.
You will also organize the troops in your department and prepare them for the field, and give such assistance to the officers charged with the enrollment of conscripts as they may require. The commandants of the camp of conscripts are charged with the duty of enrolling and assigning them. They act under general orders and report directly to this Department; but it will be in your power to assist them in the discharge of their duties.
If a favorable opportunity offer for an attack on New Orleans you will avail yourself of it, and act in concert with Major General Richard Taylor, who commands the District of Louisiana of the Mississippi. You will communicate with him as speedily as possible and concert with him a joint plan of operations for the defense of the river and the capture of New Orleans.
Your military department will comprise the State of Mississippi and so much of Louisiana as lines east of the Mississippi River. Until further orders you will report directly to this Department.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.
HOLLY SPRINGS, MISS., October 1, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
Dispatch received October 1 (to-day) at Pocahontas, Tenn. I have made union with General Price and am now before Corinth. Joined forces at Ripley, Miss., on September 28. Expect some of the returned prisoners at Holly Springs within ten days; probably all of them. Will send two regiments to Port Hudson, commanded sufficiently. Force now at Vicksburg. Expect to take Corinth; move to [Chewalla] division in the morning to feel position and strength, and to cut, with cavalry, the railroad to Jackson, Tenn.
One division of the Corinth command and some artillery left on the 25th for the north, Rosecrans, in command, with it. Is said two division are left at Corinth.
EARL VAN DORN,
HEADQUARTERS COMBINED FORCES,
Pocahontas, Tenn., October 1, 1862.
Commanding Army of the West:
GENERAL: I had intended to call and see you this evening, but have not been able to do so. I have ordered General Lovell to move his division in the morning toward Chewalla and the cavalry to meet Armstrong near there, and to move forward and feel the condition of affairs about Corinth-that is, the cavalry-also to cut the Jackson Railroad. I have ordered General Lovell to leave you 12,000 rations. Please hold yourself in readiness with your army corps to march at short notice. It may be that we shall march some time to-morrow; it will depend upon