the only nor the largest army in the field, and you are not the only general who is urgently calling for more cavalry and move cavalry arms. The supply is limited, and the demands of all cannot be satisfied. The Government must judge for itself what army is the most in need of, and how far, with the means on hand, the wants of each can be supplied. For example, yourself, Generals Grant, Sibley, Banks, Hunter, Foster, Dix, and Schenck are all urgently demanding "more cavalry." Of course, all cannot be supplied, nor, indeed, the full demands of any one. The Government has done everything in its power to raise and arm more cavalry, but if every regiment raised in the last few months in the whole country had been sent to you, to the exclusion of all others, your demands would not have been filled. The only alternative was to give you the authority which you asked for to mount a portion of your infantry. But you now bitterly complain of the want of better cavalry arms; that unless the Government supplies you with "revolving rifles in place of pistols," &c., you will not be prepared for coming emergencies. You also ask for the "best arms," superior arms," &c.
A few words of explanation will show how well founded are your complaints. It was alleged, and with good reason, last year that Western troops did not receive their fair proportion of good arms. To avoid any complaints of this kind in future, the Secretary of War, in August last, directed that the several qualities of arms should be issued to the volunteers from different States in exact proportion to the number in the service, and in this proportion assigned to the different armies. To avoid any further abuses or partialities, Assistant Secretary Watson took the immediate direction of these issues, and I learn from him that your troops have received their full proportion of the "best arms," "superior arms," &c.
Certainly you cannot expect that you can have all the best arms and other troops receive only those of a lower grade. In regard to "revolving rifles," "superior arms," &c., every one is issued the moment it is received. Those who cannot obtain these must use carbines, sabers, and pistols, or muskets. Even with these our cavalry is better armed than that of the enemy.
Everything has been and will be done for your army which the Government can do without injustice to other troops. You cannot expect the best of arms or of anything else, to the exclusion of others, who need them as much as you do.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
CAIRO, ILL., February 3, 1863.
Lieutenant-Commander Fitch informs me that he has arranged to leave Smithland for Fort Donelson every Monday, to convoy loaded transports, and to return with those which have discharged cargo. He telegraphs me nothing very serious up Tennessee River, and no danger of either river being blockaded by rebels with the force that he has. Lieutenant-Commander Phelps agrees with him in this opinion. Have sent all your dispatches to the admiral. As soon as I hear from him, will communicate with you.
A. M. PENNOCK,
Fleet Captain and Commandant of Station.