FEBRUARY 11, 1863.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS,
Commanding Dept. of the Cumberland, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of the 9th instant, asking if I would be able to occupy a line from Glasgow, Edmonton, Jamestown, and Somerset, with an advance line at Petersburg, Tompkinsville, and Burkesville, was answered by telegram yesterday. With the force left in Kentucky, it does not seem to me best to attempt such occupation, for the reasons that the forces which could be assigned to the various points would not be strong enough to hold them against any serious attack, and even to place small garrisons at those points would involve the serious weakening of the garrisons at points on the railroad which it is important we should hold.
General Boyle's return for January gives his effective force as follows: Bowling Green, enlisted men for duty, 1,843; Clarksville, 1,550 (not including Second Battalion Eighth Kentucky Cavalry, attached to Colonel Bruce's command, but stationed at Hopkinsville, of which there was no return); Munfordville, enlisted men for duty, 2,372; Lebanon, Ky., 985; Henderson, Ky,. and all northwest portion of the State, 1,104; Muldraugh's Hill, 328; Elizabethtown, 236; Louisville, including provost guard, 480, and Ninth Kentucky Cavalry, sent to scour the country in the vicinity of Cumberland River about Burkesville, & c., 584.
In Central Kentucky I have some 6,000 men in all.
From the above you will see, I think, that it is impracticable for me to attempt to defend Kentucky by occupying a line along the lower part of the State. The most that it has been proposed to do, and is in accordance with the views of General Halleck, is to protect the line of railroad, and, by occupying two or three points elsewhere, to keep down disturbances. At this season of high streams and bad roads, I do not think any serious demonstration will be made by the rebels upon the State; but if they should, I shall have to call upon your for aid. You are in advance; the important results must be accomplished by you, and I have been desirous of giving you my best officers and men, and have reduced my force both in Kentucky and West Virginia to an absolute minimum in order to put you in condition for a fight.
The Second and Tenth Ohio will be sent you as soon as they can be got ready. Neither are fully mounted, and the former is not armed. Hope they will be ready in twenty days. They will both be strong, a battalion of the Eighth, now in Kentucky, being added to the Second.
I have talked somewhat with Colonel [Joseph C.] McKibbin, who will take this. He may be able to enlighten you in regard to certain matters of detail.
Very respectfully and truly,
H. G. WRIGHT,
Washington, February 12, 1863.
Major-General ROSECRANS, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:
Your dispatch about "river patrolling" received. I have called the Secretary of Navy, Secretary of War, and General-in-Chief together, and submitted it to them, who promise to do their very best in the case. I cannot take it into my own hands without producing inextricable confusion.