SMITHLAND, March 10, 1863.
(Received March 13.)
Have sent three boats with convoy to Nashville. Captain Hurd has instructions form me to go on up to Carthage this trip, if water enough. He will communicate with you at Nashville, before starting above. As soon as replied, I wish to make another trip up the Tennessee River. Please communicate with me at Smithland, Ky., or with Captain Hurd, at Nashville. Will be happy to render you any assistance I can.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CENTRAL KENTUCKY,
Lexington, Ky., March 10, 1863.
Major General HORATIO G. WRIGHT,
Commanding Department of the Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio:
GENERAL: A deliberate digest of the reports of my scouts from the vicinity of Cumberland and Big Creek Gaps, taken in connection with information derived from intercepted rebel letters, and the reports of rebel prisoners, forces upon me the conviction that a formidable raid or invasion of Kentucky, from East Tennessee, will take place before the end of the present month, unless the condition of the roads and streams should render such an enterprise impracticable. I believe now, as I always have believed, that such a project is practicable. You will recollect that when the forces which Major-General Granger recently took from this State were leaving, I made an official communication to you on the subject. I extract from that communication as follows, under date January 23, 1863:
The condition in which the District of Central Kentucky will be left by the exodus of troops soon take place, demands the gravest consideration, and should be looked to at once. The idea that the State cannot be invaded at this season of the year, on account of the bad state of the roads, is a fallacy tending to do so much mischief that it should be altogether repudiated. I consider it perfectly practicable for mounted troops to enter the State, in small bodies, by different routes, so rapidly that, by rendezvousing on some good pike leading into the blue-grass region, they could, in a few hours after they commenced uniting, present so formidable a front that nothing but well-disciplined mounted troops could expel them or prevent their overrunning the entire State, with the exception of a few points held by infantry.
The opinions expressed by me six weeks ago have been strengthened by recent experience and more perfect information. My firm belief is that I require more force in Central Kentucky, the garden spot of the State, and i suggest the propriety of retaining the two Michigan regiments that were to be exchanged for two Tennessee regiments. I also suggest that any spare troops that may now be under your control be sent here. I have heard nothing of the Indiana battery ordered to report to me some weeks since. The battalion of Second Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, which I turned back from Frankfort, while en route for Nashville, is still here. Why can I not have the balance of the regiment, which I understand is still in Ohio, under its colonel (Kautz).
Rumors and reports from scouts fix Cluke still in the vicinity of Hazle Green. Colonel Walker will ascertain facts, and you will be informed when he reports.
I ask your serious consideration upon the matters touched in this letter, and remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Q. A. GILLMORE,