War of the Rebellion: Serial 035 Page 0278 KY., MID., AND E. TENN., N., ALA., AND SW. VA. Chapter XXXV.

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ing authority to seize horses, under certain restrictions, written (by order) by Captain [William W.] Van Ness, assistant quartermaster, of your staff. I need hardly say that I was surprised and chagrined. Since I am responsible for the efficiency and good condition of the troops under my command, it would appear reasonable that orders of so grave a character should pass through my hands, if issued at all from other headquarters than mine.

I had inaugurated a system of seizure of horses (when necessary), and of their appraisement, which has thus far worked well, without tending in any degree to the demoralizing of the troops making the seizures. This system could easily have been extended to Mount Sterling if necessary and the control of that matter, I submit, should be under my entire direction.

When in Lexington, on the 23rd instant, I submitted to the general commanding my reasons why I thought it injudicious to authorize the seizure of horses at Mount Sterling, and he concurred in my views, and I left him with the impression that no such authority would be granted, yet this order (referred to above) bears date of the 18th instant, five days before our interview.

Every moment of my time is devoted to rendering my command efficient for the field, and to bring them up to such a high point of discipline that they can be used with credit to themselves and to the country when called upon to act; but I would respectfully submit that I will be wholly unable to attain this desirable result it my authority is to be weakened by their communicating direct to your headquarters, and their communications entertained and answered without any reference whatever to me, their immediate commander.

I will not, of course, undertake to dictate the course to be pursued at district headquarters, but I may be permitted to say that the custom and courtesy of the service, as well as the printed regulations of the army, all require that all intercourse between my command and higher authority than myself should pass through my headquarters.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


April 26, 1863-4 p.m.

Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS,


Inform the General-in-Chief I have it from a letter of Colonel Hill, commanding brigade in rebel army, that Joe Johnston has got 18,000 re-enforcements of which 5,000 had already arrived on the 19th instant, and that he would have 30,000 in all by the 7th proximo. He says it is the intention of the rebels to advance on us, if we do not advance on them. If were retire into fortifications, they will cross into Kentucky, will seize Columbus and so on. They intend to get here before General Grant can arrive. Our expedition to cut the Georgia Railroad promises to succeed. Dodge took Tuscumbia on the 24th, and was to take Florence on the 26th. Bragg has occupied the line of Duck River. His re-enforcements hold Tullahoma. My expedition to McMinnville succeeded. Report by mail, under late instructions, to save expense.