two armies are now seriously complicated, and should any great disaster befall either, and especially both of them, it would be a matter of the greatest importance that this army should be intact. Furthermore, should disaster befall our armies in the East and on the Mississippi, and we not be successful in an advance, the consequences would be far more injurious than a victory could be advantageous. And, however much the probabilities of success may be in our favor, no man can say absolutely and positively what will be the result of any conflict of arms, not that victory is certain to either side. At least the issue of battles is in the hands of the Almightily.
Hence, while continuing our preparations for an advance, which is the best way to be ready for any emergency, I would advise delay until a solution occurs of the complications on the Potomac and Mississippi. This course cannot injurer prospect of success here. We will not become weaker; perhaps, from the coming up of absentees, a little stronger. The enemy cannot receive any material re-enforcement during the proposed delay. I am confident there will be no effort made to re-enforce him from Mississippi, but if the attempt should be made, no considerable force could be brought thence to him in a fortnight. My opinion is, however, that should General Grant succeed in the capture of Vicksburg, the force under General Johnston will be used in an attempt to seize and fortify some other point on the Mississippi. It is all-important to the rebels to maintain their connection and communication with their trans-Mississippi friends. If this cannot be done, the head of rebeldom will undergo a very material curtailment, and this the rebels fully appreciate.
Considering the question in all its bearing, and with a deep sense of the awful [responsibility] which rests on those of us who have the lives of so many of our fellow-mean in our keeping, as well as such important interest of our great country committed to our care, the conclusion announced is the one to which my judgment has deliberately arrived.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant and friend,
TH. J. WOOD,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
COLUMBUS, KY., June 17, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry, commanding at Fort Heiman, reports his scouts just returned from Paris. Rebel forces this side of Jackson,
Tenn., marching toward Paris. Captain Lake, commanding at Hickman, reports two regiments of infantry and a battalion of cavalry at Trenton. Lieutenant-Colonel von Helmrich, commanding at Clinton, reports (said to be on reliable information) Van Dorn's old command, 19,000 strong, under Wheeler and Morgan, crossing the Tennessee near Alton, to unite with Forrest at Jackson. Gunboats were fighting, and opposing their crossing. You will oblige me by stating if there is any truth in this last report.
COLUMBUS, KY., June 17, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
Mathew Polograph a loyal citizen from Fulton, Ky., reports to the commander at Clinton, Ky., that the advance guard of the rebel General