Confederacy." What them? Is not that a fearful question? Has the Government made any preparation to meet it? Is the President, think you, fully advised of the real condition of his commissariat? May it not be that official timidity has withheld from him the full extent of the impedinding calamity? I trust not; but seeing no indications, and having no information of any movements to meet such a contingency, I have thought it my duty to bring the subject to your attention, and to suggest that your relations to the Government, and to the President personally, should induce you to address a private and confidential communication to him on this most vital question. I say private, because the information herein contained is of too dangerous a character to be transmitted by any channel through which it might reach the public prints.
For my part, if our condition is such as I have stated it, and I fear it is but too true, I can see but two remedies for the evil [setting aside the hope of intermediate peace, which may God in his mercy vouchsafe to us]-the Government must either make certain and definite arrangements to procure supplies from the Northern cities, through West India ports, or from the Western States, by river transportation, in exchange for cotton, or, which would be far or desirable and probably more practicable, make this army large enough by re-enforcements to drive out Rosecrans, and to take Kentucky and hold it. That would settle both the question of food and independence.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN J. WALKER,
Major and Chief of Subsistence.
HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS, ARMY OF TENNESSEE, February 25, 1863.
General JOSEPH [E.] JOHNSTON, Chattanooga:
GENERAL: We have as yet no determine movements of the enemy. I heard last week he had received up to that time re-enforcements amounting to four divisions, say, 24,000. If this were, so it would make his force, up to that time, from 60,000 to 70,000. This last estimate is that of a highly intelligent person, who has been residing in Murfreesborough, and who had excellent opportunities of knowing. I have this morning seen a letter from General Van Dorn, stating that his scouts, through citizens from the banks of the Cumberland, inform him that Sigel's division came up a few days since on forty-five transports. This force, I had heard by a person from Nashville, had arrived in that city before the receipt of General Van Dorn's letter. Rosecrans' former force is supposed to be increased by that of Sigel, whatever it may be. We hear also that there seems to be a large force on the Franklin pike, leading from Nashville. This is estimated by Van Dorn's scouts at 20,000, most probably the force that was left there by Rosecrans, under Jefferson is supplied with pontoon bridges, and that on the Franklin pike also. I now begin to believe it is the plan of Rosecrans to move in two columns. He will move from Murfreesborough to the Cumberland Mountains, direct to McMinnville, with one column to seize the mountain passes from Sparta to Decherd or the tunnel, then bring up his other column to protect his line of communications, while he throws a force of, say, 10,000 across the mountains and seizes the East Tennessee Railroad via Kingston or to Chattanooga, or he may be able to