Abstract from field return of the forces in the Department of East Tennessee, Brigadier General Daniel S. Donelson, C. S. Army, commanding, for March 29, 1863; headquarters Knoxville, Tenn.
Present for duty.
Command. Offi- Men. total Aggregate present
cers. present. present. and
Infantry. 425 5,947 5,947 8,416 12,551
Cavalry. 337 5,095 5,085 6,166 9,380
Artillery 47 825 825 1,236 1,652
Total. 809 11,867 11,857 15,818 23,583
PRIVATE.] HEADQUARTERS POLK'S CORPS,
Shelbyville, March 30, 1863.
His Excellency President DAVIS,
Colonel [W. P.] Johnston has been with me since Saturday. He has made known the objects of his coming, and I have discussed the points submitted with him freely.*
My views in regard to the condition of things here are matured and clear.
He informs me he finds them to be such as are entertained in the other corps. They are those I expressed to you in a letter I addressed to you some time since, inclosing a copy of a correspondence. The grounds on which they rest I have submitted to Colonel Johnston. My idea is-my conviction rather-that if the presence and offices of General B. were entirely acceptable to this army, the highest interests-military interests-of the Confederacy would be consulted by transferring him to another field, where his peculiar talent-that of organization and discipline-could find a more ample scope. For that kind of service he has, undoubtedly, peculiar talent. His tastes and natural inclination fit him for it, and he has the advantage now of large and fresh experience. The application of that talent is not always easy or agreeable where it exists, yet there are few armies which would not be benefitted by it, even if the benefit came from without. My opinion is that the general could be of service to all the armies of the Confederacy, if placed in the proper position. Such a position would be that of a place in the Adjutant and Inspector General's Department, at Richmond. Assign him the duties of Inspector-General. If the duties are attended to as the imperfectly organized and disciplined condition of our troops require, they will furnish full employment for any single mind; and from my observations while in Richmond, it would be a great relief to General Cooper, whose energy and business capacity, great as they are, seemed well nigh overtaxed.
The general could not object to the position on the score of rank, as the ranking officer of the army now holds that position. It is as competent to assign General B. as any other officer to that duty, and as his specialty is that which the office of Inspector-General covers, his resources and capacity would be felt throughout the army.
*See Johnston to Davis April 15, p. 757.