HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA,
Dublin, April 29, 1863.
Major General DABNEY H. MAURY, Commanding at Knoxville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: I received this morning your telegram of yesterday, and prefer replying by letter rather than by telegraph, because the letter will reach you nearly, if not quite, as soon as the telegram, so badly is the latter managed, and my answer by letter will be less likely to become generally known than if made by telegraph.
I have an infantry regiment and field battery at Saltville, the extreme limit of my department in that direction, and a regiment and battalion of infantry and field battery at Glade Spring, about 15 miles this side of Abindgon. These troops have been recently sent there, with a view of moving forward to support Brigadier-General Marshall, who was reported in a dangerous position in Kentucky. I have since heard, however, that his infantry is at Whittesburg, Ky., and his cavalry a little way in his front, and no enemy in force near him. As you have a fine artillery battalion (Ninth Georgia), with twelve pieces, at Bristol, and the other batteries at Moccasin Gap, I shall withdraw one of my batteries. I am anxious to withdraw my troops from Glade Springs, which is in truth within your department, for I need them elsewhere, but will not do so until I can organize other troops to send to Saltville. It happens that the Salt Works, which are of incalculable importance to us just now, and which the enemy would be delighted to destroy, are partly in your department and partly in mine, and the most practicable approaches to them are through your department, and, with my small force, it is extremely inconvenient to me to keep any troops there. I will, however, keep them there as long as I can. Indeed, I think I have more to apprehend at that end of my line than anywhere else, and shall not be surprised if I find it necessary to send additional troops there. I am glad that you have been assigned to the command of the Department of East Tennessee, not on your own account by any means, for it is a most perplexing and thankless command, but because I believe you can render good service there.
I need hardly say that I shall be most happy to co-operate with you cordially. To that end it is desirable that we should communicate with each other fully and freely. I shall be glad to give you any information you desire in regard to my command. I wish you would give me any information you may receive from Kentucky which you think it desirable I should know.
Very respectfully, &c.,
TULLAHOMA, April 30, 1863.
GENERAL: Please send with the best dispatch the following telegram to General Van Dorn's headquarters:
TULLAHOMA, April 30, 1863.
General VAN DORN, Columbia:
Send couriers with dispatch to Colonel Dibrell, supposed to be near Florence, and inform him that the enemy are near Decatur, south of the river, and that the general directs him to move up the river, observe their movements, and resist any attempt they may make to cross the river. Give the same orders to the cavalry left on the north side of the river by Colonel Roddey, with this addition, that he leave small parties in observation on the lower river. Acknowledge receipt.
W. W. MACKALL,
Chief of Staff.