in rear of the enemy, who is moving on McMinnville. Polk's brigade will move forward and take position at Beech Grove. Wood's brigade will take position near Hoover's Gap.
By command of Lieutenant-General Hardee:
[T. B. ROY,]
Chief of Staff.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN VIRGINIA, Dublin, May 25, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: I have forwarded to you to-day a letter* from Brigadier General John S. Williams, tendering the resignation of his commission; and, in consideration of his special request in writing, I have approved it. Of the first reason he assigns for resigning I know nothing. On so much of the second reason as refers to me, I desire to submit the following statement:
On the 19th of March last, General Williams addressed a letter to me, communicating cheering news he had just received from Kentucky, inducing the belief that a large number of troops might be organized in Eastern Kentucky for Confederate service, and he added:
If you will move me at once to Saltville, I will take [W. W.] Baldwin's squadrons, go through Wise Country, look after Major [J. M.] French, then on to Piketon to confer with [A. J.] May, and see what can be done in the way of raising recruits, and, if practicable, push the reconnaissance as far as the Ohio River, &c.
I replied the next day, asking if he desired to take his brigade with him to Saltville; that I could not at that time move any troops from Greenbrier and Monroe (his brigade was then in those counties), but hoped to be able to do so soon, and that if he meant exactly what he said, that is, if I would move him to Saltville, &c., I would do so, though I did not like to detach a brigadier from his brigade except on urgent necessity. I also stated that the Sixty-third Regiment of Virginia was at Saltville, and Baldwin's squadrons had been ordered to the same place, and they would be under his command. General Williams replied that in his request to go to Saltville he meant his brigade should go with him.
But if you do not think the troops can be spared at present from Monroe and Greenbrier, and that you have no other troops to supply their places, I will go without them, trusting that they will be ordered up in due time.
I accordingly ordered General Williams to Saltville, gave him command of the only troops in that vicinity, and, under instructions from the Secretary of War, gave him full authority to raise and organize all the troops he could in Eastern Kentucky. I also gave him two Virginia regiments then in course of organization. One of those organizations, as I am informed, has seven and the other eight companies, and it is believed they will soon be full. Major French had reported to me that he had between 400 and 500 men, and expected to raise others. I did not know that he had been captured when I assigned his battalion to General Williams. He and the men captured with him, some 40 or 50 have been exchanged.
The general represented to me that his friend Colonel May had a regiment or large battalion on the borders of Kentucky, and has since informed me that Colonel May had reported to him in person, and that