WAS DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., July 24, 1863.
Major General S. B. BUCKNER,
Commanding Knoxville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: The President has received a communication from the president of each of the leading railroad in your department, manifesting serious apprehension lest, in the course of military operations, the defense and proportion of their roars should be abandoned by the Government, and earnestly that, in the event of such contingency being contemplated, they may receive early previous notice, os as to be enabled to save as much as possible of the rolling-stock and movable property os their roads. Their apprehensions, thought not very clearly expressed, seem based on the supposition that, from military exigencies, your department, or a large portion of it, may be abandoned to the enemy. As you are aware, no such through has been entertained by the Government, and only the last necessity will induce the abandonment of any material part of your most important department Still, to quit such apprehensions, the President has given the assurance of his fixed purpose to maintain your department and lend all the protection possible to their roads, and has added the promise that you would be instructed, in case of any abandonment through overruling necessity, they should receive as early notice as the exigencies of the occasion would allow. You will, therefore bear this application in remembrance. Do all in your power to allay such unreasonable apprehensions, and in the unfortunate event, not anticipated, of a compulsory abandonment or any movements of your forces exposing their to peculiar danger, you will, with all the produce and secretary practicable, endeavor to give the president of such roads timely warning.
Your obedient servant,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Knoxville, July 24, 1863.
Brigadier General W. W. MACKALL, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to forward yesterday the tabular statement asked for by telegram of July 23. This statement can only show a temporary distribution and locative of the troops in my command, the organization of which I found, on my arrival here, to be at least very incomplete. Thorough changes had to be made; but from the great extent of country to be defended with inadequate force, the proximity of the enemy, and the civil state of this department, such changes could only gradually. The late raids of the enemy into East Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as the call for reenforcements made by General Bragg not long ago, have retarded considerably the intended organization of the troops.
There is at present an urgent necessity existing for having the several mountain gaps, and certain points along the railroad line, fortified in a way that will exclude all chance for a possible success of another raid.
Such fortifications require labor, which, in this department, can only be furnished by detailing whole regiments for fatigue service, which circumstances will account for the temporary location of a large force of troops at certain points that, as soon as the works now progressing
59 R R-VOL XXIII, PT II