Abstract from field return of the Department of East Tennessee, Major General Simon B. Buckner commanding, for August 10, 1863; headquarters Knoxville, Tenn.
Present for duty.
Command. Officers. Men. Effective
Infantry. 560 7,206 7,873
Cavalry. 426 5,332 5,798
Artillery. 49 1,091 1,163
Sappers and Miners. 2 53 59
Signal Corps. ... 14 14
Total. 1,037 13,696 14,907
Command. Aggregate Aggregate Aggregate
present. present and present and
absent. absent last
Infantry. 9,286 13,063 13,196
Cavalry. 6,702 10,730 10,730
Artillery. 1,261 1,671 1,660
Sappers and Miners. 67 134 131
Signal Corps. 16 16 16
Total. 17,332 25,614 25,733
HDQRS. DEPT. (OR DISTRICT) OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Knoxville, August 11, 1863.
General S. COOPER, Adjt. and Insp. General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I transmit herewith a copy of General Orders, Numbers 24,* from headquarters of General Bragg, with a copy of a letter from me to General Mckall, in reference to that order. My object in doing so is to obtain such a decision as will settle all doubts in the premises, and may best subserve the public interests.
I have no other request to make in the matter than this: If I am not accorded the authority of a department commander, I wish to be relieved of the duties of the administration, so that I can devote my time and attention exclusively to the troops. Such a request is reasonable, and indeed necessary, for without the authority to order a courtmartial or do many other things which an administrative commander can do, it would be injurious to the service to hold him responsible for what he has not authority to do. I therefore respectfully request, first, either that I be considered as commanding a distinct by subordinate department,whit the administrative authority of a department commander, which is the construction I have placed upon Special Orders, Numbers 176, or, secondly, that if the department organization of East Tennessee has ceased to exist, that I be placed on the same footing precisely as other corps or division commanders, by being relieved of territorial administration, which does not attach to the commander of a corps or division, which latter is the proper command for my rank.
Without entertaining any other wish in the matter than that it will be decided in the best way for the public interests, I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. BUCKNER,
Would it not be well to renew the Department of East Tennessee, for the purpose of enabling its commander to discharge its administrative duties, which he cannot otherwise properly discharge unless it is converted into a department? This will not interfere with your command of the whole Department of Tennessee, as now constructed. The President had this in view in giving you the command of both departments,
*See p. 954.