War of the Rebellion: Serial 038 Page 0996 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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are offered solely as the contribution of a heart earnestly solicitous for the welfare of the State and the protection of its citizens.

The fall of Vicksburg renders, I suppose, the military occupation of the western and northern portions of the State impossible to the Confederate armies. I have no information of what is proposed by General Johnston to be done, and I cannot conjecture, but deeming the foregoing proposition in relation to the northern and western portions of our State as likely to be true, I make the following suggestions upon the basis that it is so.

I suggest that the State forces in the section referred to be employed in the future as guerrillas, or in detached companies. I do not propose to change their organization at all events; I think that companies should be kept organized in regiments. It being impossible to keep together large bodies of organized troops, I think by dispersing through the country at the most available points a regiment or two of guerrillas, they can furnish some protection to the country and annoy and injure the enemy to a considerable extent. They can conceal themselves in swamps and thickets, and, after attacking the enemy, if overpowered, can readily make their escape without being driven from the section in which they are operating. By being organized into regiments and brigades, if there be enough of them, they can, if necessary, be readily concentrated for any particular service requiring it, and there will be a responsibility and accountability of company officers, so much needed in that kind of service. Subsistence and forage for these small parties can be obtained in any neighborhood, and without a wagon train, which would, if kept, be most likely captured. It is true this kind of service has some serious defects, but, under the circumstances, they had batter be tolerated where they cannot be corrected.

This kind of service is popular, both with the troops and the people, and I respectfully suggest that in our present situation, where it is next to impossible to keep men in the service unless they are willing to be kept, that a concession to a popular feeling, call it, if you please, a prejudice, would be wise and useful. I am satisfied that Blythe's regiment cannot be removed to any distant field of operations without losing at least three-fourths of its men whilst this section is threatened as it now is. I fear, also, that but few will re-enlist, except those who can be forced into the service. I am also satisfied that regiment, and probably another raised in this section, can be kept in the field in the kind of service suggested. It is well known that all that portion of our State which lies near the enemy's lines is filled with men who ought, by law, to be in the service. These men are out of service, of course, because they cannot be forced in. The desire to operate in the neighborhood of one's home, and to furnish such protection to it as is possible, is natural, and feelings of that sort cannot safely be disregarded.

I have not mentioned all the considerations which have occurred to my mind in favor of the plan suggested; may will occur to the mind of the brigadier-general commanding. I earnestly call his attention to the matter, and ask for it a careful consideration. I am sure, without some such plan being adopted, that a large number of men in the section referred to, who ought to be in the service, can never be brought into it, and I am also confident that, if adopted, many, not liable either to conscription or militia-. *