of the Sandy, I can send Brigadier-General Jenkins, with about 2,000 men, on that line, where I am informed the supplies are abundant. If these expeditions, or the first two even, move about the same time, they would, without being under one commander, aid each other by distracting the attention of the enemy. Aided by the citizens, these parties could bring out large numbers of cattle and hogs, and perhaps bacon and salt beef.
It would add greatly to the success of the expedition if the purchasing agents were supplied in part, at least, with Virginia and Tennessee money, or any funds which the Kentuckians could use in their own and adjoining States. We could very well afford it, and if we make it the pecuniary interest of the people to aid us, they will probably do it.
But if to the available cavalry force in East Tennessee and West Virginia were added an equal or greater number of infantry, with the due proportion of artillery, and the whole moved into Kentucky under the command of an officer of high standing and influence (a Kentuckian would be preferable), I believe it would be productive of the most important and desirable political results.
If the feeling of dissatisfaction with the Abolition Government is at all such as it is represented to be in Kentucky, I think it highly probable that such an expedition at this time would at least be the means of deciding the impending campaign in Middle Tennessee in our favor. With a hostile population, many of them highly exasperated, in his rear, supported by an army of 15,000 men (and I think that number may be easily collected), under the command of a popular leader, General Rosecrans would probably not feel it safe to remain in Middle Tennessee, and if he attempted to retreat, with General Bragg's army immediately in his rear, his retreat would in all probability prove most disastrous to his [army], and if it is as much demoralized as is represented, it might prove its destruction.
I have said I thought an army of 15,000 men could be easily collected for this expedition. Pegram, Marshall, and Jenkins have about 7,000 cavalry (the report is that they have more). Marshall has some infantry-I do not know how many; nor do I know what infantry force can be spared from East Tennessee. I heard from General E. K. Smith that there were 2,000 men at Cumberland Gap; Marshall has with him two field batteries; I could furnish three or four more. If you will send back the regiments I sent to Eastern Virginia in December, or others in their place (and I have thought that since the movement of so large a portion of General Longstreet's corps to the south side my regiments may be returned), I could add them and one or two other regiments to the expedition. I do not know the strength of General Floyd's command, but it is reported to exceed 3,000. I estimate that he could add at least 2,000 to the expedition. General Marshall reported to me the last of December, 1862, that he had something over 1,100 infantry, none of which has been taken from him that I am aware of.
I have thus indicated about the following:
Marshall, Pegram, and Jenkins (cavalry) .................... 7,000
East Tennessee (including Marshall's infantry, the artillery
and force at Cumberland Gap) ............................... 3,000
Western Virginia, my command ............................... 3,000
Floyd's State Line ......................................... 2,000
If I have made an overestimate, perhaps General Johnston could detach a few thousand infantry from General Bragg's army for an ex-