and that I be promised long-range guns for them as soon as organizations are reported. There are many half-organized regiments, battalions, and companies of men through North Mississippi and West Tennessee now, but they are without arms, have no way of getting out, and it only requires a little time and a nucleus around which they can form to organize and put them in the field. I believe that in sixty days I can raise from 5,000 to 10,000 men between Cairo and Vicksburg well mounted and ready for service as soon as provided with guns and ammunition.
In making this proposition I desire to state that I do so entirely for the good of the service. I believe that I can accomplish all I propose to do. I have never asked for position. Have taken position and performed the duties as assigned me; and have never yet suffered my command to be surprised, cut up, or defeated. I shall heave this department with many regrets, as I am well pleased with the officers in command and with the division serving under me. I shall especially regret parting with my old brigade; it was organized by me, and a record of its past services and present condition will compare favorably with any cavalry command in the service; and nothing but a desire to destroy the enemy's transports and property, and increase the strength of our army, could for a moment induce me voluntarily to part with them. There are thousands of men where I propose to go that I am satisfied will join me and that rapidly; otherwise remain where they are, until all the country bordering on the Mississippi, from Cairo down, is retaken and permanently occupied by our forces.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF TENNESSEE,
Chattanooga, Tenn., August 14, 1863.
I know no officer to whom I would sooner assign the duty proposed, than which none is more important, but it would deprive this army of one of its greatest elements of strength to remove General Forrest.
AUGUST 26, 1863.
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
H. L. CLAY,
SECRETARY OF WAR:
The President had a copy of General Forrest's letter under consideration and referred it to the Secretary, suggesting an inquiry to be made of General Bragg as to his views. This paper is in a condition to be submitted to the President.
J. A. CAMPBELL,
Assistant Secretary of War.
*This and the following indorsements appear on the copy of Forrest's letter sent through General Bragg