ATLANTA, GA., August 20, 1863.
Brigadier General W. W. MACKALL,
Chief of Staff, Army of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Tenn.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from department headquarters, dated 19th instant, concerning this post and certain abuses existing here. I assure you that I appreciate the whole subject fully and know that things can be much bettered here if we can be sustained in our course.
First. I would be glad to know what the general's wishes are about these railroad guards. Does he wish guards on the trains running from this point? So far as I am able to judge, I sincerely believe but little or no good is accomplished by them, because of the class of men we are compelled to have to do the duty. They succeed pretty well in annoying all respectable travelers and letting all villains pass, the latter being always protected by papers, whether genuine or forged. I allude now not to guards from your army, but such as we have to put on here.
Second. Does Major Lee receive his instructions as provost-marshal from department headquarters or from Richmond? If the former, then I know I can have no difficulty in regulating him. I have tried in vain to learn from him his orders, &c., but for the life of me I can get nothing from him. I want to get at the bottom, and commence the cleaning.
Third. My orders read: 'Assume command of all troops, local and others, and defenses of Atlanta." Can I not on those orders relieve Major Lee from the command of the post and put him in his office as provost-marshal proper? I take it that I can. If such be the case, I wish to appoint my assistant (at the arsenal), Major J. K. McCall, as executive officer, in charge of the post, to attend to the details for me, and who will put things in order very soon. Unless I can do something of the kind, there is no use in trying to do anything, for so long as he has authority to sign passes things will go loose.
I am exceedingly anxious to get everything in good condition, but when you consider for a moment my duties at the arsenal (first to be considered), and then the attention to be given to the works now going up around the city, you can't fail to see how impossible it would be for me to give much time to post duties. I can only exercise a supervision over them, and unless I can put in a good executive officer, I can hope for but little.
An early reply will oblige, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. H. WRIGHT,
KNOXVILLE, August 20, 1863.
Chief of Staff, Chattanooga:
A dispatch from Colonel Palmer, dated Big Creek Gap, 3 o'clock to-day, states as follows, viz:
I have good reasons to suppose that the enemy are moving on East Tennessee in force. probably through this gap; that they will be in in a day or two. Particulars by courier.
J. B. PALMER,