thus giving the enemy two days and a half to strengthen the fortifications here already prepared for him by ourselves. Here we have remained under instructions that the enemy shall not be assaulted. To express my convictions in a few words, our chief has done but one thing that he ought to have done since I joined his army. That was to order the attack upon the 20th. All other things that he has done he ought not to have done. I am convinced that nothing but the hand of God can save us or help us as long as we have our present commander.
Now to our wants. Can't you send us General Lee? The army in Virginia can operate defensively, while our operations here should be offensive-until we have recovered Tennessee, at all events. We need some such great mind as General Lee's (nothing more) to accomplish this. You will be surprised to learn that this army has neither organization nor mobility, and I have doubts if its commander can give it them. In an ordinary war I could serve without complaint under any one whom the Government might place in authority, but we have too much at stake in this to remain quiet under such distressing circumstances. Our most precious blood is now flowing in streams from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains, and may yet be exhausted before we have succeeded. Then goes honor, treasure, and independence. When I came here I hoped to find our commander willing and anxious to do all things that would aid us in our great cause, and ready to receive what aid he could get from his subordinates. It seems that I was greatly mistaken. It seems that he cannot adopt and adhere to any plan or course, whether of his own or of some one else. I desire to impress upon your mind that there is no exaggeration in these statements. On the contrary, I have failed to express my convictions to the fullest extent. All that I can add without making this letter exceedingly long is to pray you to help us, and speedily.
I remain, with the greatest respect, your most obedient servant,
HDQRS. DEPT. WESTERN VIRGINIA AND EAST TENNESSEE, Zollicoffer, Tenn., September 26, 1863.
His Excellency President DAVIS,
I believe that General Burnside, with the greater part of his force, has gone toward Knoxville, leaving a mounted brigade between Watauga bridge and Jonesborough. I have information, which seems reliable, that three small brigades, about 4,000 men, of the Ninth Army Corps, were at Cumberland Ford six days since, en route to re-enforce Burnside. They came from Vicksburg. It is reported, through the enemy's lines, that Buckner is moving toward Knoxville. If so, I should move forward to co-operate with him; if not, and Burnside is free to operate against me, it would, I think, be rash on my part to make such a move. His force is, I believe, at least double mine, and I have nothing to fall back on. My movements should depend in a great measure on those of General Bragg, and the extent of his success over Rosecrans. I have nothing from him later than the telegram from General Cooper of the 22nd instant.