the feeling of the country on the same subject. You will allow men then to say that I think, high as your duty to yourself and the responsibilities of your station are, yet when there is so general a desire on the part of the army and the country as there is to have General Johnston placed in that command, a part of your duty seems to your friend to be to yield to this general desire, that those whose all is staked upon the issue may have something to say as to the hand in which it shall be saved or lost.
I think your friends and history would justify you in this, and that magnanimity perhaps may require it at your hands.
I remain, very truly, your friend,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Jackson, December 8, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor herewith to transmit, by the hands of Maj. M. C. Galloway, copies of letters addressed by me to Generals Johnston and Bragg, which letters fully explain the condition of affairs in West Tennessee.*
I am highly gratified with my success so far and with the prospects before me.
Major Galloway fully understands my wants, and if they can be supplied, is fully authorized to make requisitions and receipt for what is obtainable. Am greatly in need of arms and money, and have sent Major G. to Richmond on purpose to represent more fully than can be done on paper the details necessary to a proper appreciation of the necessity of holding this country and the available supplies in it; also to send rapidly forward all the arms, &c., that can be spared me.
The destruction of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, and the blockading of the Tennessee River, gives us West Tennessee. The former appears to me to be of easy accomplishment, and transports or boats navigating the Tennessee River can be so destroyed or harassed as to render transportation on it of troops or stores exceedingly unsafe and hazardous. With the means asked for, I am satisfied we can hold the country and secure for the army a vast amount of provisions and supplies not to be obtained in like quantity and at so little cost anywhere else.
I beg to assure you, general, that everything in the power of myself and command that can possibly be done shall be done in driving the enemy from the country and in feeding and clothing the army and swelling its numbers.
Hoping, therefore, to secure at an early date the supply of arms and money indispensably necessary to the accomplishment of these purposes,
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
N. B. FORREST,
*For letter to Johnston, see p.789.