authorities is absolutely necessary to the protection of my regiment against orders so illegal and unofficerlike as your orders against my command of yesterday, and until this understanding between these authorized is had, I shall certainly take such steps as are necessary to the defense of my command, and will endeavor to make such defense sufficiently manly to insure the respect of both friend and foe.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. LOWRY,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY IN MISSISSIPPI, Brandon, December 24, 1863.
Respectfully forwarded with the earnest request that some definite understanding be had with the State authorities relative to the State troops. They should either be transferred to the Confederate States service or be entirely separate as a State organization under State officers, with a distinct understanding who is to command them. These troops (State) have been inefficient from the want of proper understanding between the Confederate States and State authorities,and from no fault of the men. I do not know their status now, nor do I believe the State officers know. In the matter referred to, I express the opinion that Colonel Lowry is wrong, as the disposition he shows is not prompted with the good of our cause at heart, as no good can result from a collision.
S. D. LEE,
BEAN'S STATION, December 16, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Your dispatch of the 14th is received. On the 14th instant I made an effort to intercept the enemy at this point. We were unsuccessful owing to bad roads and a rise an the Holston, which delayed our column of the cavalry some twelve hours. The enemy have escaped in the direction the direction of Knoxville. We captured sixty-eight of his wagons, about forty loaded with sugar and coffee and other stores. We had a sharp skirmish at this place, losing about 200 men, chiefly from Johnston's division. I regret to report General Gracie as having received a severe flesh wound. We shall be obliged to suspend active operations for want of shoes and clothing.
DECEMBER 20, 1863.
Referred to the Quartermaster-General, whose attention is asked to the alleged want of shoes and clothing, which it is hoped it may be in his power to supply.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
*See also letter of General Ferguson,p.864.