MONTGOMERY, ALA., January 15, 1864.
General SAMUEL COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: The left and rear of General Johnston's position, and the right and rear of General Polk's are open to raids of the enemy's cavalry. In Central Alabama is to be found the only reliance left in the west for coal, and mainly the reliance for iron. All the Government work-shops, its arsenals, and gun-boats at Mobile, Savannah, and Charleston, and the Government work-shops and iron-works and arsenals of Georgia, are dependent upon this region for coal. The largest and most productive cotton mills, to clothe our armies, are likewise within this exposed region. If there iron-works and cotton mills were burned, and the large number of negroes now at work in the iron-works and coal mines were captured, the injury would be irreparable. This great interest, now the only hope of the country, is covered by a line connecting the armies of Generals Johnston and Polk. The strategic portion of this line, for its defense and the protection of the inferior, lies between Tuscumbia and Tupelo. The only force now defending this line and covering this vastly important interior is General Roddey's brigade, now stationed at Tuscumbia.
If General Roddey's brigade (which is now on this duty, belongs to General Johnston's army, and is stationed at Tuscumbia) and a brigade from General Polk's army were placed under my orders, and I was placed in command of this line, I could defend the line and cover the great interests of the interior. This application is made to the Secretary of War from the difficulty, if not impossibility, of the two department commanders forming a joint command for this duty. General Johnston and General Polk have both had furnished them copies of this application; to pass it up through both commanders, as I am under General Johnston's orders, is impracticable.
If placed in this position, I would be content to work on, giving to the country whatever of talent and energy I possess. Occupying the line that connects the two armies and departments, and protecting a flank of each, I would yield an implicit obedience to the commands of both.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GID. J. PILLOW,
Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OF ALABAMA,
Montgomery, January 15, 1864.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have seen a letter addressed by Brigadier-General Pillow to Adjutant-General Cooper, bearing this date, in which he speaks of the great importance of having properly defended the iron and coal interests, foundries, arsenals, and manufacturing establishments in Central and Middle Alabama. I concur most fully in his representations, and I recommend that his request may be granted. The energy displayed by him in the conscript department gives assurance that he will render efficient service in the new field to which