Meridian, January 18, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: The line of connection of which General Pillow speaks in this communication* is one of great importance, and the interests covered by it are not at all overrated by him. I think the suggestion made by him a good one and should be accepted. It is a command for which he is fitted, and the brigade can be spared. I do not see how the interests exposed can be so well protected in any other way, and they are of vital importance.
My impression is, however, that a practical difficulty will be found in his proposal to report to both General Johnston and myself. He had better report to one or the other and I shall be content with either arrangement, but as the interests to be protected lie in this detachment it appears to me he should report to these headquarters. In order to accomplish this a charge of boundary as now laid down, by which one or more tiers of counties in Alabama south of the Tennessee River are thrown into the Department of Tennessee, let the line starting at the intersection of the Alabama State line and the Coosa River run down the Coosa to the point where the Jacksonville and Gunter's Landing Railroad crosses the Coosa; thence along the line of that railroad to the Tennessee River at Gunter's Landing; thence down the Tennessee River to its mouth. This leaves so much of Alabama near to Chattanooga in General Johnston's command as is important to his military operations around that point, and relieves him of caring for a long strip on the south side of the Tennessee with which he has difficult access, and which is of no military importance to him; whereas, being directly accessible to my command and covering a most important part of my northern front, it falls naturally to my care. If this was made the boundary the troops for its protection, General Roddey's, now on it, should remain there. They will be on the spot to aid General Johnston should he require their support on his left flank, as before.
I have the honor to remain, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
MERIDIAN, January 18, 1864.
The twenty-five wagons you have asked for have been ordered to report to you. I shall order the reserve trains to the river at Jackson to be held there, and you will in any emergency please issue to it such orders as the necessity may require. We have all the accouterments, perhaps, you may want already on hand. Send your requisition.
*See Pillow to Cooper, January 15, p.562.