He left Huntsville on the 20th instant, and during several days previous to his leaving had frequent interviews with Federal officers, who freely expressed their determination at an early day to destroy the important works at Selma and the surrounding country. General Wilder, he states, was willing to undertake the project with his brigade of 500 men, but Dr. Antony learned that the plan would be to advance with their present available force, numbering thirteen regiments, averaging 300 men each, or about 4,000 men.
He further informs me that a force actually started for this point several weeks since, but in consequence of high water and intensely cold weather were compelled to return.
Having received these facts from such an unquestionable source, have thought it my duty to report them to the lieutenant-general commanding this department.
You will notice from my last report that we have on duty at this post three companies of youths between sixteen and eighteen years of age, which have been raised for "local defense and special service," and though not yet "called for by the President," have been received and ordered to provost duty at this post by Brigadier-General Pillow. Effective total, 174.
The employed at the arsenal and naval gun foundry number about 550 men, who have been organized into companies and would be ready for action at short notice.
Our defenses, to be properly defended, in consequence of their extensiveness, require about 1,500 men, with number and the works in a good condition we need have no apprehensions from a raid of even a larger force than indicated above.
I would respectfully again call the attention of the lieutenant-general commanding to the communication of Captain Liernur, chief of engineer corps at this post, forwarded on the 19th instant. I hope his application for authority to impress 100 negroes to repair the defenses will be granted.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
THOS. H. ROSSER,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Richmond, January 28, 1864.
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II. That portion of the Confederate States now under the command of Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk will be known as the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana.
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By command of the Secretary of War:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF EAST TENNESSEE,
Morristown, Tenn., January 28, 1864-5 p.m.
Brigadier General A. E. JACKSON,
The enemy is supposed to be threatening us in the rear, and may attempt to make a raid. To provide for such an emergency and