War of the Rebellion: Serial 058 Page 0638 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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MERIDIAN, January 31, 1864.

Honorable J. A. SEDDON,

Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.:

General Pillow will present to you a proposition for a change of boundary of this command in Alabama and for his taking service in the field. The state of affairs on that front is pressing, and requires prompt action on the part of the Department. I hope his request will be granted and he be ordered to report to me immediately.

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

MERIDIAN, MISS., January 31, 1864.

General JOHNSTON,

Dalton, Ga.:

In case of a raid on the coal and iron fields of Alabama and Selma I am without a cavalry force to meet it. The importance of that part of the country you know.

Could you not send me help from your left flank? If so, how much and of what kind?

L. POLK,

Lieutenant-General.

MERIDIAN, January 31, 1864.

Major General D. H. MAURY,

Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: I returned from an inspection of the western portion of my department last night, and found your letter of the 23rd in regard to the work I proposed to have constructed on the river above Mobile through Colonel Weldon. Your request by telegram to have Orders Numbers 19, directing its constructions, suspended until you had been heard from had been complied with from Jackson through the same channel.

I desire to say that the engagement of Colonel Weldon to perform the particular piece of mechanical labor which had been intrusted to him, the building and anchoring a raft of logs at a certain point on the Alabama River, was in no wise intended to reflect on the engineer corps of the Department of the Gulf or of this department. Indeed, at the time that arrangement was made and the order issued it did not occur to me that the locality at which it was to be placed was within the limits of the Department of the Gulf; on the contrary, presuming it was within this department, I had placed the construction of the earth-work required for the protection of the raft and the general supervision of the whole work under Lieutenant-Colonel Lockett, my chief engineer, for whose service Colonel Weldon was to procure the necessary negro labor both bo build the raft and supply the force required for the earth-work. As to the defenses of Mobile, I had been assured they were regarded as completed sometime since, and therefore looked to providing for the interior. Concerning the precise point on the stream debouching at Mobile at which it would be most expedient to place works of obstruction and defense for interior protection, that is a matter of opinion. On the files of the headquarters of this department I find no evidence that the engineering department of the army had adopted any particular line across those streams as that upon which