why this command should not have been order to Camp Nelson, with an advance at Richmond, 14 miles, and another at Irvine and Proctor, still closer to the mountain, as a protection to Camp Nelson, with the advantage of a better knowledge of the movements of the enemy.
The supplies necessary, with what is already on hand at this post (they have about 600,000 rations of corn), would substation in this command readily while in position of reorganizing. Camp Nelson as a post it an anomaly, an irregularity of very great proportions. Located on an anomaly, an irregularity of very great proportions. Locatedon the Kentucky River, about 7 miles from Nicholasville, the terminus of the rail, the camp is formed by the Kentucky River on the south and west sides and Hickman Creek on the east, leaving an exposed front on the north side of about 1 1\2 about 1\2 miles, protected by three lunettes for artillery, connected by rifle-pits. The area of the camp is about 4,000 acres, and in my estimation would require 10,000 men to defend it properly. Yet within this very slight defense there is being carried out an expensive outline of making this point a great depot for storing, manufacturing, and repairing, with all the conveniences of shops, houses, &c. They have nearly completed water-works, costing from $15,000 to $20,000, raising the water from the river, to a reservoir on the hill, and thence distributing by iron pipes through the camp, and this with the river on two sides of the camp and a large spring about the center.
The garrison at this post, that is, the command, is about 300 undisciplined men. The camps of the different companies intended to man the pieces of artillery in battery are located so far from the batteries that any sudden attack must gain possession of these batteries before the men could possible gain their posts.
At the present time exposed by this slight defense, there is not less than $5,000,000 of public property there, with a growing expenditure constantly going on. If considered as necessary as an advance post to supply the Army of the Ohio at Cumberland Gap and Knoxville, I must state that all supplies sent from this post are packed on mules, requiring from 5,000 to 6,000 for this end, and that from a careful inquiry I am satisfied that every pound of Government stores sent forward in this manner by this channel costs all of $1 per pound. I do not know the urgency that may have originally suggested this line as a military necessity, but I am confident to continue it is an unwarranted expense; it would be cheaper for the Government to finish the contemplated line of railroad Danville to Knoxville, and open thereby a direct road to East Tennessee. The present mode is unequal to the necessities and attended by great destruction of property.
So soon as it is possible to supply Cumberland Gap and Knoxville by the Cumberland River via Burnside Point, or by the Tennessee River via Chattanooga, the quartermaster's material at Camp Nelson should be forwarded to Knoxville; the shops, store-houses, &c., located there, and all the means of transportation at or near Camp Nelson nd between that point and Burnside or the gap, gathered up and directed to the front. In the mean time an officer of the Quartermaster's Department should be sent to Camp Nelson with power to draw from thence all cavalry horses, means of transportation transfer wagons, &c., that may not be directly required for present post purposes and made available for the Army of the Cumberland. All means of transportation between Camp Nelson and