War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0734 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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doing all that is possible to organize the small force placed at my disposal. The organization of Hatch's regiment is deferred for the present by the orders of the general sending it north. My own opinion is that unless some decisive steps are adopted by General Polk for thee dislodgment of this force at Decatur sooner or later the great interests of Central Alabama, his own department, will be greatly endangered, if not destroyed. I am aware that Decatur is in General Johnston's department, and that General Polk ought not to be expected to do more than protect such interests as are confided to his care, but in this case these interests are necessarily involved in the proper defense of General Johnston's department.

It is certainly due to General Polk's own reputation with the Government and the country that en energetic protest should be made against being held responsible for consequence which may, and most probably will, ensue from this condition of things.

If I am provided with an adequate force I am willing to be responsible to the lieutenant-general, the Government, and country for the safety of this portion of his department; otherwise it must be obvious that I can do nothing. I have kept him fully advised of the condition of things in the north. It will be my pleasure to carry out his wishes.

Major-General Withers is still absent from the city.

With great respect,

GID. J. PILLOW,

Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.

[Inclosure.]

TUSCALOOSA, March 26, 1864.

General PILLOW:

DEAR SIR: I have been truly gratified to learn that you have been assigned to the command of the cavalry in North Alabama, and feel confident that you will, if furnished by the Government with anything like adequate means, render most valuable service in this new field of duty. I know that I need make no apology for communicating to you the latest intelligence received here as to the condition of things in that part of the State, even if the same information has already reached you through other sources. Judge Gibson (probate judge of Lawrence County) reached here yesterday from Moulton, and Colonel J. T. Abernathy, of Lawrence County, and Mr. Donnell, member of the Legislature from Limestone, reached here to-day from the neighborhood of Leighton. These gentlemen all concur in stating that a considerable force of the enemy has crossed the river at Decatur, which point they are busily fortifying. Detachments of cavalry have been sent out from Decatur to ravage the valley, carry off negroes, steal horses, & c., and extensive depredations have been committed by them. The force of cavalry sent on these raids does not appear to be large; not more, according to my informants, than 600 or 700.

As to the numbers of the enemy at Decatur no very reliable information seems to have been obtained, but the best information which had reached my informants led them to believe that there were in all four regiments of infantry (two of which are composed of negroes) and one of cavalry. The pontoon bridge at Decatur has been completed, and the enemy has some artillery in that place. We have now in the valley (near Moulton) two battalions of cavalry