get long forage for his horses. His horses are in bad condition and should be recruited if the exigencies of the service permit, and nothing can be obtained in the country near where he is at present.
Have ordered General Pillow to complete the organization of his brigade as speedily as possible, when I propose increasing his command, probably giving him command of Roddey in addition to his brigade. Colonel Foster, Member of Congress from North Alabama, reports that Roddey will have nearly 3,000 men. Ferguson did not send out an expedition northeast of Elyton, as he was directed, stating squads, but scattered through the woods in hiding-places almost inaccessible to cavalry and where there was no forage. I send him an order to-day to send 300 men in small squads over the country organizing an expedition under your orders. I will furnish General French with several squadrons to aid him. It is almost impossible for cavalry to operate in the country above this, owing to want of forage, there being none in the country.
I sent orders recalling the detachments sent from this point so soon as your proclamation appeared in the papers, believing it to be your policy from the conversation we had at Columbus, where you stated you wished me to act before the proclamation was published. The last of the parties came in to-day, with the following results: The main detachments were sent to Pikeville and Jasper, and operated from these two points. Colonel Jones, at Pikeville, captured about 60 deserters and brought them in. They were delivered to Colonel Baker to send all of Roddey's men to him for trial, as most of the belonged to new organizations being raised under orders from Colonel Patterson, of Roddey's command.
The officers concerned are here now and will be tried by my courts, now in session. Colonel Jones reports affairs much exaggerated as to forces. He says there are a good many deserters, but not banded together, who are lying out in the mountains, and it is almost impossible to find them, owing to the rough country. He could get no forage for his animals, and reports that it is almost impracticable for cavalry to remain or operate in the country.
Will investigate thoroughly the conduct of the officers concerned in raising new organizations. Colonel Baker is preparing the charges.
Lieutenant-Colonel Maxwell and Major Perry report in substance the same as Colonel Jones. They report that infantry can operate better than cavalry. I send the reports for your perusal.* To accomplish anything against the deserters and tories it must be done by a command which can remain in the country some time and find their hiding-places from the people in the country. Expeditions for short periods can accomplish nothing, as they are easily avoided in this rugged country.
I doubt the propriety of sending the expedition now, as the proclamations are being distributed through the country. Colonel Baker, however, thinks that few will come in under the proclamation, and advantage had better be taken of the presence of the troops here now and new expeditions will be started in a few days.
I am, colonel, yours, respectfully,
S. D. LEE,
*For Maxwell's report, seep. 853.