War of the Rebellion: Serial 079 Page 0856 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter LI.

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from Cherokee, the railroad between those places having been entirely destroyed. Colonel Reid will doubtless he the best commanders who can now be supplied at Cherokee or Tuscumbia, as the post may be established at the one or the other point. Orders have been given to Major -General Forrest to report to General Hood for duty in Middle Tennessee. Colonel Meriwether has been instructed to complete the railroad to Jacksonville. I had hoped, however, that the general commanding would have suspended the work of this extension. To effect the completion of the road to Jacksonville involves the necessity of taking up the iron from the branch road to Marion, which is in daily use and of considerable military as well as local importance in transportation of supplies. All men belonging to the Army of Tennessee are sent forward as rapidly as possible, placing them in charge of officers of that army who pass through this place en route to their commands. The road between Memphis and Corinth has been effectually destroyed to within a short distance of the former place. All the bridges and the trestle-work have been burned and instructions have been given to render the destruction as complete as possible.

The withdrawal of the enemy's forces from the lower portion of General Gardner's district, especially from the points on the MISSISSIPPI River, will enable General Gardner to concentrate his available force, which is, however, small in the northern portion of his district where co-operation may be had with the Army of Tennessee. The laws of Alabama on the subject of the State militia are of such a character as to enable us to derive no benefit from them. No authority exists to order the greater portion of the militia out of own counties; and several weeks ago, when it was believed that Mobile was seriously threatened, Governor Watts convened the Legislature for the purpose of endeavoring to have such alterations and amendments passed as would render the militia available and effective. The Legislature adjourned without making any modification in these laws. In MISSISSIPPI the militia can only be called out for thirty days as a time, fresh calls or proclamations having to be made at the expiration of each thirty days. I therefore recommended to Governor Clark to disband the militia and call for volunteers from the militia not liable to C. S. service. He has adopted this recommendation, and companies, &c., for six months' service are being organized, which will be turned over to me. General Withers, commanding Confederate reserves in Alabama, has enrolled about 5,000 reserves, and as he completes organizations, they are turned over to me. General Brandon, holding similar position in Mississippi, has enrolled some 2,000 or 3,000, and the same plan is adopted by him. Major Dameron, chief commissary for the State of Mississippi, and Major Walker, chief commissary for Alabama, report that while the supply of meat will doubtless be sufficient for our army, economy in its use is indispensable to insure that sufficiency; and I, therefore, am of opinion that the reserves and volunteer State troops above mentioned had better be employed in garrisoning points on our railroads, protecting supplies, and covering lines of communication than the militia called our for short periods and frequently disbanded, thus involving waste of provisions. The telegraph lines is in operation to Cherokee, and communication between General Hood and your headquarters will doubtless be more regular and convline of couriers by Gadsden or Blue Mountain. I have directed additional stockade prisons to be constructed for the reception of prisoners of war, and I would respectfully ask that when prisoners are sent hither the officers in charge of ten may be directed to communicate