and think could have had 6,000 or 8,000, perhaps more, reserves, and all of the conscript ages in the field; as it is there is but 3,500 or 4,000 organized and on duty. Before Governor Clark authorized the men of all ages, not enrolled, to go into the militia and volunteer organization they were enrolling themselves rapidly; now neither the reserves nor conscripts are coming forward voluntarily to be enrolle; therefore, without a sufficient force the business is for the time being suspended. I find detached companies do very little good, and I proposed when the regiment about to be mustered into service was organized to send them from one Congressional district to another and clear out each district at a time until the work could be completed. I suppose the work in each district could be done in ten days, or two weeks at least. Supposing the season for military operations in Tennessee would be over by the 1st of December I fixed on that period to have this regiment at my control to begin the work. I have every disposition to turn over all the reserves to the commander of the district; but if I do so I cannot recover the. The business of conscription is at an end for the time being. I addressed you a communication in regaroore, whose comphe reserves, and who had been improperly assigned by General Gardner to some other service. This captain has refused to obey any order, and applied to General Gardner for assignment. I have the honor, general, to ask your attention to this ease at as early a period as convenient, so that a proper investigation may be had.
With great regard, I am, your obedient servant,
W. L. BRANDON,
Brigadier -General, Commanding.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ALA., MISS., AND EAST LA.,
Selma, Ala., November 6, 1864.
Major General J. M. WITHERS,
Commanding Reserves Forces, Montgomery, Ala.:
GENERAL: Inclosed I hand you a communication, with one inclosure, from Mr. Yelverton, of Elba, Ala. * I presume the companies to which Mr. Yelverton refers are reserves, and at Montgomery by your orders. The only question presented in this case is, shall Central Alabama, with its coal and iron interests, the loss of which would be an irreparable national calamity, be left exposed, or shall we concentrate the reserves for its protection, and leave unprotected other sections of the State whose value is not of a national character? Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to feet I had a sufficient force to afford to scatter them and protect every part of my department, but, as I informed you in our late personal interview, the iron and coal regions of Alabama are now exposed to the raids of the enemy, their destruction a constant object of his desire, and must, if possible, be protected by the reserves. You will please show this letter, with inclosure, to His Excellency Governor Watts.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant -General, Commanding.
* Not found.