ing Lieutenant-Colonel Chandler to come here and inspect the department, in which duty he has been diligently engaged for the last two or three months, until a few days ago, when he returned to Richmond. Colonel Chandler is a most valuable officer, familiar with the duties of his office, and searching and thorough in his inspections, yet I fear that the benefits which ought to be derived from his services will not be realized, fromthe fact that he has no power to correct the abuses and irregularities which he may detect, not is he authorized, as I understand, to report them to the officer commanding the department, in order that the remedy may be speedily applied, but he has to make his reports to Richmond, where, from the accumulation of business, much time must elapse before they can be brought to the attention of the authorities who have the power to correct the evils that may exist. I would be glad if Colonel Chandler could be ordered to return here with instructions to resume his inspections and to report his results to me, in order that I might act at once upon his reports and suggestions. In such a department as this not time, in my opinion, ought to be lost in applying proper correctives for existing abuses, and very little can be effected without an experienced and rigid inspector.
* * * * *
I am, colonel, very respectfully,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF WESTERN KENTUCKY,
Aberdeen, Miss., February 4, 1865.
Honorable J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War, C. S.;
I was assigned unsolicited to the Department of Western Kentucky by the War Department and assume command October 27, 1864. I found 540 men in the department at Paris, Tenn., unorganized undisciplined, poorly clad, and entirely unarmed. I immediately appointed a temporary staff, organized the men into companies and battalions, and by the collection of the tax-in-kind was enabled to subsist my command. By my own efforts I succeeded at Selma, Ala., in procuring arms, ammunition, and equipments, for 800 men to which number my command had been increased by arrivals from Kentucky and volunteers from that portion of Tennessee in my department. I had not arrived at Paris with the arms, &c., for my command when I received orders from General Hood, directing me to move with my command across the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. My report of this expedition has been forwarded to the War Department.* Before leaving Paris I made all the necessary arrangements for enforcing the conscript law. The Department of Kentucky has not yet had a fair trial. There was certainly some good effected by my expedition into Kentucky.
I know that Lieutenant-General Taylor, commanding the Department of Mississippi, Alabama, and East Louisiana, has applied to have the Department of Western Kentucky broken up, and asks that I be ordered to report to him for duty. Against this I enter my earnest protest, because I believe the service will be geratly benefited by the department where men coming from Kentucky can be organized, and after being drilled and disciplined can be made serviceable anywhere in the Confederate States. Otherwise that portion of Kentucky and
*See Vol. XLV, Part I, p. 803.