several detached companies from Illinois. Recent orders have been issued from the War Department, as we are informed, requiring other forces in the Northwest-infantry, cavalry, and artillery-to report for duty at Washington and elsewhere in Maryland and Virginia. We should be wanting in the duty we owe to the Government if we did not apprise you of the feeling these orders have created throughout the West. The States which have already contributed their whole troops yet enlisted to the line of operations in Maryland and Virginia contain near 14,000,000 of people, to say nothing of the States of Ohio and Indiana, five- sixths of whose soldiers, as above stated, have gone in the same direction.
The state of affairs in Kentucky and Missouri is such as to cause the greatest anxiety to every lover of the Union. In Missouri at this moment the force capable of taking the field is entirely inadequate to meet the enemy, particularly considering their deficiency in discipline and in proper arms. A large portion of them have nor had arms-indifferent at best-in their hands more than two or three weeks. The same may be said, and with equal truth, of our troops in Kentucky. If any great disaster should befall our arms in either of these States-and we confess it seems to us imminent-while these orders are operating upon our Western troops to transfer them East, we think we cannot err in saying it would create a feeling throughout this section of country which might endanger the cause of the Union. It might be said with some show of justice that the East was strengthened at the expense of the West, even after Western troops had already been freely given to hold the line of the Potomac. Besides, an opinion prevails throughout the West that, aside from coast attacks, the importance of which all acknowledge, the true line of military operations, to strike at the heart of the insurrection, is though the Valley of the Mississippi. We do not assert this is the proper military view od the subject. We only say the sentiment exists.
We scarcely need add that we disclaim for ourselves and the Defense Committee all desire to interfere in any way with special military operations. We only wish to represent the state of public sentiment as we believe it to be, upon a measure of public policy, in the present alarming aspect of affairs in Missouri and Kentucky. We are confident our motives will not be misconstrued, and, at all events, we claim the right and the privilege of presenting these views thus briefly upon a matter so important and which may be attended with such grave consequences.
We have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Washington, October 1, 1861.
Brigadier General D. E. SICKLES:
SIR: Understanding that you can organize three battery companies without interfering in any manner with the enlistments now going on in the State of New York, you are hereby authorized to organize-companies of artillery in such form as may be directed by the commanding general.
THOMAS A. SCOTT,
Assistant Secretary of War.