|Chapter XVII. EASTERN KENTUCKY.
of the existing law. I have so far placed in the hands of the men the arms I received from Governor Letcher. I transferred the Belgian rifles to the men who were the best drilled, and have old flint-lock muskets to place in other hands, but these will soon be exhausted. You ought to have other arms furnished, and let me issue them to the men who will enlist for the year. No man comes for an enlistment for a longer period, but I believe nearly all will serve again after this term is our should the war continue.
I send you inclosed a slip from one of my friends at Paris.* It is not signed, lest it might expose him if it fell into the hands of the enemy, but it is from a gentlemen named Richard Lindsay, of bourbon, and who is well posted. I will give you an idea of the feeling of the people who are under the rod of the oppressors, but who are powerless because disarmed. I must have arms, and it is useless to go in until I have them. My men here are anxious to march for the interior as we are, but I know that would be madness. I must have a mounted force raised in some way; must then dash forward with it, break up the railroad from Cincinnati to Lexington, deploy it as foragers through the country, l and then follow with my infantry and artillery, and organize my force as I go. This is my plan in brief. When I do go, I must have arms to give to those who flock to my standard, otherwise they can but encumber me. My idea has always been to have an army effective when I reached my own section, and there its operations could be combined with the operations of other corps, under the general control of General A. S. Johnston, and to be directed by him, I hope, upon Cincinnati and the enemy's country.
I learn from a well-informed person that three regiments from ohio were seen to pass Maysville a few days ago en voyage for the mouth of the Sandy, and that it was said three others were coming down from Wheeling or Pittsburgh. I shall not be surprised to be pressed upon by columns of form 6,000 to 10,000 men in the aggregate.
I estimate my own force this morning as equal to 3,000. Say, Williams, 1,000; Trigg, 550; Moore 450; mounted battalion, 400; battery of four pieces, equal 600 men - total, 3,000.
I regret that Colonel Stuart has not moved rom Abingdon yet. I learn that both officers and soldiers of that regiment are very averse to this service, and I suggest that in such mood they will be of very little service. I have no inclination ot command men who pick soft places, and I would prefer regiments that are willing to sacrifice comfort to the cause they serve. It is not with me the best sign to know that a regiment loiters on the way-side when it s absence endangers the safety and efficiency of a whole command. I would be willing, so far as I am concerned, to exchange Colonel Stuart's regiment for any other the Department may think proper to send me, but I hope some one will be sent without delay. Really, I think that if affairs, in East Tennessee will admit of it, this column would be rendered very potent by the deployment of the force now there upon this line as a base. To strengthen me disturb Cincinnati awfully; they call on General Buell at once for help, and draw away from Nashville and Bowling Green. It is the application of a counter-irritant to their tender spot instead of to ours. It has the advantage of enabling me to move forward where they are exposed, and they will be compelled to let me bring the population to our side and arm it in their rear, or detach enough from their main body to maneuver with me.
|Chapter XVII. EASTERN KENTUCKY.