Today in History:

408 Series I Volume XX-II Serial 30 - Murfreesborough Part II

Page 408 KY.,MID. AND E.TENN.,N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXXII.

fair assurance that they will be permitted to operate in that State. I must say that whole companies, which subsequently deserted, marched with spirit and cheerfully when they supposed they were going toward the enemy in Kentucky. I think they would rejoin their standards in service to be carried on in Kentucky.

The attempt to bring infantry recruits out of Kentucky was a signal failure, but I want you and the President to understand the matter. So far as I was concerned, no sort of chance was afforded to me to come in contact with the people of Kentucky, and I did not come into contact with any of those who inhabited my section of the State. I did not have a chance to go within 40 miles of my home, or to see my family and friends. It seemed as if an effort was sedulously made to take the companies which were seeking me into other commands, and I was flatly informed by General Bragg that all the powers granted me by your Department were superseded by his presence in the State, and troops were to be raised there only by this authority. I had no show at all; no power, to chance to say or do anything. I saw before I reached Mount Sterling that our stay in Kentucky would be brief. I obeyed every order I received to the letter, and asked no questions. I obeyed without one murmur or dissentient suggestion against any order. My thoughts were my own, and my calculations were not deceived. After I reached Mount Sterling my command was marched and counter-marched nearly 200 miles, between Mount Sterling and Harrodsburg, and was not still at any one place long enough to hold any intercourse with the people of any section. It is not my purpose to criticize the conduct of others, but to explain and excuse my own. Doubtless, the Government considers that my ability to raise recruits in Kentucky proved a dead failure. So do not I regard it; but, on the contrary, when I had no opportunity to make and effort, I apprehend more recruits came to seek me than to any other person. I brought out, and have still, from my own section, one regiment of cavalry, nearly 800 strong, all recruits both officers and men. My battalion of mounted rifles grew from 300 to about 700 strong, and all came out to this place. The twelve-months' men I have mustered out, but many of them will reenlist here. I shall spare the twelve-months' men, and if justice is done to the service and to me, I shall be able to make a regiment full of Kentucky mounted rifles, say 1,000 men, and all recruits.

Capt. Ben. E. Caudill enlisted for me nine companies of infantry, whose muster-rolls I have forwarded to the Adjutant-General. Colonel Hawkins has some three companies at Guest's Station, and Colonel Freeman has three here. These fifteen companies are saved, after all, out of the wreck, making, of mounted men and foot, at least 3,000 men, and this thought I had no chance to call out the people among whom I have spent my life. I hope, sir, that the President and yourself will frankly consider the circumstances under which I was placed in estimating results. You cannot estimate the disappointment and chagrin I have suffered at all that has been done and said. I think it not impertinent, under all the circumstances, to ask whether the design of the Government is to abandon Kentucky or to suspend operations in that quarter, and, if there be such intent, to know whether my instructions and powers survive or have lapsed. Your orders to me to place my troops near this road, so as to move at short notice, I promptly obeyed. Your order to lend Echols support should he call on me for assistance, I have been constantly ready to obey, and had an interview at Dublin Depot with General Echols, after which I sent one of my regiments to Rocky Gap, so as to relieve two of his, which were before Princeton. I sent a battalion of Georgia artillery to take position at Jeffersonville

Page 408 KY.,MID. AND E.TENN.,N.ALA., AND SW.VA. Chapter XXXII.