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[188] one-third of the voting population of the State, having almost paralyzed that section, but I am pleased to state that these divisions and dissensions are rapidly disappearing, and I hope soon to see a united people in Tennessee, when we may reasonably expect reinforcements from that section; but, with the immense tax upon the population of Middle and West Tennessee to make up the force already referred to, I do not hope for any considerable number of volunteers from either of these divisions, unless it be upon pressing emergency, when I fell assured that a patriotic response will be made by almost our whole people to meet such emergency.

But the difficulty is not, nor has it been, in obtaining men. The inadequate supply of arms has been and is the chief obstacle which I encounter in promptly furnishing to you any reasonable number of reinforcements. With the greatest possible energy it takes time to collect and repair the private arms of the country, and this is the only means I have of arming the force now called to the field. I have spared neither effort, pains or expense in expediting the work, and yet it has been, and is, impossible to proceed with it rapidly. In furnishing arms to the large force above referred to, the State has heretofore drawn from the hands of her citizens their most effective private arms. Almost every gun that we get at this time must necessarily pass through the hands of the smiths before it is fit for service; and in this connection it is well to remark that Tennessee, less fortunate than some of her sister States, had no United States arsenal or depository of arms within her limits from which her troops might have been supplied; that but comparatively a small number of her force have been armed independent of the State, and that upon assuming connexion with the Confederate States all of her contracts for the manufacture of arms and other materials of war were assigned and transferred to the Confederate Government. I am sure, General, you will appreciate and make due allowance for the difficulties that lie in my way in the work of arming the forces of Tennessee under these circumstances.

I trust I shall be able with the inferior arms of the country to arm the volunteers now in, and that many will hereafter come into camp.

Very respectfully,


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