observing the Federal
army of forty-five thousand men under Major-General Grant
, between that river and Holly Springs
, Lieutenant-General Holmes
, who commanded the Trans-Mississippi Department, had a large army, supposed to amount to fifty-five thousand men, the main body, near Little Rock
, opposed to no enemy, except garrisons at Helena
, and perhaps one or two other points on the Mississippi
Without actual assignment, I was told, on reporting, that the Government
intended to place the Departments of Tennessee
under my direction.
This intimation justified me, I thought, in suggesting to the Secretary of War
, General Randolph
, that, as the Federal
troops invading the Valley of the Mississippi
were united under one commander, our armies for its defense should also be united, east of the Mississippi
By this junction, we should bring above seventy thousand men against forty-five thousand, and secure all the chances of victory, and even the destruction of the Federal
army; which, defeated so far from its base, could have little chance of escape.
That success would enable us to overwhelm Rosecrans
, by joining General Bragg
with the victorious army, and transfer the war to the Ohio River
, and to the State of Missouri
, in which the best part of the population was friendly to us. I visited him in his office for this purpose, and began to explain myself.
Before I had finished, he asked me, with a smile, to listen to a few lines on the subject; and, opening a large letter-book, he read me a letter to Lieutenant-General Holmes
, in which he directed