1st regiment North Carolina Cavalry; Colonel Pegram, 1st Maryland regiment. Generals Polk and Bragg have made the same efforts to procure the proper officers to command under them. It is with the utmost difficulty, even with competent general officers, that a volunteer army can be kept under proper discipline; and without those officers it becomes a rabble. A fearful responsibility rests upon the general's shoulders; and I honestly believe that if he did not consider the country in great danger, he would not retain the command of this army for twenty-four hours; but he knows the value of his name, and is willing and anxious that its power and influence should be used to the fullest extent. The numbers of this army have been more than doubled since his arrival here; but of what avail is this immense host if he cannot get the proper officers to put it in a condition by which he can make its numbers effective, instead of being an encumbrance. The only way he can counterbalance the inexperience of the regimental commanders is to place competent generals over them. I trust, sir, that this grave subject will receive your attention; and if you have any influence with the ‘powers that be,’ that you will use it for the country's good; for if we are defeated in the rapidly approaching combat, it will be difficult for us again to rally, and the Mississippi Valley will be lost to the Confederacy, and the cause we are contending for also lost forever. I remain, dear sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, Lieutenant-Colonel W. W. Mackall, C. S. A., and Brigadier-General Daniel Ruggles, as major-generals, absolutely necessary, and that they should be ordered by telegraph to report to him. You are at liberty to make whatever use you see fit of this letter.
A. R. C.
Jackson, Tenn., March 16th, 1862.My dear Colonel,—Can you not wake up the authorities to the great danger of our army here, and necessarily of the Mississippi Valley, from lack of proper organization—all due to a want of brigadiers? I have been trying for the last month and over, indeed, before I left Centreville, to have a certain number of them appointed, but all to no purpose. Are we, for the sake of a little economy in the pay of said officers, to jeopardize all we have at stake in this contest? Why, then, not authorize generals in the field to appoint acting brigadier and major generals, when in their judgment required, but without additional pay, until approved of by the President or Congress? Bragg, Polk, and myself applied, a few days ago, for ten general officers; today we are informed that four are appointed, of whom two can't be here for one week! in the meantime a part of this army is in a state of chaos, and fifteen thousand new levies will soon be in the field! What in the world shall I do with them? Will not Heaven open the eyes and senses of our rulers? Where in the world are we going to, if not to destruction? Time is all-precious now; the enemy will soon be upon us, and, to cap the climax, I cannot get well. I