the strength of the enemy in Kentucky--the Confederates confident of success — Confusing Opinions as to the time a battle may be fought — movements of Generals Marshall and Zolliceffer--the news from England.
[correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
Nashville. Dec. 22, 1861.
We have various reports, from persons who recently came through under a flag of truce, of the strength of the enemy's army at and approaching Green River
, threatening Gen. Johnston
journals in Kentucky
estimate the number at seventy to ninety thousand; some of our Southern friends who have come through place the number at a hundred thousand or more; while the more intelligent of these friends say this force does not exceed 60 to 70 thousand.
From the best lights before us I am of opinion there is not over sixty thousand effective men on that line that could be brought into one battle now or within the time an engagement is expected to take place.
The sickness in the enemy's camp is represented as very great.
Some of the regiments were said to be but little more than skeletons of what they were.
Still, the force aggregated in the neighborhood of Green River
and within call is large, not to be despised, composed of good fighting men from Kentucky
and the Northwestern States
, and well furnished with materials of war. Sixteen to twenty thousand have crossed the river, and seem to be preparing to advance.
If a battle were fought to-day, I do not think the enemy could bring into the field over thirty or thirty-five-thousand men. To meet these we have twenty to twenty-five thousand of the best and bravest troops in the world — quite sufficient to whip the enemy, though they be more in number.
They have boasted they would eat their Christmas dinner at Bowling Green
, and soon after be in Nashville
This piece of characteristic gasconade has as little terror for our brave volunteers as the ‘"on to Richmond
"’ cry had. Nor do I hear of any families leaving Bowling Green
, or packing up their things in Nashville
for departure from fear of the gascons.
And should the enemy increase his force greatly, we can do the same.
Under any and all circumstances, we can defend the line to Bowling Green
against any number that can be brought against us. More than that, we have no doubt of defeating them so thoroughly that we shall be able to advance into the country now held by them.
A battle is expected any day or hour, not only by the people, who in their excitement usually anticipate such an event, but also by the army officers.
Such is the state of military affairs just now in that part of Kentucky
I am, however, skeptical about having any great, decisive battle there, as I have stated before in my communications to the Dispatch.
From the recent news of the movements of Federal forces on the Potomac
, in the neighborhood of Norfolk
, in Kentucky
, and else-where, it is not improbable that the much-talked-of grand demonstration at all these points simultaneously is about to be made.
The enemy has again assumed a highly threatening tone towards General Pillow
They speak confidently of overwhelming him at Columbus
, by an irresistible attack by land and by the river at the same time.
The General feels no apprehension about the result, should he be attacked.
We have received no reliable information, for some day past, of the movements of Generals Marshall
It was known they were marching wish increased forces as they advanced, the former in the direction of West Liberty
, and the latter by Somerset
Hope is indulged that they may meet at Lexington
The news from Europe
created a thrill of joy here, as everywhere else throughout the Confederacy
Queen Victoria's message, the prompt and decisive stand of her Government, the tone of the British
press, and the popular voice show that the Lincoln
despotism will either have to fight the old Lion or be humiliated.
We hope the Yankees
will have as much back-bone, as they have egotism and fanaticism, for then there is sure to be war. This news has produced a considerable effect, already, upon the speculators in money.
Gold had gone up to forty per cent., and in some cases as high as fifty, now it is not over thirty.
Should there be a war- between England
and the United States
, it would probably go down to-par or to small premium.
The navy of Great Britain
would soon sweep away the blockade, and we should be supplied abundantly with money in exchange for our produce, and with the materials of war. We wait with intense interest the news from the North
and from the other side of the Atlantic
, to know how providentially the Mason
affair is working.