HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT No. 2,
Tupelo, Miss., June 27, 1862.
Pursuant to the orders of the President I assume the permanent command of the forces in this department.
The weighty duties, the grave responsibilities of the place, the momentous issues impending, and my high sense of the eminent capacities of the-distinguished leader and soldier whom I have succeeded make me accept the position with unfeigned reluctance. Relying, however, on the justice of the cause of an invaded people, in the zeal and skill of subordinate officers of all ranks, and confidently depending on the unswerving bravery, devotion, and individual intelligence of a soldiery fighting on their own soil, at the very doors of their own homes, in defense of all worth living for or that has ever inspired men to heroism, I enter hopefully on my duties.
But, soldiers, to secure the legitimate results of all your heavy sacrifices, which have brought this army together, to infuse that unity and cohesion essential for a resolute resistance to the wicked invasion of our country, and to give to serried ranks force, impetus, and direction
for driving the invader beyond our borders, be assured discipline at all times and obedience to the orders of your officers on all points, as a sacred duty, an act of patriotism, is of absolute necessity. Without this spirit the bravest army must sink soon into an armed rabble, as impotent for defense as of offense. I shall proudly hope to see this spirit in the brave men of Shiloh and of Elkhorn; hope to see them as soldierly and obedient to necessary authority as becomes brave men called to arms to battle for the right to live in independence.
Soldiers, great events are impending; an insolent but wary foe has invested the seat of your Government. Your brethren of the Armies of the Potomac and of the Peninsula stand steadfastly to their posts to meet the desperate conflict which must soon come. I doubt not victory will be with them. Others of your countrymen, under the lead of Jackson and Ewell, in the Valley of Virginia, have recently shed imperishable renown on our arms, and shown what a small, obedient, disciplined volunteer army can do.
A few more days of needful preparation and organization and I shall give your banners to the breeze – shall lead you to emulate the soldiers of the Confederacy in the East, and with the confident trust that you will gain additional honors to those you have already won on other fields. But be prepared to undergo privation and labor with cheerfulness and alacrity.