19 December 1861
Gibson, Randall Lee (1832-1892)
Autograph letter signed
Title: to his father Tobias Gibson
Gibson has been given the command of the 3rd Brigade of General Pillow's 1st Division, which consists of the 13th La., 3rd Miss., and Williams' Light Battery. He is now acting Brigadier General and expects a full promotion. Gibson analyzes their military strengths and weaknesses, comments on the Mason and Slidell affair, and discusses the depreciation of money. Gibson signs at the close of the letter and again, with initials, at the end of his postscript. In part: "...I am well and standing the campaign magnificently. After having had occasion to examine our lines of defences I feel pretty certain that with the force in hand we can hold our position but the country between this and Bowling Green and our rear - at New Madrid must be defended by other than these troops here as I do not think we can go beyond our present lines with entire safety. This army is well supplied - well equipped - well armed - an able & stout army. The position by Nature is impregnable. We need more scientific experienced officers high in rank. We may repulse the enemy - we may inflict the gravest disasters on him - but with the present organization we can never gain a complete victory - we cannot advance even though the enemy be defeated. ...Everybody seems to think, except myself, that I have some military capacity. I little thought a year ago - that I should really be honored with the Command of a splendid Brigade on the extreme Right of a Great Army on the borders of a victorious Southern Confederacy...We expect an attack in full force on Sunday or Monday. We shall fight if this be the case several days - and repulse the enemy - overwhelm & defeat him; but I am afraid our victory will only be a moral one - certainly so, unless we prepare before hand to take Paducah by holding a column in hand for this particular purpose. My God...I stand amazed at the want of real live men! how few look ahead - have any forecast. ...from present appearances we can only hold this position by a hard fight. The news from England is glorious. They say at Cairo - well has not Lincoln got us into a h_ll of a fix - so Genl P[olk?] says. They will probably attack everywhere now in a few days. If we withstand the onset - it must be their last. ...I would not sell crop fast. Please hold on to mine until February - The depreciation of money will of itself give higher prices & enable us to pay debts. Everything goes up when the currency is depreciated; as you can see the tendency thereof in the increased value of real estate, stocks &c. in the [City?]. We can pay debts with paper depreciated much better than in good money..."