War of the Rebellion: Serial 084 Page 0999 Chapter LIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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loyalty may stop-when our failure to protect their country may force them to seek an alliance which will afford them greater immunities than we have given. Devoted as they appear to us and much as they detest our enemies, interest and their love of home and country, which tradition has shown is characteristic of the race, may prove stronger ties than a treaty but poorly complied with by us. Forced back to Red River, their homes left to the mercy of a vindictive foe, they may forsake us, and in forsaking become our enemies. The effect of such a course is patent to every mind. Hoping for the best results, if forced back to Red River our prospects would be gloomy. Indigent families, now but eking out a bare existence,would be crowded upon us in large numbers. Our stronghold gone, with no room to maneuver, our chances against an enemy numerically our superior would be greatly diminished, our dangers greatly enhanced. These dangers can be averted. Two things are needed: Make our supplies secure, not uncertain or doled out by the sufferance of commissaries. Let us have transportation to carry our supplies to the army. These things done, we can maintain our ground against a fore twice our strength; without them we are exposed too disaster and retreat. With a fine wheat crop secured and ready to be converted into flour, why issue meal which will spoil before it can be used? Why consume during the summer that which will best serve us in winter? Where is the transportation captured in Arkansas, which the troops of this district greatly assisted to secure? Where are the wagons captured in Louisiana? Out of 800 captured during the spring campaign but ten have every reached this district. There is not one of our brigades which has the transportation allowed by general orders from department headquarters. We need 100 additional wagons. What few wagons trains we have when they go for supplies are scattered and sent off in squads to a dozen different mills and depots to get a load. Under the present arrangements we cannot accumulate, and when a general advance is ordered I see nothing but obstacles in our way which we cannot avert.

I have thus entered at length upon what I consider a subject of vital importance to the entire department, without intending to reflect upon any officer. Many commissaries have evinced a disposition to aid this district as far as they are able under the orders of their chiefs. I am forced, however, to believe that the importance of this district is not properly appreciated, possibly because its former history is not emblazoned with triumphs. There is a cause for this passive record which is not remedied to a very great extent now, and that cause is the meagerness of its resources and supplies. Remove that barrier and there is reason to expect and to realize glorious fruits. Troops badly armed and clothed are not calculated to do great deeds, and when rations fail or are only furnished for to-day, uncertain whether or not to-morrow's supply will come, they are powerless to effect great results. Briefly summed up our wants may be stated thus: Sixty days' rations in our magazine at Johnson's Station and regular sources of supplies for present use guaranteed. No meal, for we cannot afford to lose it; a supply train of 100 wagons (in addition to those on hand), to carry supplies to the army, so as to avoid any possible failure. As to the wants of the troops in other respects, I beg to refer to my inspection reports for the months of June and July.

I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. E . PORTLOCK, JR.,

Colonel and Assistant Inspector-General.