AUGUST 23, 1864.
Respectfully returned to the President.
I am satisfied the best use for the troops in the Trans- Mississippi Department,if practicable, would be to operate (so far as to be spared) on this side the river. If, however, the crossing be impracticable, then I think this scheme by no means unworthy of consideration,and would advise the attempt to execute it. It amy be larger in its aims than our resources may suffice to compass; but that could only be determined in the courses of its execution. The invasion of Mississippi would alone constitute an important diversion, and if successful event would determine whether the rest of the bold plan should be pursued. It might be found more directly serviceable to use the successful army in sustaining resistance or revolt in the northwestern states or in Kentucky. Even should the condition of North Arkansas not allow the movement of so large an invading force into Missouri much benefit might in the present state of opinion there and int he adjoining States result from a movement into the State of the largest mounted force that could be collected and thrown forward.
J. A. SEDDON,
Recent movement from Arkansas evinces the purpose of General Smith to do as much in th line of the above as his means will permit. No action necessary.
CAMDEN, July 23, 1864.
General E. K. SMITH:
DEAR SIR: The accumulating testimony o the state of affairs in Missouri derived from private individuals, private letters,and the public prints, show that the Federals have but few reliable forces in the State, their garrisons being manned almost entirely with their State militia, in whose loyalty they have but little confidence, more particularly since a force consisting of them who were marched against Colonel Thornton's rebels in Platte City, instead of fighting him joined his command. I am also assured that the Confederate flag floats over nearly all the principal towns of North Missouri, and large guerrilla parties are formed and operating in the southern potion of the State. These facts indicate the feeling of the people of the State, who fear that the increasing desire of the North for peace, and the unparalleled and continued successes of our armies, may bring about a cessation of hostilities and a negotiation for boundaries, without or army being in possession of any portion of the State. To give us this military possession, as well as to encourage or friends there, I respectfully but urgently suggest the propriety of making a move into the State for the purpose of concentrating and organizing these detached parties, which, when brought together the least sanguine seem to think will amount to not less than 30,000. What troops can be spared for this purpose is for you to say. You can ascertain from a letter from Major Shaler, assistant inspector- general, to Colonel Allston, such information regarding the strength of the Federal forces in this State as he has been able together, as some data for action. I look upon it as reliable, and am further informed that the forces in Little Rock and Pine Bluff are upon half- rations. Upon this subject, as being so much more satisfactory, I desire much to confer with you personally, to