division from this department will be a large amount of desertion from that division. I am told the division now numbers 8,000. If he ever crosses 5,000 troops it will be a matter of astonishment.
Second. A renewed conviction that this department will be abandoned.
Third. An advance of the Federal army to occupy the department.
That the Federal Government may occupy the department no one doubts, whenever is shall choose to devote sufficient forces for that object.
Colonel Manter, chief of General Steele's staff, says that the files of his office show that the Federal army has been recruiting in this State since the evacuation of Little Rock to the extent of 8,000 men. This includes both white and black. If this department was in their possession they could recruit 30,000. This is under rather than over the fact.
Should the department once be abandoned, for one, I have no hopes that it will be ever recovered. The mere fact that our enemies succeeded to this extent would be a sufficient stimulant for additional exertions to subject the rest of our territory. After a protracted struggle of years, that part of the country east of the Mississippi could not reconquer the department nor would they be willing to protract the war in order to obtain it. When once given up it is gone forever. Whenever this department is surrendered it need not be expected that the troops east of the river will be efficient; for when they shall learn that their homes are permanently and hopelessly abandoned the mass will assuredly abandon a war which will be then waged to defend others' homes, and to achieve independence for other people, and while you may weaken the army here, you will not add strength to the forces operating east of the river from this department. In the most of wars heretofore, it has been thought sufficient of the more sparsely settled portions of the country were able to defend their own country; in this, the most sparsely settled have been, and it seems are to be, denuded of troops and material to defend the densely settled portions.
It is alleged to be the rule rather than the exception that those districts far removed from the capital shall receive but little attention. If such be the rule this department is within it. The troops raised by the State and the arms owned by the State were removed in 1862, and the machinery to make and repair arms was also removed. So far as I know, or believe, there is not a copy of the Confederate laws in this State. As I understand there is not a dollar in the department, at this time, to support and maintain the army.
For yourself personally, permit me to assure you of my highest confidence, but, at the same time, I desire to be understood as earnestly protesting against the removal of troops from this department, regarding it as productive of evil consequences only.
With the highest consideration, I am, your obedient servant,
SEPTEMBER 10, 1864.
Secretary of War, for attention.
The bureau of the War Department can furnish the information which will test the accuracy of the within statements, both as to men and material now in service on east side of Mississippi, and which were drawn from the west side of that river. The ordnance and ordnance stores sent over can be stated, and balanced against those brought