RICHMOND, January 5, 1862.
General BRAXTON BRAGG,
My private letter to you [of December 27, 1861] was written before the enemy had landed at Ship Island and Biloxi, and it is not just that you should now be asked to accede to the proposal contained in my letter.
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., Richmond, Va., January 5, 1862.
Major General BRAXTON BRAGG,
SIR: I ought sooner to have replied to your several letters of the 10th, 11th, 17th, and 29th ultimo, but I was extremely anxious to give you definite information in relation to the subject of re-enlistment of twelve-months' men; and after the act of Congress on the subject I was much engrossed, in concert with the President and Adjutant-General, in the attempt so to execute the law as to prevent the disorganization of the Army.
No one can deprecate more sincerely than I do the obvious consequences of what you well denominate the system of universal suffrage in the Army; but the lawgivers have spoken, and we must do the best we can. I send you herewith a circular copy of the regulations we have devised, which will appear in a few days in the shape of a general order from the bureau of the Adjutant-General.
I know in advance that, however contrary to your own ideas of a proper system, the Department can rely with confidence on your cordial co-operation, and at least one point is gained, viz, that after the first election all vacancies will be filled by promotion.
I regret the total impossibility of supplying you with arms for your unarmed regiments. We have a large cargo near at hand, but Heaven knows when we will receive it, if at all; and until we can get in some arms from abroad we cannot put another man in the field. It is a cruel necessity that forces this avowal, but it is due to you to state the facts. In the mean time our enemy, with free intercourse abroad and full control of that sea-coast, augments his forces at pleasure, and leaves us a desperate struggle, to be maintained only by heroic effort and unconquerable will. Everywhere we are outnumbered, and while demagogues and newspaper squabblers are clamorous for offensive movements, we are scanning the horizon with anxious eyes and praying for no other succor than arms and powder-for nothing but weapons with which to fight in defense of our rights. If the winter closes upon the campaign without serious disaster all will be well, for it is impossible, with the varied efforts already made, with the large supplies already purchased, and with the numerous expedients now in progress, that some successful venture shall fail to occur, and thus put into our hands all that is wanted to wrest from the foe the admission that our subjugation is impossible.
The President has ordered the appointment of Major Jones to be colonel of the new regiment of Mississippians organized by you, which you will please to number as the Twenty-seventh Mississippi; but he does not seem entirely to concur in your recommendation of the lieutenant-colonel. As soon as he determines that point Uipscomb will be