NEW ORLEANS, December 30, 1861.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES:
SIR: Your letter of the 21st instant, forwarded by Colonel Gaines, has been received. With respect to the matter of transferring the Missouri troops to the Confederate Government, I have to say that the measure has not only my concurrence but my hearty approval.
The moment I received intelligence that Missouri had been admitted a member of the Confederacy I wrote to General Price, urging him to have the transfer made at the earliest moment, and to get the troops "for the war" if possible. What success has attended the general's efforts I have no means of knowing, not having heard from him since.
Surrounded, however, as he is with embarrassments of the greatest magnitude, his men borne down by all the hardships and privations of a summer's campaign, discouraged and disheartened as they must feel from having been abandoned by every Confederate soldier from the other States, and being left alone to face a foe of more than five times their strength, poorly clad, and suffering for the want of a proper supply of provisions, I can scarcely expect the most favorable results. For more than six months the Missouri Army, almost single handed, have successfully held in check the Lincoln forces in our State. From time to time they have been promised assistance from the Confederate States, but it has not come-so far from it, indeed, what few Confederate troops were upon our border and within the State have been withdrawn from it, marched down to the Arkansas River, and put into winter quarters more than two months before winter had set in. Not the foot of a Southern soldier now treads the soil of Missouri, except the men under the commands of Price and Thompson.
General Price and his men being thus forsaken by those on whom they relied for aid, their State being left to the mercy of the thieving jayhawker and murderous Hessian, their towns and their houses destroyed by fire, their property stolen, their country laid waste, and their wives and children driven from their homes to perish or to live as best they can, you may rely upon it, Mr. President, that men thus abandoned, however much they may love the gallant chief who has so nobly and successfully led them to victory upon every field and however much they may be devoted to the cause for which they have so fearlessly and cheerfully fought, it can scarcely be expected they will enter the Confederate Army with that alacrity and promptness they would do under more favorable auspices.
Their confidence in the good faith of the Confederate Government has to some extent been shaken in not having received the support of the Confederate troops stationed upon their border during the summer. They have not been able to see why the troops under General McCulloch did not co-operate with them in their march to Lexington, and in the reduction of that place.
They believe that with the aid of the Confederate forces in the State we could have held that place, and by so doing could have doubled the strength of our army. Deprived of that support, the army was forced by the overwhelming numbers of the enemy to fall back upon our southern border.
After the evacuation of Springfield by the Federal forces General Price again determined to march toward Lexington and try once more to strengthen his army with new recruits and turn over to the Confederate Government his entire force, but in this effort, as in the former, he was unsupported by the Confederate troops, and doomed to the alternative of going alone.