RICHMOND, June 19, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I beg leave to submit, in compliance with your request, a brief statement of my views as to the proper conduct of the war west of the Mississippi.
The increasing difficulty of communication between that portion of the Confederacy and the East makes it very important that the Trans-Mississippi District should be constituted into a separate department, under the command of an officer enjoying enough of the confidence of the Government to be left untrammeled by specific instructions to the guidance of his own judgment and the every shifting circumstances of an active and aggressive campaign.
A movement should be made immediately in the direction of Missouri. This would lead the enemy to concentrate a powerful force to resist it. Our own army must be correspondingly large and the department must be large enough to furnish it. The troops can be gotten nowhere else, and it is always better too to recruit an army in those regions which are most interested in the success of its operations. These considerations ought to determine the limits of the department, and they require it to embrace the States of Missouri and Arkansas and all those parts of Louisiana and Texas the people of which are not more immediately interested in the success of some other movement.
I have no doubt that a sufficient force could be raised within these limits to accomplish the main objects of the campaign, the occupation of Missouri and the compelled withdrawal of General Halleck's army from the extreme south.
As Missouri and Northern Arkansas are now occupied by the enemy we can raise no troops there at present, but must begin the campaign with such troops as are now in the department or such as may be transferred thither from the army now under General Beauregard's command. With these we must move forward, driving the enemy back, and I am perfectly confident that as we do so, particularly as we penetrate the fertile and populous portion of Missouri, the citizens of which are loyal to the South, our army will swell in an ever-increasing ration. If it shall be the pleasure of the President to establish the proposed department, and to assign me to the command of it which I would very respectfully ask, because I am sure that I should be more useful to my country there than anywhere else I will ask him to allow me to take with me the troops of my own division and such other troops from that department as General Beauregard can spare. If action could be taken immediately they might be transported across the river in boats now on the Yazoo River, but immediate action is necessary. They would form a veteran corps, around which a victorious army could be quickly gathered.
I do not anticipate any difficulty in the way of subsistence and forage. The cattle of Texas and Missouri will furnish and transport all the meat that we will require. Grain is more abundant there than here. Grass is plentiful everywhere, and when once we enter Missouri its immense granaries and supplies of every kind will be at our command.
I am sure that we can obtain the necessary transportation. The greater portion of the animals and trains of my own division and of