Richmond, Va., September 12, 1862.
GENTLEMEN: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of the 28th July, which was handed to me by the Honorable G. M. Bryan in the current month.* While deeply gratified by the expression of your confidence in my desire to spare no effort for the relief and protection of our fellow-citizens in the Trans-Mississippi Department, I anticipated and relied on your devotion to the cause of our country and your determination to second every measure adopted for its defense.
The delay which occurred in making arrangements for the proper organization of the Trans-Mississippi Department arose from causes some of which are too obvious to require mention and others are of a nature which cannot now be divulged.
It is, however, not improper to say that while Virginia was pressed by the whole force of the United States Government, with our capital threatened, and even closely invested, by the largest and best appointed and commanded army of the enemy, it was impracticable to detach such commanding officers for the Trans-Mississippi Department as its importance required.
At no time, however, had the condition and urgent necessities of that department ceased to be subjects of deep solicitude, and long before your letter was received, and immediately after the defeat and dispersion of the enemy by our gallant soldiers in the battles of the Chickahominy, I selected officer possessing my highest confidence for the command and administrative duties of the department and the district composing it. By the assignment of Major-General Holmes to command the department, and Major-General Taylor, Hindman, and Price to the Districts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri, aided by a competent staff, I feel assured that the proper military skill, vigor, and administrative ability will not be found wanting.
Large supplies of funds have been sent, and will continue to be furnished as the exigencies of the service required; and although not able to give all the aid in arms and munitions of war that would be desirable, a supply has been sent about equal to that asked for in your letter. Some of these supplies have not yet reached their destination and another part was unfortunately lost by capture of a transport steamer by the enemy, yet I feel gratified in being able to state that on every point indicated in your letter I had anticipated your wishes before its receipt.
On the subject of a branch treasury in your department there will probably be more difficulty in meeting your desires than you are aware of. The law does not now permit it and I am not sure that the project is feasible. That matter will, however, be taken into advisement, and in the mean time effort will be made (I hope successfully) to prevent any further injury to the service from want of funds.
In conclusion, be assured, gentlemen, that your friendly counsels will always be received with satisfaction and treated with the deference and consideration to which both personally and officially you are so well entitled. I am fully aware of your superior advantages for obtaining the information necessary for the intelligent guidance of public affairs in the Trans-Mississippi Department, and desire you to communicate
* Not found.