WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A. Richmond, Va., November 26, 1862.
Lieutenant General J. C. PEMBERTON:
GENERAL: Herewith you will received the copy of a letter from Major General Sterling Price, which has been addressed direct to this Department. From it you will perceive General Price is urgent to be transferred with his command to the Trans-Mississippi Department, and sustains his request by reference to the past engagement known to me is that contained in the passage from a letter of my predecessor, cited by General Price, and is expressly limited and guarded. The Department now as then would be pleased to gratify the wish of General Price, but must have primary reference to the exigencies of the service and the public safety. You will therefore report whether, consistently with the safety of your command and the success of your proposed operations, General Price with his command can be spared to the Trans-Mississippi Department. Should such be your conclusion, without further instructions from this Department you will order him to cross the river with his command and report to General Holmes, commanding that military department. Should you conclude that the command of General Price cannot now be spared you will consider and report the practicability and expediency of effecting an exchange with General Holmes of a like command, and thus, without weakening your own force, gratify the wish of General price to be transferred with his command. The attention of General Holmes will be invited to such exchange, and it is hoped such an arrangement may be effected to the satisfaction of all interested and without detriment to either command. Whenever, in your opinion, feasible and judicious, such arrangement, if made with General Holmes, may be accomplished by you without further reference to this Department.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE WEST, Abbeville, Miss., November 15, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: In a communication which you addressed to me on the 24th June you said:
Your division has been already retained longer than the President contemplated when it was ordered across the Mississippi, and General Bragg will order it to be transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department so soon as it can be safely spared. The time of transfer will of course depend on the possibility of throwing troops across the river in its present stage or on the military operations now in progress, in which you have expressed a wish to co-operate.
Nearly five mounts have passed since that promise was made. The military operations then in progress have been completed. The troops can be spared with as much safety at this as at any time in the immediate future, and the possibility of throwing them across the river is likely to diminish daily, and the officers and men (I speak of the Missouri troops constituting the division referred to) are clamorous for the fulfillment of your promise. I do hope that you will not delay its fulfillment any longer.