I have been informed that a law has been recently passed which authorizes the President to commission general, field, and other officers to recruit and organize troops in Missouri, and than he is urged to make a great many appointments under that law. He will pardon me for suggesting that he could not better execute that law than by sending the officers of my old division with the remnants of their commands upon that duty.
Those officers have shown themselves upon many battle-fields to be able, brave, and fit to command. They are experienced and tried gentlemen, deserving and enjoying the confidence of their troops. They have won their commands by hard service, in which they have demonstrated their merit. Whom could the President more fifty or more justly send to Missouri to recruit and organize troops than these very officers? Their presence there with their war-worn veterans would not excite the prejudice and feeling which are likely to be aroused against those who, owing their commissions to presidential favor, shall present themselves in Missouri to supersede the gentlemen who have been raising troops there and who have not made themselves known to His Excellency or his advisors by pressing their claims to office. Every one known, too, that these old regiments and batteries would if recruited be far more efficient than twice the number of new regiments. I am, moreover, of opinion that no officers could recruit troops in Missouri as rapidly as the would. I am sure that the people of that State would more gladly enlist in these old regiments, which have won immortal renown by their prowess on many fields and which are commanded by known and experienced officers, than in any new regiment whatever.
These facts are too plain to require elucidation. The President must admit the desirableness of executing the law referred to in this mode, provided these troops can be safely spared from this point. I do not fell at liberty to discuss that question. I am certain that they can be spared as safely now as at any time within my prospect, and that he President ought not to hesitate any longer to order them across the river, in fulfillment of his and your point. A statement of their numbers is the best argument on this point. The Missouri troops consist of six regiment of infantry, one regiment and one battalion of dismounted cavalry, one battalion of cavalry, and seven light batteries.
The present effective total of the infantry and dismounted cavalry is only 2,662; the aggregate present only 3,283, or less than 350 men to the regiment. There are about 500 men in the batteries and about 250 men in the cavalry battalion. These are the remnants of a force of nearly 10,000 men which have been fighting the battles of the Confederacy for the last eleven months. Their comrades have fallen in the many bloody battles which their courage has prominently illustrated, or have been consigned to their graves or the hospitals by the casualties of war and the pestilential atmosphere of the Mississippi swamps. I cannot believe that the safety of this point can be endangered materially by the withdrawal of so insignificant a force; but this is a matter upon which I ought not to express my opinion to the President, who is of course better informed as to the position of affairs here than I can possibly be.
There are, however, Mr. Secretary, several points to which I desire to very respectfully call the particular attention of yourself and His Excellency. The Missouri troops were enlisted in the Confederate service upon my assurance to them that the President had declared to the commissioners who negotiated the militia treaty between Missouri and the Confederate Government in October, 1861, that while he would not stipulate to that effect in the treaty it was neither his wish nor expectation even to take away the Missouri troops from their own State. They