"lower than the lowest deep" to which he has fallen in the estimation of the community of all classes, you cannot be aware of. He may be but an illustration of the truth of the proverb, "Give a dog a bad name," &c.; but so it is, and the fact, not its justice or its truth, must be confronted. He is regarded as t he source of all our woes, and disaster, it is prophesied, will attend us so long as he is connected with this army. The atmosphere is dense with horrid narratives of his negligence, whoring, and drunkenness, for the truth of which I cannot vouch; but it is so fastened in the public belief that an acquittal by a court-martial of angles would not relieve him of the charge. I know you have confidence in him-you believe he has merit-high merit, I heard you so declare, and it may be true; but, not to criticism his actions with reference to the foundation of your good opinion, that opinion is not held, far from it, by those whose estimation of his character more immediately affects our common welfare. I know I hazard nothing in saying that Van Dorn's removal from the army with which he is now associated would benefit it. The army, I believe, have no respect for him-have lost confidence in themselves, and will not fight under him. A gentleman from the West stated yesterday that the country between Houston and Oxford was full of straggling troops, who openly declared that they had abandoned the army and never designed to return until they were placed under officers fit to command them.
The present alarming crisis in this State, so far from arousing the people, seems to have sunk them in listless despondency. The spirit of enlistment is thrice dead. Enthusiasm has expired to a cold pile of damp ashes. Defeats, retreats, sufferings, dangers, magnified by spiritless helplessness and an unchangeable conviction that our army is in the hands of ignorant and feeble commanders, are rapidly producing a since of settled despair, from which, if not speedily dissipated by some "bright event or happy change," the most disastrous consequences may be apprehended.
I imagine but one event that could awaken from its waning spark the enthusiastic hopes and energy of Mississippians. Plant your own foot upon our soil, unfurl your banner at the head of the army, tell your own people that you have come to share with them the perils of this dark hour, and appeal to every Mississippi who is not "so base that would be a bondman" to rally to your side in rolling back the insolent foe who invades our homes, and I believe a shout would welcome your presence and a multitude respond to your appeal that would make the invader quail before the uproar of such a popular tempest. If ever your presence was needed as a last refuge from an "Iliad of woes" this is the hour. It is not a point to be argued. It may be you would admit Pemberton to be even an abler general than yourself. All such suggestions may be truth, but it does not then change the fiction, as available as fact to the popular sentiment, that you can save us or help us save ourselves from the dread evils now so imminently pending.
If those evils, so threateningly near, can be averted by your presence I need not pause to imagine and reply to objections based upon your required presence at Richmond as President of the Republic. That can, may, must be obviated. There is a multitude of thoughts which arise in my mind by which I could enforce the step I suggest, but they will be more than compassed by your own reflections give them but ample range. Its contemplation makes me feel eloquent, but I am conscious my ardor and fervency would appear but "dribbled chilliness reflected through the inky portraiture of cold white paper." "Think on these things."