be commensurate, under the blessing of Providence, with the justice of our cause.
We have in the Western States vast mineral resources, and we must give increased attention to their development. Some time since I directed men skilled in the casting of guns to be sent over, with the hope that by the establishment of a foundry we could, from the iron of the country, make all the heavy guns which would be required in the department.
You cannot regret more than I do the injury which has resulted from the removal of the machinery for the manufacture of small-arms. It had been sent from Little Rock to Napoleon before I hear of its removal. Directions were given to send it back to Little Rock, and afterward, learning that it had been removed from Napoleon before the order was received, though it was promptly given, further directions were given to have it returned, and efforts were being made to do so when, by interruption of communication across the Mississippi, the last information I had of it was that it was on the 9th of this month at Jackson, Miss., and the ordnance office said he should probably be compelled to send it back to Alabama.
I am sure your good will and good judgment will not allow you to impute errors, even when, as in this case, they are great, to any want of desire to withhold from any portion of our country all which it is needful to have and possible to give. The war in which we are engaged is one of immense magnitude, and it oftentimes happens that officers who had never previously exercised high command are called upon to bear great responsibilities and to hold complicated and important trusts. It is not, therefore, a matter of surprise that frequent errors should be committed, which, viewed in retrospect would seem very palpable, and which must at last often be judged without a knowledge of many attending circumstances which may well have affected the conclusions of the actors. But it is to the future, not to the past, that we must address ourselves, and I wish to assure you, though I hope it is unnecessary that no effort shall be spared to promote the defense of the Trans-Mississippi Department, and to develop its resources so as to meet the exigencies of the present struggle.
The States of the Confederacy can have but one fortune. Localities and individuals must suffer differently, but the prize for which we strive-independence-must be gained by all, or we must all share a fate which, to every man fit to be a freeman, would be worse than fortune and death.
The officer sent to command the department is one who I am sure will win your confidence and esteem. It is his duty to the extent of his power to defend every portion of the territory embraced in his command, but he must take an expanded view, surrendering unimportant to maintain important points, where the whole cannot be covered, and if at any time yo should not be able to understand the purpose for which a particular distribution of troops was made, and it should be proper for the time to conceal the plan of operations, I hope you will abide the development of events, and as confidence in his zeal an ability grows in you breast you will be able to infuse that confidence into others who may doubt, and thus promote that union and energy without which we would become segregated and helpless. I am sure you will find him free from all jealous or captious temper, and ready to profit by any information you may give him as to the best mode of developing the resources of the country and providing for its wants.
You say nothing of General Holmes, but you have had opportunity to know him, and I hope you concur with me that his zeal, integrity,