is my duty to try to anticipate, meet and if possible thwart, if not defeat, his plans, whatever they may be.
The possession of the Mississippi River by the enemy cuts off this department from aid from and communication with Richmond; consequently we must be self-sustaining and self-reliant in every respect.
My position as commanding general under existing and future state of affairs places me in the way of ascertaining the wants and necessities of the department better than any other person. These are of the most weighty character, and require serious consideration of the wise and patriotic intellects of the State west of the Mississippi. I see the magnitude of the subject and the great responsibilities connected with it.
I am an humble, but by position an important, agent in the defense of a cause that involves all that makes the name of home and country desirable. With God's help and yours, I will cheerfully grapple with the difficulties that surround us, and if you and the reflecting minds of your respective States will sustain me, with prayer to God, and with my every mental and physical effort devoted to the cause, I shall work on hopefully and, I trust successfully. To do this, however, I must have your personal acquaintance, your confidence and your individual and combined co-operation, with that of the leading spirits and judicial minds of your States.
I earnestly desire to secure and merit the confidence of the people whose homes I am ordered to defend. I would, then, respectfully suggest that you w ill meet in conference with me at Marshall, Tex., on the 15th day of August next, and that you will invite the members of the supreme courts of your States to attend with you at that meeting. I desire to have the support and advice of the representative men of the States composing my department.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.
E. KIRBY SMITH,
Lieutenant-General, C. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,
Little Rock, July 20, 1863
Major-General PRICE, Commanding Division, &c., Searcy.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt this afternoon of your report of the attack on Helena, and of your communication of the 19th instant from Des Arc.
For some days past Lieutenant-General Holmes has been confined to his bed by illness, and has been unable to attend to business of any kind. He is improving in health, however. As soon as his convalescence shall permit, the papers above mentioned will be submitted to his consideration.
I am, very, respectfully, your most obedient servant,
W. B. BLAIR,
CAMP 20 MILES SOUTHWEST OF GAINESVILLE, ARK.,
July 21, 1863-12 m.
Colonel JOHN Q. BURBRIDGE:
In consequence of an advance of the enemy, I have been compelled to fall back. The advance, 350 strong, were camped last 4 miles below Scatterville, and are coming down the ridge, from what I can learn.