aught else our enemies need cotton, and want to command the source of its supply. Their essential policy will be to hold and permanently occupy all the country west of the Mississippi, and, if they cannot control the river, to own one bank of it and an interest in it. In any negotiations for peace, they will claim on the vital question of boundary, all the foothold they have gained west of the Mississippi.
8th. The Trans-Mississippi Department has given up vast numbers of its soldiers, and what arms it could spare. They have been sent to fight the battles of our country east of the Mississippi; they went with promise of return; they have never been sent back; there is now little hope of that. They, as a general rule, comprised our best men, spirited and devoted to the cause. Those remaining are less reliable. The question is, can Texas furnish men enough to defend herself and maintain her independence, much less reconquer the vast area that would separate her from the Mississippi and the Confederacy. The danger is that Texas may seek to make terms for her own safety, in a revival of her favorite and ancient idea of separate nationality.
9th. The thought of our being cut off from the Confederacy and our subjugation to Northern domination, degrading and ruinous, is insupportable. If any such army as the enemy can bring against us shall be permitted, quietly and without meeting resolute resistance, to march through and occupy so extensive a country as Arkansas, in view of the resources of this whole department, and of which Arkansas, is now the key, and involving such mighty and disastrous consequences, it must become a sad reflection upon those in authority.
In the way of advice we offer the following suggestions, and hope General Smith will find something in them worthy of consideration;
1st. To make all our people and slaves retire from the banks of the Mississippi. Let that region become waste. To prevent all illicit traffic with the enemy at the various points on the river. That has been vastly injurious to us, and is what we have most to dread. To break up all planting operations attempted under Federal license or control. To allow no cotton to be raised, and destroy what is on hand.
2nd. The enemy think they have opened the navigation of the Mississippi. Many of the Northwestern soldiers, especially in view of the sickly season, will be disposed to return. To hold the Mississippi, the enemy must employ a large force to garrison various points. With small bodies of men we can harass and keep their garrisons pent up, and assail gunboats and transports by sharpshooters and light artillery at every available point. That can be done effectually when there ceases to be dread of retaliation upon non-combatants. Our policy is, in every conceivable way that can suggest itself to military minds, to render the navigation of the Mississippi cumbersome and expensive dangerous and practically useless for gain or advantage to the enemy, and thus increase the discontent and opposition to the war among the people of the Northwest.
3rd. Our opinion is against calling out the State militia. General Smith should rigidly enforce the Confederate conscription while and wherever he has an opportunity throughout his department. You may aid him in this or in the purchase of local arms, by the expenditure of any balance the military board may have on hand. We recommend that.
4th. It is of the first importance for General Smith to lose no time in procuring what arms he can from the Rio Grande and by purchase from private hands throughout his department. We can furnish men enough if the Government can furnish the arms and ammunition.