send. I shall move to the battle ground to-morrow, and there await your arrival, should there be nothing different from the present state of affairs here. I am still of the opinion that the enemy cannot be attacked in his works with our present artillery with a reasonable prospect of success. You will make use of the commissary stores on the road, if necessary, though it is desirable that you should bring as much as you can with you. If Major Lee, commissary of my command, is in your vicinity, please confer with him as to the state of supplies.
Your obedient servant,
ALEXANDRIA, LA., July 28, 1863
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: By the papers I perceive that the call for conscripts has been extended by the President to embrace all within the age of forty-five. The interruption of communication prevents the receipt of official information. The necessities of the department and the pressure of the enemy's columns from every direction, demand the enrollment of the men without awaiting that information. I have ordered the enrollment of conscripts within the age of forty-five. I trust, should my information of the President's action be incorrect, that he will nevertheless approve my course. Communications is now extremely difficult with Richmond; in a few days it will entirely close. The department will be thrown entirely upon its own resources. Without the assumption of extraordinary powers, my usefulness as department commander will be lost. If possible, instructions and orders to meet this emergency should be sent by special messengers. I have convoked a meeting of the Governors and judges of the supreme court in the several States west of the Mississippi on the 15th of August next, at Marshall, Tex. I hope thus to obtain the support and co-operation of the State governments in such measures as it may be necessary to take in this extraordinary condition of affairs. Whilst my whole course as a military commander has hitherto been to keep within the limits of the laws, and to refrain from the exercise of powers not strictly granted me, I feel that I shall now be compelled to assume great responsibilities, and to exercise powers with which I am not legally invested. I trust the President will support me in any assumption of authority which may be forced upon me, and which will be used with caution and forbearance; and I entreat him to send the heads of departments west of the Mississippi, with extraordinary powers for the organization of a government, to continue until communications have been resumed with the capital.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant
E. KIRBY SMITH,
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
August 20, 1863
Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
H. L. CLAY,