troops to oppose Blunt; General Taylor's effective force is not over 10,000, and General Magruder's less than 6,000. Could arms be obtained this force might be doubled. Could I see any reasonable hopes of ever getting them, I might encourage the people,and plan with some hopes of success. I reached this department at a time when the retreat from Prairie Grove and the fall of the Post of Arkansas had lost to use a large portion of our small-arms, and, with the exception of some one thousand eight hundred broken and unserviceable muskets crossed at Natchez, nothing has reached the department. Requisitions and representations have been made without practical results. The arms intended for us were all lost at Vicksburg. Efforts have been made by myself, and, I believe, by the Ordnance Bureau at Richmond, to introduce arms into Texas. The Goodyear, with twelve thousand stand, was seized by a French man-of-war and carried to Vera Cruz. The United States blockading fleet have effectually prevented the arrival of other arms, confidently expected. I do not make these statements in a fault-finding spirit, but they are facts which present the almost hopeless condition of our affairs in this department. This country has,in a great measure, been stripped of its shot-guns and rifles, which, early in the struggle, were carried east of the Mississippi. The people and the State troops which are called out, know that they cannot be armed; despondent and disheartened, they have but little hope of the result. The whole made population - the aged and the infirm - have been called upon to organize under the acts for local defense. Sixty thousand rifles could, I believe, this moment be well disposed of throughout this department.
I am, sir, with respect and esteem, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Shreveport, La., September 2, 1863.
Hon. JOHN SLIDELL,
Confederate States Commissioner:
SIR: The action of the French in Mexico and the erection of an empire under their auspices makes the establishment of the Confederacy the policy of the French Government. The condition of the States west of the Mississippi, separated from the General Government,at Richmond; the exhausted state of the country,with its fighting population in the armies east of the Mississippi; the vast preparations making by the enemy to complete the occupation and subjugation of this whole Western Department, are all matters which, if properly brought before the French Emperor, should influence him in hastening the intervention of his good services in our behalf. This succor must come speedily,or it will be too late. Without assistance from abroad or an extraordinary interposition of Providence,less than twelve months will see this fair country irretrievably lost, and the French protectorate in Mexico will find a hostile power established on their frontier, of exhaustless resources and great military strength,impelled by revenge and the traditional policy of its Government to overthrow all foreign influences on the American continent.
The barbarities and cruelties practiced by our enemy in conducting this war, the desolation of whole tracts of country, the wanton burning of dwellings and towns, the destruction of our agricultural implements,and the forced impressment of our slaves into their army, to wage a
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