river, desiring to strengthen myself in the hearts and confidence of the people, and fearing that despondency and hopelessness, which is ever ready to catch at change, in the hope of bettering itself, might lead to the adoption of measures inimical to the true interests of the Confederacy, I determined upon calling together the executives, judges, and representatives of the several States, that by obtaining their support and co-operation, and by invoking the power of the States and acknowledging the supremacy of the civil laws, confidence might be restored, and the people feel that a Government remained to them capable of administering to their wants and necessities. A few days previous to the meeting, I received a letter from Your Excellency, and one from the honorable Secretary of War, in which the very steps taken by me were recommended. In the letter of the Secretary he recommends calling to my aid the ablest and most influential men of the country, the formation of a civil and military government, and the establishment of the bureaus of the War Department. This advice, to a certain extent, I have followed; indeed, had previously determined on the measures as a necessity. I have organized the several bureaus of the War Department, placing the senior officers, General Huger, Major Blair, Colonel O'Bannon, and Dr. Haden at their heads. The Treasury Department I have not touched, except to organize a cotton bureau, under Colonel Broadwell, the workings of which shall be kept within the limits of the law.
I feel great hesitancy and repugnance in assuming any powers not clearly expressed or implied by my position as department commander, and only when impelled by necessity will it be done. Powers more full than I now possess, and which are called for by the peculiar situation of this department, with full instructions, should be sent me. Some action, and that without delay, should be taken by the Treasury Department. An Assistant Secretary of the Treasury should be sent here, with full powers, and means should be taken for meeting the financial wants of the department.
I am beset by troubles and difficulties. I shall endeavor to meet them boldly, yet conscientiously, and trust my acts will be reviewed with leniency. I have always though abler and better men could fill the trusts which have been confided in me. You yourself know I have never sought the positions intrusted to me, and I hope no hesitancy on your part, no regard for my own feelings, will deter you a moment in relieving me from duty, or in making any change in my position that the public interest may require. I shall always labor honestly and conscientiously, and will devote all my energies, mental and physical, in the support of a cause which is holy and righteous, and which, under God's providence, I believe will ultimately triumph; yet I shall hail with pleasure they day which relieves me from cares and responsibilities, never coveted, which are wearing out my constitution and making me prematurely old.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
MARSHALL, TEX., August 15, 1863.
In obedience to request of Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith, the following gentlemen met this day for consultation and conference; From Texas, Gov. F. R. Lubbock, Honorable W. S. Oldham, Colonel P. Murrah, and Major G. M. Bryan; from Louisiana, Governor Moore, Colonel [T. C.] Manning,