by the Rio Grande. The Goodyear, with twelve thousand stand of arms, was seized by a French man-of-war, and carried to Vera Cruz. The United States blockading fleet has effectually intercepted and prevented other arrivals. I do not make these statements in a fault-finding spirit, but they are facts which present the difficulties of my position to you, which discourage and dishearten the people, and which prevent the successful execution of any plan for the defense of this department on its present bounds.
The massing of heavy columns in Arkansas, on the Mississippi, and in Lower Louisiana, the employment of a large portion of Grant's army in these dispositions, and the activity being displayed by the enemy, clearly point to a permanent occupation of this department. Politically, it is a wise move. The people, particularly in Arkansas and Louisiana, lukewarm, dispirited, and demoralized by love of property, are, under concessions from their conquerors, to a great extent prepared for returning to their allegiance. A heavy column will penetrate the country from Little Rock, in concert with a force under Blunt, moving through the Indian country, whilst the main column, invading Louisiana, moves up the valley of Red River for its line of operations. A force from Natchez and from Vicksburg, concentrating at Monroe or some other point on the Washita, will threaten our flank and communications on Red River. Preparations making at Berwick's Bay and New Orleans threaten the State of Texas by Lavaca, with San Antonio for the objective point, cutting of the trade and communications with Mexico; or the State may be invaded by Niblett's Bluff, with Houston and the railroad system as the objects of the campaign. My information from within the enemy's lines indicate each and all of these movements. The campaign is stupendous; but great preparations are going on, and the enemy's force is sufficiently large, when the smallness of our means is considered, for carrying on all these operations at once. Disastrous as it may be in a political point of view, we shall probably be force back to the Sbine and Red River. If the enemy moves with as large a force as he is represented to have, this must be the ultimate result. As our troops, now scattered over a vast and extended line, approach a concentration, good results may be expected. Occupying the interior line, we may, under the providence of God, strike a blow which may materially affect the result of the campaign.
I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
Estimated effective force.
Indian Territory and Arkansas............................ 14,500
Western Louisiana......................................... 11,500
Read and returned.
You have more accurate knowledge of Grant's forces.
The statement in relation to arms should have a reply. Similar remarks have been made by politicians, and I infer that General Smith has accepted their version. What results may have attended the efforts to send in arms by the Rio Grande is probably known to you. The storage of arms (en route) at Vicksburg was a blunder. From whom did the orders producing it emanate?
J. D. [JEFFERSON DAVIS.]