without stating the reasons therefor would be unjust, and create dissatisfaction.
I have made my arrangements for taking command in person. I concur with you that our interests demand it, and it is in accordance with the wishes of the President and in conformity with my own desires and determination. General Holmes and General Taylor have both been so notified. If I remain here t is that from a central position alone the orders can be given for that concentration of troops which is necessary before we can hope to meet successfully either of the columns threatening us in Arkansas and Louisiana. General Taylor has orders to concentrate his command in the Red River Valley, and is prepared to march to the assistance of General Holmes. He understands and desires that I should command.
When the enemy's plans are developed, this move will take place. His column are now so far apart that we cannot reach them. He must first become committed to a forward movement. Our concentration in advance would probably keep him on the defensive, and render fruitless the abandonment that must take place of one or the others section when a concentration is made.
The expedition from Berwick's Bay has sailed; whether the mouth of the Brazos, Lavaca, Brazons Santiago, or Mobile is its destination future events will soon decide. It is on a formidable scale, and if it lands in Texas will meet comparatively little opposition.
I agree with you that General Holmes' military ability is of a higher order than General Price's; the latter has more the confidence and love of the troops. It is unfortunate that their differences could not have been reconciled. They are, however, beyond the healing power of any physician but separation, and they will not act together with that harmony which is essential to success.
If no move is made by the enemy this winter, I shall be a good deal with the headquarters of that army, and may remove on or the other to department headquarters to administer in my stead. If Cleburne can be sent here, he will be a valuable addition. He should have more rank, if possible.
I wish you success in your mission; its importance to us cannot be too highly appreciated. It looks as if the enemy were now urging the war for boundary, and in that intent were determined upon the conquest of these States west of the Mississippi.
I have spoken so freely to you of my views in this letter that I hope you will regard it as confidential; in military movements I do not believe too much reticence can be observed.
I am, colonel, sincerely, yours,
E. KIRBY SMITH.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,
Camp Sabine, C. N., October 9, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel JAMES BOURLAND,
Commanding Battalion, &c.:
COLONEL: General McCulloch, commanding the Northern Sub-District of Texas, has ordered out the minute companies in the counties of Cooke, Denton, Montague, Wise, &c., which companies are ordered to report to you. You will assume the command of all such forces as are reported to you under General McCulloch's order, all consider yourself as specially charged with the protection of that portion of the frontier bordering on the settlements of those counties. With regard to you movements and