War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 1074 MO.,ARK.,KANS.,IND.T.,AND DEPT.N.W. Chapter XXXIV.

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HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., November 20, 1863.

Lieutenant-General HOLMES,

Commanding District of Arkansas:

GENERAL: By the inclosed copy of letter from General Taylor,* received after your departure from Shreveport, you will see that the enemy have renewed operations below. I therefore feel that but little hope can be entertained either by you or myself of drawing any force from General Taylor; my letter to him will, however, go. I have given to Mr. L. L. Johnson a letter calling upon the planters along Red River to remain at their homes and cultivate their corps, as that section of the country is, in my judgment, as safe as any to which they could migrate. I hope you will do everything in your power to persuade them to remain where they are, as it will be best both for their interest and that of the Government. If they should leave their homes, and the lands in the Red River Valley should be uncultivated during the coming year, the subsistence of the troops will be a difficult problem for us.

I am, general, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., November 21, 1863.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,

President of the Confederate States:

SIR: I have the honor to forward, for your information, copies of a contract made with Messrs. Bouldin & Newell, and also of my instructions to Major J. F. Minter, whom I have appointed to go abroad as agent under this contract.

The Schedules A and B, referred to, embrace the usual and necessary articles of ordnance and quartermaster's stores, and for that reason it was not deemed necessary to forward copies. The contract involved the sending of an agent abroad, and before that time I had it in contemplation to send abroad an agent for the purpose of effecting purchases of army stores based upon Government cotton. Under these circumstances I selected Major Minter, of my staff, and lately chief quartermaster of this department, as a person of great integrity, business capacity, and experience, and in every way eminently qualified for the duties imposed.

I trust that my action in this matter may meet your approval, and that you will issue the proper instructions and take the necessary steps to place Major Minter on the same footing as other purchasing agents now in Europe.

Should you disapprove of my action in reference to the contract inclosed,* I then recommend, inasmuch as Major Minter has already started on his mission, and also on account of his qualifications, that he be constituted a general purchasing agent for the Government for army stores.

I am, with high respect, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General.

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*Not found.

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