structions respecting my conduct of certain affairs at Mobile.* I shall endeavor to be guided by them.
General Buckner has not yet arrived, and, as I have been in the department long enough to receive impressions and to form opinions, I venture to submit to your consideration some matters which seem to call very strongly for a change of policy. Prominent amongst these is the disloyal element of this region and its treatment. So far as I can see, a merciless partisan warfare has been waged against these tories, and men who might have been made our friends or have been rendered quiet citizens, have been goaded into active hostility against us. A generation cannot now suffice to allay this animosity; but we can, at least, abate its activity, and, as I perceive that all Tennessee serving here, whether officers or men, are bitter partisans in this civil war, I recommend that no Tennessee troops nor Tennessee commanders be sent here, and that, whenever occasion serves, those now here shall be exchanged for troops who cannot be parties to the intestine war.
I am convinced that formidable preparation has been made to occupy this department. It is a hard territory to defend, being a mere frontier, with a railroad line of 200 miles or more in extent, parallel to which is the enemy's line of occupation, from which by many routes he can assail us, and, as the whole course of the railroad is in a disaffected country, our ability to use it is uncertain. At present there are but about 4,000 or 5,000 infantry available for movement upon any threatened point, and, therefore, it is essential for the security of the territory that a considerable increase of the infantry force should be made at once.
The reports are daily increasing of movements of Burnside's forces, indicating an early invasion. He may await the result of the conflict impending between Generals Bragg and Rosecrans, or even the coming of harvest, before he makes his decided movement; but I believe it will be wise to re-enforce this army at the earliest possible day.
General Buckner will be here day after to-morrow, when, after explaining to him the condition of affairs, I will proceed to Mobile. I am the more anxious to get there because of the recent invasions of the interior of the Southern States, which may be the precursor of a more critical movement against our strong places.
I feel no little relief at the change which you have made in my command. General Buckner is the man of all others in the Confederacy who should be here, and, while I do not know that I am peculiarly suited to the command he has been occupying, I shall enter upon its duties with more satisfaction than I feel here, because there is but one enemy to fight there, and he is outside.
It has been my ardent wish to command Virginia troops, on Virginia soil, in this struggle-to be a part, for even a little while, of that noble army which has again, at Fredericksburg, won a great victory and upheld the honor of Virginia. But I am very grateful to you, sir, for what you have done for me, and I am content to serve the Confederacy wherever I can best serve her, and to wait on he interests and rely on your kindness for the gratification of any personal preferences.
I have seen it stated in the papers that Mr. Roy Mason, my father in law, has been carried from his home a prisoner. Cannot his exchange be now effected by means of the prisoners taken by General Lee?
With sincere regard, yours, truly,
DABNEY H. MAURY.
*See Series I, Vol. XV, p. 1059.