There is much truth in what is said by General George, and it is deserving of serious attention, and, therefore, forwarded for the consideration of the commanding general. My own experience here has been that these guerrilla companies cost the Government much more than they are worth, and that it has been a cover for many men desirous of avoiding all duty. Their ranks are very thin until a muster for pay is ordered, and then they are quite full.
The example of their freedom from military restrains has a very injurious effect upon men in the regular service, producing many desertions from both the infantry and cavalry.
I think some guerrilla companies, under proper officers, can do much good in protecting a country from the stragglers of the enemy, but I would recommend that all guerrilla companies be composed of non-conscripts, and organized under the act of Congress authorizing companies of 20 or more for home defense, without compensation.
JAMES R. CHALMERS.
HDQRS DEPT. TRANS-MISS., Shreveport, La., July 10, 1863.
General S. COOPER,
Adj and Insp. General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: The dispatch from His Excellency the President, dated July 2, calling for my co-operation in the relief of Vicksburg, was received this morning. As early as the 20th May, I made arrangements for concentrating opposite Vicksburg all the disposable force in the department, Major-General Taylor, in person, commanding. These dispositions were made in advance of the investment of Vicksburg, and as soon as the fall of the overflow east of the Bayou Macon Hills admitted of operations from this direction. General Taylor's report has been forwarded. The enemy re-enforced and strengthened opposite Vicksburg, and, with the power of throwing on the peninsula in a few hours an overwhelming force from either flank of the investing army, they made their position impregnable.
I inclose the only communications received from General Johnston previous to the 3rd of July. His concern is there expressed for the garrison in Port Hudson. He calls upon me to do something for their succor, and announces his own preparations for the aid of Vicksburg.
On the 30th of June I received the inclosed letter from General Elgee, and proceeded immediately in person to Delhi, General Walker's head quarters, and made arrangements for communicating with General Pemberton and for supplying his command with caps. I arrived at Monro on the 3rd July; the garrison of Vicksburg surrendered on the 4th.
General Taylor's successes in Lower Louisiana show that no effort have been spared by him to make his demonstration for the relief on Port Hudson effective.
I inclose a letter from general Walker exhibiting the difficulties en countered in operating opposite Vicksburg.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH.
Returned to Secretary of War. The within and its inclosures explain why the effort of the Trans-Mississippi troops was directed in the first instance especially for the relief of Port Hudson.
J. D. [DAVIS.]