below Vicksburg. For this purpose send a sufficient number of intelligent men, competent for the duty, from your immediate command, and also as many scouts of Captain Henderson's as you may think necessary. Attend to this immediately. Forward their reports promptly and frequently.
By command of General Johnston:
BENJ. S. EWELL,
UNOFFICIAL.] HDQRS. FIFTH MILITARY DISTRICT,
Grenada, July 30, 1863.
General JOSEPH E. Johnston:
GENERAL: My brother and volunteer aide, Major H. H. Chalmers, who bears this letter, will explain to you more fully than can well be done in writing my plans for the future conduct of affairs in this district, to which I respectfully ask your sanction.
These plans contemplate the probability that I may be left for some time in my present isolated position, and virtually in command of a very large portion of the State, and I believe that, if they can be carried out, I will be able to effect much good in collecting and sending out supplies and in arresting and bringing into the service the large number of stragglers and conscripts who are now to be found in this district.
In connection with this, there is another subject to which, owing to the short time I have been under your command, I feel much delicacy in approaching, but which I feel it to be just to myself and to the service in this quarter to mention. I am satisfied that it would add greatly to my efficiency in my present position if I held the rank of major-general, and, if you deem me worthy of so high an honor, I would be gratified to be recommended by you to the President for promotion. I have already had occasion to call your attention, in an official letter, to the fact that a spirit of disaffections beginning to show itself among the people in the northern part of this State. The country is filled with stragglers and deserters, whom it is difficult to arrest, because they are hidden and protected by the citizens. The State troops under my command are very apt to desert when ordered to any disagreeable duty, and, so far as they are concerned, I am ranked by the major-general of the State forces, and have already had some trouble growing out of orders issued by him to troops in this district, which, in one instance, removed a part of my command from this to another district without my consent. This difficulty, at least, would be obviated by my promotion.
Your acquaintance with me, whether personal or official, is slight, but I can confidently refer you for my qualifications as an officer to the commanders under whom I have served since the commencement of the war, viz, General Bragg, Lieutenant-General Polk, and Major-Generals Cheatham and Withers; particularly to Generals Bragg and Withers, who have known me longest and best.
I was the colonel of the first regiment mustered into the service from this State, and was in active service with it for some time previous to the fall of Fort Sumter, and have been in constant and active service since that time. Previous to you arrival in this State, I was, with one exception, the oldest brigadier under General Pemberton's command.
I have been (unofficially) informed that General Bragg recommended me for promotion several months since, and I think I can say, without boasting, that no brigadier in his army stood higher in his estimation.
Should these or other considerations induce you to ask my promotion,