erate officers, and, when passed upon favorably, to be received as cavalry, and organized separately; these troops to be assembled at convenient depots, the cavalry depots being separate and distinct from those of the infantry, and the cavalry regiments to be drilled both as infantry and cavalry; the forces thus raised to be kept in the service six months, unless sooner discharged. It is not the intention to keep these troops from their homes, unless absolutely necessary, which at present is not anticipated, but to organize and prepare them for service, so that they may be ready whenever the emergency shall arise.
I take the occasion also to inform Your Excellency that Congress has passed a law authorizing military commanders to impress property, including slave labor, for the public service. Impressment, when necessary, is, therefore, the law of the land.
I am fully aware that citizens who have been the most patriotic have heretofore borne a greater portion of the burden of furnishing labor than properly belonged to them. There are many reasons for this. The most selfish keep their slaves at home, and, of those who furnish them, the most importunate for their return will sometimes succeed in recovering their slaves, in consequence of the change of officers and agents necessarily incident to military life. At least 1,500 slaves are necessary at this moment to work on the fortifications on the coast. I earnestly desire to be spared the painful necessity of using the power which the law it in the majority of cases; nevertheless, I will execute it with firmness when necessary, and will give credit to the patriotic for the sacrifices they have made, whilst the public interest will be protected by calling more largely upon those who have been dilatory or who have omitted entirely to contribute their quota to the public defense. A mere inspection of the map should satisfy and holder of slave property that these defenses are absolutely necessary to its security. Your Excellency, in company with myself, has recently visited and inspected the fortifications and the inland fleet, and could not but have felt a greater sense of security after witnessing the effect of the fire of our guns upon the channels of approach, and after an examination of the strongest and most skillfully constructed earthworks that are to be found in any country.
Much has been done, burt more remains to be done. I have made Your Excellency the above plain and frank statement of facts, that they may be communicated to the people of Texas through the highest official authority in the State. I have devoted myself solely and exclusively to their interest since my arrival here, and shall follow the part of duty to the end, wherever it may lead; combating with the difficulties of my position with energy and fidelity, alleviating, as far as in my power, the sufferings of all, and injuring none.
In conclusion, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that I have made arrangements to furnish the facilities of the Government in conscripts and conscripts teams to all those good men and patriotic associations who have undertaken the disbursement of the money so liberally appropriated by the last Legislature for the benefit of the suffering families of our absent soldiers, and to assure Your Excellency that the patriotism, zeal, and intelligence which have marked your co-operation with the Confederate commanders in this district are fully appreciated by them and the Government, and have contributed greatly to the success of their efforts to rescue the District of Texas from the presence of the enemy, and to maintain it to this moment free and defiant. For these great services rendered by yourself and the patriotic and able