a censorious people; they will find fault and abuse every one in authority; many complaints are unfounded; all should be taken with many grains of salt. I have been accused of frivolity through the department for riding out with my wife before office hours for three hours to pick blackberries.
I inclose you an order, or rather a copy, of instructions given on the subject of securing negroes and stock as our troops retire before the enemy.* It is our policy to strip the country and leave it bare of supplies as we fall back. Great tact and judgment must be displayed in its execution, so as not to embitter the people against us; they should be our instruments for carrying it out. I inclose you copy of General Orders, Numbers 36;* carried out, it should increase the efficient strength of the army.
You are authorized to retain your son Benj. E. as acting aide-de-camp on your staff. Hart and the cotton business has long occupied my attention; it is the most tangled snarl that has ever come before me. Colonel Terrell has been placed in charge of the bureau. Two gentlemen of integrity and standing, one Major Williamson, inspector-general on my staff, have been directed to examine into the whole business, and have been authorized to make the most searching investigation. After consulting with Colonel Terrell, they have authority to associate with themselves any citizen of integrity and character they may think will advance the interests of the service.
I have sustained General Magruder in his appointment of General Bankehad until the action of the President, to whom it was submitted, can be received. General Magruder had committed himself to it; the objections had been removed; harmony was restored to the command; so I confirmed the temporary appointment, while I censured General Magruder, and instructed him no appointment, excepting under the law and from proper authority, would hereafter be recognized.
In regard to your staff officers, General Scurry has been instructed that when he takes command of your brigade, to which he is to be assigned, his staff officers will be exchanged for yours. I see no other way of effecting what you desire. Staff officers are appointed to the troops, the organization, and not (expecting the personal staff) to the general.
General Slaughter, to whom you refer, was not commanding any organized body of troops; his was more an administrative position, and this probably accounts for the law having been evaded in his case.
I shall place General Martin in charge of the conscript bureau in your district; he is an energetic and efficient officer. He will be instructed to consult and call upon you for aid. I hope you will co-operate with him. See that he does his duty and have the laggards and deserters brought into service. I know your hears is in the work.
I am, general, with feelings of friendship, yours, &.,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF TEXAS, &C.,
C. S. (late U. S.) Steamer Clifton, Sabine Pass, September 13, 1863.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,
Chief of Staff, Shreveport, La.:
GENERAL: A fleet of twenty-two steam transports (largest size), with five war steamers, attempted to pass into this river on the 8th instant,