I fear your conciliatory measures will not bring the results you desire. My experience in Louisiana proves that the most determined and stringent measures are now necessary. If you resort to force in bringing back the absentees and collecting the conscripts in your district, no better force could be employed than that of Quantrill's Missourians. Their not being from the State, will make them more effective. They are bold, fearless men, and moreover, from all representations, are under very fair discipline. They are composed, I understand, in a measure of the very best class of Missourians. They have suffered every outrage in their person and families at the hands of the Federals, and, being outlawed and their lives forfeited, have waged a war of no quarter whenever they have come in contract with the enemy. Colonel Quantrill, I understand, will perform that duty, provided rations and forage are issued to his men and horses; this you are authorized to order. In the event you have no immediate service for him and his command, direct him to report in person at these headquarters. His command should go into camp at some convenient point, where they could received rations and forage until Colonel Quantrill's return.
Since writing the above, a second letter from you of 23rd October has been received. You can issue the rations and forage required for Quantrill's command, provided they remain under your command. The best disposition you can make of them will be in breaking up and bringing in the bands of deserters in your district.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
November 2, 1863.
His Excellency PENDLETON MURRAH,
Governor of Texas:
SIR: In view of the dangers which threaten Texas, I deem it my duty to call your attention to the position of the military affairs of the State, that you may be able to take such action as may be necessary to put them on the best possible footing for its defense.
The enemy, between 30,000 and 40,000 strong, is advancing from his present base of operation at Berwick Bay in the direction of Opelousas. Should he fail to diverge for a movement upon Texas by way of Niblett's Bluff, his whole force will be thrown upon General Taylor's army in his front, with a view of forcing his way to Alexandria, and from thence up Red River Valley to Shreveport.
The Red River Valley once in his possession, a movement upon the wealthy and productive portion of Eastern Texas, above the line of the San Antonio road, becomes practicable.
This section once entered, unless his progress is checked by an adequate force, the scope of country south of the wheat region is within his grasp, and we are cut off from that source of supplies. In the meantime the whole coast is open to attack, and we may well suppose that the enemy will not be slow to appreciate the importance of a diversion, at least in that direction.
Information already received from the enemy's lines states that a large expedition against the Texas coast is nearly ready to sail. With this extensive field of operations before me, it is but natural that I should turn to Your Excellency, and the honorable Legislature, which has just assembled, not only for a complete co-operation in my efforts