property to Texas. This movement of course, is caused by an apprehension on their part that their property is not as safe where it is as it would be in Texas. Believing as I do that they are mistaken in this view, and that their present removal would not only involve them in heavy pecuniary losses, but also inflict a serious injury upon our Government, I feel it my duty to give you candidly my views as to their duties at this hour,and my own opinion as the propriety of the step they contemplate, in the strong hope that they may be induced through you to reconsider their decision.
The whole State of Texas is evidently threatened by the enemy from more than one direction, and I feel assured, though the gallantly of the troops under both Major-General Taylor and Major-General Magruder have perplexed and foiled him for the present, that he has not yet abandoned his original designs in that State, and that it is fully as likely to be the scene of active operations as the Red River region above this point. The enemy in Arkansas cannot move in great force in the direction of Red River, owing to the difficulty of obtaining supplies and the physical obstacles growing out of the character of the country they will necessarily have to traverse; if they move in small force, we will be able at once to check them. There can be no danger at present further than the possibility of a small cavalry raid, and even this would be attended with great hazard to the enemy, and in all probability they would be cut off or captured.
Further, a residence of fourteen years in Texas justifies me in saying that the corps are uncertain there over a very large portion of the State, and that those who move there must expect to be subjected to all the hardships and exposures incident to a scarcity of food both for themselves, their negroes, and their stock.
Under the circumstances, I have no hesitation in saying that both prudence and patriotism alike unite to urge the planters to remain where they are, sow their crops, and sell their surplus produce to the Government, and trust to it for protection, which I assure them shall be extended to the utmost of my power. Looking, then, upon their decision as hasty, and formed in ignorance of the facts, I desire you to communicate with them, and let them know my views and purposes in this matters as soon as you can, so that they may be induced, if possible, to abandon, for the present at least, all idea of removal.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., November 20, 1863.
Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,
Commanding District of Texas, 7c.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose copy of a letter to General McCulloch relative to the deserters in his district.
The lieutenant-general commanding directs me to say he can approve of no arrangement by which desertion is encouraged. Besides this, he is satisfied that no reliance is to be placed in these men, and that the only object they have in delivering themselves up to General McCulloch is to prepare themselves to desert to the enemy on the first opportunity.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant, and Aide-de-Camp.