quently, the feeling prevailing in a part of it excites less surprise and distrust than might otherwise have been felt. It is sincerely hoped that, now the attention of the military authorities has been called to the matter, the disaffection will not only not spread, but be entirely suppressed.
It can hardly be doubted the great majority of the gallant troops around you are too deeply identified in feeling and interest in our just cause not to remain, under all circumstances, true and loyal to their standards and their country. The remedy, however, proposed by you in such commands as may have been infected, is certainly advisable. Such commands, as soon as can be, with convenience and safety, should be removed to more active service in the field, and be substituted by some of the veteran but depleted organizations, and you are authorized quietly and effectually to make your arrangements for such exchange.
You should communicate either with General Polk or General Johnston in relation to such exchange, and telegraph me (in ambiguous phrase) which you prefer to exchange with, so that I may advise him to co-operate with you in it. I recommend an exchange with General Polk, as the men will be in the same department, and perhaps under less intercourse with a doubtful population than in Northern Georgia or East Tennessee. This, however, is left to your own judgment, which is fully confield in, to arrange the matter satisfactory.
Which candid wishes for your continued health and success, very truly, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
Mobile, Ala., January 11, 1864.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War:
DEAR SIR: Since my letter to you of the 28th December, sent by Captain [W. R.] Browne, I have continued to investigate the report communicated therein.
On the 5th instant, I learned from the commanders of General Clanton's infantry regiments that there was in Clanton's brigade an organized plan for desertion, which would be executed on an early day agreed upon. I therefore ordered Colonel Swanson to move one of the regiments immediately to Montgomery. The two cavalry regiments were already exchanging stations and on the move. On the - instant, 60 men of a picket of 300, on duty within 15 miles of Pensacola, laid down their arms. On learning this, General Clanton at Pollard paraded the forces remaining there, informed them of what had been developed, and pursued from some of them admissions of their guilt. He has sent 64 here for trial.
In itself, there is no great importance in this affair, but it will be greatly magnified by rumor; will increase the anxiety of our own people, already too despondent, and will encourage the enemy. The fact is established that an organized opposition to the war exists in our midst; that a secret association has been formed in the army, and with many members in the country, seeking peace on any terms. That General Clanton's command is full of this disaffection is not surprising when we consider the elements of which it is made up and the manner in which they were brought into service. About a year ago he procured authority to raise a legion, which, according to his view, would be