the enemy as General Johnston seems to be, and had ordered the seizure of wagons, teams, and goods in the same manner, but he was compelled to change his orders by orders from the War Department. The instructions from the Department were prepared by Mr. James A. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War,a nd will be found to be very explicit in his letter to General Pemberton on the subject of goods bought from the enemy. The instructions contained in this letter were regarded by all as being equivalent to opening the trade, because it ordered all goods turned over to the civil authorities, and the civil authorities immediately turned them loose. I was very anxious to have explained these matters in person to General Johnston, because I cold have done so verbally better than I can write it. I was forced to believe from complimentary letters that at one time I possessed his confidence as an officer, but I have been made recently to feel very keenly that I do not. The desertion of my men when they fell back on Grenada and it was taken gave me the first blow on his good opinion, but if he will remember how General Bragg's Tennesseeans have always left him when he fell back from Tennessee, how General Price's army melted away on his retreat from Little Rock, and how his own army deserted when he fell back from Jackson, he could hardly censure me as an officer because my men should desert under similar circumstances. Vicksburg had fallen and my men believed they were falling back to Alabama.
I have received more reprimands lately from General Johnston than in all my military career previously, which I think were evidences of great dissatisfaction, and I feel that I am not fully trusted, because I am the senior brigadier in the cavalry of Mississippi, and am kept in command of a brigade, while my junior commands a division.
I have heard that this dissatisfaction with me has been brought about in part by the reports of citizens; this is a very uncertain standard by which to try military men, and but few wound bear the test, but if the commanding general puts any confidence in the many vile slanders that I know have been circulated against me, I simply ask that he give me the benefit of an investigation. I feel a consciousness of having discharged my duty. I believe I have made good soldiers of roving bands that were more hurtful to friends than foes, and I have the proud satisfaction of knowing that my command on the last raid compared very favorably with the two best brigades in the cavalry in Mississippi, and that the very citizens who have heretofore censured my command are now quite laudatory of them in comparison with others.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. R. CHALMERS,
HEADQUARTERS CHALMERS' CAVALRY,
Oxford, December 14, 1863.
I. Captain Vankirk, assistant quartermaster, having reported at these headquarters in obedience to orders from Maj. A. M. Barbour, chief quartermaster, will report to Colonel McCulloch, commanding brigade cavalry, for duty as brigade quartermaster.
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By order of Brigadier-General Chalmers:
W. A. GOODMAN,