War of the Rebellion: Serial 056 Page 0857 Chapter XLIII. CORRESPONDENCE,ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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been driven. You will not need to have it suggested that the imperative demand for prompt and vigorous action arises, not only from the importance of restoring the prestige of the army,and averting the dispiriting and injurious results that must attend a season of inactivity, but from the necessity of reoccupying the country, upon the supplies of which the proper subsistence of our armies materially depends.

Of the immediate measures to be adopted in attaining this end, the full importance of which I am sure you appreciate, you must be the best judge, after due inquiry and consideration on the spot shall have matured an opinion. It is my desire that you should communicate fully and freely with me concerning your proposed plan of action, that all the assistance and co-operate may be most advantageously afforded that it is in the power of the Government to render.

Trusting that your health may be preserved, and that the arduous and responsible duties you have undertaken may be successfully accomplished, I remain, very respectfully and truly, yours,

JEFF. DAVIS.

Statement of shoes actually needed in Steart's division December 23, 1863.

Pairs.

Adams' brigade.......................................... 553

Clayton's brigade....................................... 512

Stovall's brigade....................................... 740

Strahl's brigade........................................ 325

Artillery battalion..................................... 142

Escort.................................................. 12

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Total................................................... 2,284

GENERAL ORDERS,

HEADQUARTERS,

No. 1.

Meridian, Miss., December 23, 1863.

The distinguished general who has been in charge of the Department of the Southwest* having been relieved, the undersigned, by order of His Excellency the President, assumes command.

While it is cause of regret that we are to lose the service of so experienced an officer, whose high military qualities have so long given a feeling of security to the department and commanded the confidence of the troops, yet as these services are to be transferred to a more important field, we shall all without doubt submit to the sacrifice with cheerful acquiescence.

In taking charge of the department, the lieutenant-general commanding is not insensible of the importance of the duties devolved upon him or the difficulties by which he is surrounded. The extent of the territory embraced in the command, its geographical position, its sea-ports, its river coast, its resources in men and material still untouched and available, constitute it a field of the highest importance to the Confederacy in its military aspects. Its difficulties and embarrassments, whatever they may be, are not inherent, nor are they insurmountable. Chargeable mainly to the fortunes of war, they are to be regarded as trials of our fidelity to the cause we have espoused, and tests of the sincerity and depth and earnestness of our

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*Designated by Confederate War Department January 28, 1864, as the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana.

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