his virtues, but a younger man should command the District of Arkansas, where boldness, energy, and activity, with prudence, are essential to success. Price is not equal to the command, and I would regard it unfortunate were he to succeed to it. Magruder has ability and great energy; he acts by impulse, commits follies, and has an utter disregard for law; he has no faculty for drawing around him good men, and his selection of agents is almost always unfortunate; he has no administrative abilities, though he is active and can do a large amount of work; he would be a better commander of a corps, though no reliance could be placed upon his obedience to an order unless it chimed in with his own plans and fancies. I have spoken freely, but I honestly believe some changes should take place and able supports be given me if this department is to weather the storm which is soon to break over it. I want a chief of staff of head and administrative abilities, in whom I can confide the conduct of affairs when necessity calls me away. If the President would appoint Dr. S. A. Smith, my medical director, brigadier-general and chief of my staff, I could absent myself from headquarters, confident the department would be administered by one whose experience, ability, and administrative qualifications were equal to the task. I know not whom to ask for. Should a major-general be sent me, Cleburne, Buckner, or Stevenson are good soldiers; the two latter I know have fine administrative abilities.
I am sorry that the funds intended by the Secretary of the Treasury for this department had not been rapidly pushed across the river before the water rose; the difficulty of crossing is now great, and will increase as the season advances. We are now embarrassed for the want of funds. Sixteen million dollars sent by the West Indies, under charge of Mr. Thayer, a Treasury agent, about the 1st of November, has just been seized at Monterey with the tacit consent of the Mexican authorities. I have inclosed all the papers, with my action in the case, to the President. I thank you for you advice, which I not only appreciate but will benefit by. I thank you also for your promise of a cordial support. I shall strive honestly and conscientiously to discharge my duty with only the interest of the Confederacy at heart. You, I know, will do likewise. Should you lose confidence in me and ask my removal, I shall bear you no ill-will. The commander of this department has no bed of roses, nor is it a field in which laurels are to be gained or reputation made; the means and resources of the Government will be centered with the Armies of Tennessee and Virginia. We here will be left to struggle against immense odds, as we best may, with the feeble resources at our command. I do not shrink from the task, neither do I despair, yet I feel the only recompense the commander of this department can ever reasonably expect will be the consciousness of having discharged his duty with purity and rectitude of purpose. The people of this department cannot too strongly expres their obligations to Dr. Mitchell and yourself for the perseverance and energy with which you have fought for and secured its interests. The arms have not yet been crossed; 1,400 have been officially reported as crossed at Catfish Point, Ark., and I have been informed unofficially that 9,000 have been secured at or near Water Proof.
Very respectfully, truly, yours,
E. KIRBY SMITH,