must unite with the other troops of the Territory for its recovery. It is folly to organize, arm, equip, clothe, and feed at this late day troops for the defense of any particular locality [as the Choctaw Nation] and keep those troops bound down to that locality.
The best possible way of defending the Choctaw Nation is for every arms-bearing man of the nation to take the field with the other troops and aid when the time comes in expelling the enemy from the entire Territory. I hope you will explain these things, and if necessary get the influence and assistance of others.
To make distinctions by favoring one regiment in the way some propose-to turn out only on call whilst others are in the field-would dissatisfy those in the field and thus have a bad influence. I doubt not every company will cheerfully enter the Confederate service on a footing with the other troops, receiving the same clothing, pay, subsistence, &c., as the other troops. Should they refuse thus to be mustered I am unwilling to arm and pay and feed them unless so ordered by the department commander.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. MAXEY,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Shreveport, La., January 17, 1864.
GENERAL: In your letter of January 11 you write:
If the orders directing the chief quartermaster to take action intend that trade shall be established through my lines under his directions, I will at once stop my proceedings, &c.
I do not understand what orders to the chief quartermaster are referred to. When information and assurance were given me that supplies in limited quantities could be furnished by individuals through your lines near Plaquemine, Colonel O'Bannon was directed to refer the whole matter to your chief quartermaster, with directions and authority to obtain all the supplies he could in exchange for cotton. The whole matter was thus placed in charge of your chief quartermaster, without restrictions with regard to detail or mode of action. Contracts have been made by the chief quartermaster at department headquarters, with my approval. But two such contracts have been made looking to the introduction of supplies by the Red or Ouachita Rivers. This is clearly the right and duty of the chief quartermaster in looking ahead to meet the future wants and necessities of the department. The nature of these contracts and the names of the individuals will be furnished you as soon as the contracts are perfected.
The points at which supplies will be delivered on the river will be determined after consultation with yourself, and I cannot see how it is possible for any confusion to result in carrying out these arrangements.
I am, general, very respectfully,
[E. KIRBY SMITH,]