Should the investigation in Mexico result, as I believe it will, in the complete exoneration of Major Russell, he will probably be one of the best selections that could be made in the latter capacity. I do not mean to limit you in the number of agents you may employ. The workings of your office must determine that with you. Major Lee, until you are satisfied that you have found a better, should remain chief purchasing agent in Mexico of ordnance and ordnance stores. In this connection I must state, colonel, that I feel some alarm and great solicitude as regards ny introduction of ordnance supplies. There is a lamentable deficiency in articles absolutely necessary to the maintenance of our troops in the field. One large battle or the loss of our army supply trains, to either the Army of Arkansas or Louisiana would leave us without powder and but little lead. The introduction of powder, niter, lead, and ordnance stores, the want of which is marked "pressing" on the list, should be effected without delay and at any hazard, whenever our communications with Mexico are resumed.
Your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., March 4, 1864.
Lieutenant General T. H. HOLMES,
Commanding District Arkansas:
GENERAL: I am by the lieutenant-general commanding to inclose you a copy of a communication* from Governor Flanagin with reference to the interruption of the State elections in Northwestern Arkansas. The lieutenant-general reiterates his desire, expressed in a communication of the 24th ultimo on his subject, that you will do all in your power consistent with the interest of the service to forward the views of the Governor. If it is practicable to send cavalry, as he suggests, and prevent the holding of these election great good may be accomplished. The commanding general comments this subject to your earnest consideration.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.
Demopolis, March 4, 1864.
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: Many difficulty having been experienced in crossing arms over the Mississippi River to the department of General Smith, I have proposed a plan for accomplishing that object to the general, of which the accompanying copy of a letter+ to him is the explanation. It is forwarded for the information of te Department, and for any suggestion it may deem proper in regard to it.
Respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
* Not found.
+ See of February 7, p. 947.