Colonel D. B. Culberson, adjutant and inspector general of the State, who bears this letter to you, is authorized to confer further with you in reference to them.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
[Inclosure No. 6.] EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Austin, March 19, 1864.
Major General J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER:
SIR: Your communication, of date 14th instant, is at land. I have replied fully to the communications referred to me and I suppose that ere this you have received the replies. As it is my duty to exercise my judgment and discretion to some extent in complying with your request in sending to the field all the State troops, embracing all up to fifty years of age, I respectfully request to be informed by you what your estimate of the number of the enemy on the coast and threatening it is, and what their position. I wish to know what number of troops you will have left under your command on the coast after complying with the orders of General Smith. I would respectfully ask what movements of the enemy in Louisiana require this State to be deprived of all the troops under your command and the defense of the State devolved upon the militia. I desire to know what number of men you can arm and what number you need. I ask these questions, general, with reference to what I conceive to be the condition of the country and its best interests in every point of view. Every man necessary actually should be in the field, and every one not necessary should be at home producing for the army. I must, sir, be permitted to say to you that the question of supplies is becoming a very serious one and must be considered as far as the immediate defense of the State will permit.
I say what I know to be true, and my anxiety on the subject will excuse my calling it to your attention so often. No man who cannot be armed should be in the field; his energies ought to be directed to different pursuits until arms can be procured. Should the enemy ascend Red River high up in force they drive our armies from Louisiana and Arkansas back upon Texas must feed the Trans-Mississippi Department. It occurs to me that if the demonstration from the enemy is in that direction their force upon the coast is not likely to be large. Of this, however, no one can be certain. My views on these subjects will be fully presented to you by Colonel Culberson, adjutant and inspector general of the State. He will also confer fully with you as to the organization and disposition of them, to remain at home for two or three months and attend to their agricultural pursuits, the benefits to the State and the Trans-Mississippi Department would be incalculable.
This would be considered in making a call for them, for their time is of more value at home now than at any other season of the year. I am hastening the organization of the State troops with all the expedition in m power. I am also encouraging the conscript element to volunteer, with the expectation that if they do so freely those not liable to conscription may [be] permitted to remain at home for a time for the purposes indicated. They are in many counties volunteering,