HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ALA., MISS., AND EAST LA.,
Meridian, Miss., July 23, 1864.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
SIR: I take th liberty of communicating with you on a subject which probably I have no right to, but prompted by my desire for our speedy success and independence I am not reluctant in so doing. While the enemy have almost entirely withdrawn from the Trans- Mississippi Department, being compelled to do so by the many reverses they have met with in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, I would respectfully suggest that the armies of Generals Magruder, Taylor, and Price be massed under the command of General E. Kirby Smith (only leaving commands at such points as are exposed to immediate attacks from the Gulf),and with this army go through Arkansas and Missouri, capturing Franklin and Saint Louis, at which point they can cross the Mississippi River into Kentucky, go along the Ohio River,subsisting on the rich country they will pass through, take Louisville, Ky., thence down to Nashville, destroying th vast mount of commissary and quartermaster stores at that place. From thence they can move on Chattanooga, cutting off all of Sherman's supplies,a nd necessarily, with General Hood in front and this army in rear, we will be able to capture the whole of th Yankee army under Sherman. This may seem a wild plan, and if Your Excellency considers it too arduous for infantry, the command can be mounted very readily in the three States named, Texas, Arkansas,nd Missouri, and recruited in Kentucky and Tennessee. Hoping that this will meet with some consideration,
I am, very respectfully, Your Excellency's obedient servant,
J. HENRY BEHAN,
Captain and Assistant Commissary of Subsistence.
AUGUST 15, 1864.
General Bragg,for his perusal and attention (two inclosures)*.
HDQRS. ARMIES OFTHE CONFEDERATE STATES,
August 18, 1864.
Respectfully returned to His Excellency the President.
I have maturely considered this plan. It is very comprehensive. It might now be contemplated in the Trans- Mississippi Department, but I have grave apprehensions that it is almost too much for our limited means ont his side.
AUGUST 20, 1864.
Secretary of War,for his consideration, &c.
The last communication from General Smith would not encourage the belief that he was able to effect the very desirable results indicated as attainable in the Trans- Mississippi Department.
*See Behan to Davis, July 25, and 27, pp. 1024, 1026.