HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, August 3, 1864.
General E. KIRBY SMITH,
Commanding Department of the Trans-Mississippi:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication* oft he 1st instant (Numbers 3537) and to request permission, for the present, not to publish your address to the solders of Lieutenant-General Taylor's command.+ Its publication, I fear, would be fatal to the success of the contemplated movement. The rumors in regard to it now in circulation will doubtless die away in a few days, unless confirmed by an official announcement. When secrecy is no longer possible or necessary the appeal you make to the patriotism of the men will, I doubt nor, have a happy effect. I am using and shall continue to use the whole strength of the district to bear upon the undertaking and hope to secure its success. But from its nature success ought not to be counted upon or great disappointment felt at its failure. You are too well acquainted with the difficulties not to appreciate this. My long connection with my old division and my intimate acquaintance with its officers and men, lead me to hope that I shall have no serious difficulty in securing the prompt obedience to the President's order. I cannot speak so confidently in regard to less disciplined commands, and fear that when the movement is known the strength of General Taylor's command will be fearfully reduced by desertion. In order to remove one serious and real cause of complaint and dissatisfaction I cannot urge upon you too strongly the necessity of paying the troops before you undertake to send them across th Mississippi. They have now eleven months' pay due, and as many of them are men with families it is but natural they should desire to have at least a portion of their pay to leave for the support o their wives and children during their absence. In regard to the staff officers applied for by General Taylor, while I do not desire to interpose any objection to his having all the officers necessary for the performance of staff duties, yet the administration of this district absolutely requires that some of the officers named should remain here, at least fort he present. In regard to Major Mason, I cannot consent to give him up as he properly belongs to my own staff, and besides his services cannot be dispensed with here.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. WALKER,
[AUGUST 3, 1864.- For Special Orders, Numbers 193, Trans- Mississippi Department, assigning staff officers to duty with General Taylor, see Part I, p. 96.]
[AUGUST 3, 1864.- For Boggs to Walker, relative to transfer of Thom,as' brigade across the Mississippi, see Part I, p. 96.]
*See Part I, p. 94.
+See p. 1035.