Mississippi River are well known. And I am informed by officers of intelligence and capacity from the Trans-Mississippi Department that by its operations alone can the troops in that department be economically and well fed. It is worthy of remark that the system established by General Smith in its stead is just that which was prevalent on this side of the river until April 15, 1863, and was then given up as inadequate for the collection of all the supplies in the country.
By the operations of this order the officer who had been selected by the Commissary-General for the management of the commissariat in Texas, because of his long experience and intimate acquaintance with the country and people, is removed, and there and elsewhere in that department men put in charge who are not know to have any other qualification than that of occupying an illegal position on the staff of the generals commanding the several military districts. Major Sackfield Maclin, then an officer of the U. S. Army, was at the commencement of the war in Texas. He at once entered the Confederate service, and exhibited the greatest zeal and fearlessness of personal responsibility in the advancement of its interests. Having public funds in his possession, he unhesitatingly made use of them for the purpose of the new Government and was prominent in securing U. S. property for the Confederacy. He for a long time discharged the duties of commissary, quartermaster and ordnance officer in the State of Texas, and was finally relieved of all, save those of commissary. When the new system was inaugurated he was appointed chief purchasing commissary of subsistence for that State.
General Magruder, while in command of that district, without authority, relieved him and appointed N. B. Pearce chief commissary. On the application of the Commissary-General, paragraph XIII, Special Orders, Numbers 163, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, July 11, 1863, and paragraph XXV, Special Orders, Numbers 250, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, October 21, 1863, were issued, restoring him to his position. The latter reaffirmed the former and annulled "orders conflicting therewith from any source whatever." I now renew my recommendation that Major S. Maclin be appointed commissary of subsistence, with rank of lieutenant-colonel. When General E. K. Smith assumed command of the Trans-Mississippi Department he took with him, without authority apparent in orders, Major W. H. Thomas, commissary of subsistence, who had been with him in Tennessee. The Commissary-General received a letter from Major Thomas, written soon after his arrival in the Trans-Mississippi Department, saying that he intended asking General Smith to assign him to the duty of collecting supplies. In reply the Commissary-General wrote him, May 6, 1863, telling him that the new purchasing system then just inaugurated must be carried out in the Trans-Mississippi Department, and appointing him chief purchaser of commissaries of subsistence for West Louisiana. He inclosed the circular of April 15, 1863, approved by the Secretary of War, establishing the purchasing system, and directed him to show both the letter and circular to General Smith. The Commissary-General wrote General Smith at the same time referring to his letter to Major Thomas. On the 7th of July, 1863, the Commissary-General again wrote Major Thomas informing him of his appointment as chief commissary of subsistence for West Louisiana, and on the 11th July, 1863, the Commissary-General again wrote him asking why he forwarded his communications through General Smith, and assuming that his letter of May 6, 1863, had never been received, again told him of his appointment. On 4th November, 1863, Major Thomas wrote