tively to Generals Lee and Johnston for their information and action. You have already been informed that your department is no longer under my command, and that you must henceforth receive your orders direct from General Lee and the War Department. The Army of Tennessee is now commanded by General Johnston. I can safety state, I think, that from present appearances no portion of that army can be returned in time to aid you in the defense of Mobile, and, I fear, of even the Alabama Valley. The last of those troops are now passing this place on their way to Raleigh and Goldsborough. They have been on the march ever since they left meridian to get only this far. You can therefore calculate when they would reach you if they could be spared from here one month hence. I regret to hear that the furloughed men are so slow in returning. The brigades of Sharp and Brantly were allowed to go on furlough because, as you will recollect, it was represented to General Hood and myself that they could get to Meridian nearly in time to follow the other brigades of the corps after having had the opportunity to refit at home, and that General Hood having granted the same privileges to the Tennessee troops, it would create dissatisfaction if the like favor was not extended to the Mississippi troops passing so near to their homes. My opinions that (as in the days of the Revolution of '76) desertion from the army is now an epidemic. they deserted by hundreds from the cars on their way here. The same complaint reaches us from Lee's army. Only an active campaign and some brilliant success can put a strop to that disorder. I hope that the return of General Johnston to the command of the Army of Tennessee will also have that tendency. I fear that the Government will not be able at present to send you the funds you call for, but every exertion will be made to comply with your request at as early a period as practicable. I advise the removal of everything valuable from the points you name to Macon, which, probably, will be the last place in the Confederacy that will be attacked by the enemy.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
P. S.-I inclose you herewith a slip from the Richmond Whig of the 4th instant containing some Northern news, which, doubtless, give the future plan of campaign of the enemy in your department.
G. T. B.
MERIDIAN, March 9, 1865.
Hodge defeated enemy on 7th near Baton Rouge, capturing number of wagons and mules. Grierson, from Memphis, has advanced toward Tupelo. A part of Forrest's command will attack him to-day if he does not retreat. Cavalry reported going below from Vicksburg. Twelve transports have landed troops at Saint Mark's, Fla. Expect to hear of advance from Decatur on Selma every day. General Beauregard reports from Charlotte on 27th Sherman across Wateree, between Camden and Lancaster; supposes he is making for Wilmington. I see no necessity for sending off your family until threatened with immediately investment. I go to Selma and Montgomery soon as roads are open.