War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0276 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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MAY 3, 1861.

Hon. L. P. WALKER,

Secretary of War:

DEAR SIR: I received to-day from Mr. Tate, the president of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, the inclosed letter. I am induced to send it to you because of the importance of the matters referred to and the known business character and capacity of the writer. The objects are of great moment, and this must constitute my apology for pressing anything upon attention at a time when it is so constantly occupied.

I have the honor to be, yours, must respectfully,

ALEX. M. CLAYTON.

[Inclosure.]

CHARLESTON, S. C., May 1, 1861.

Hon. A. M. CLAYTON,

Montgomery, Ala.:

DEAR SIR: The importance of the questions involved and the interest I know you feel in their success induced me to address you now. I know you are near the President and can get his ear. There are no provisions in the South-not enough a full supply for sixty days. How are we to get it" The Government at Washington is making important arrangements to take Saint Louis and close the Mississippi effectually against us from Cairo up. This cuts off our last hope for a full supply of provisions and lead. By efficient action now we can save the State of Missouri to the South and keep open an outlet to an abundant supply of provisions. If we don't aid Missouri, and that quickly, we lose both and place our enemies in a position to concentrate an army in the Northwest unmolested, with plenty to eat and fully equipped overrun the Mississippi Valley. Governor Jackson is with us. His people are also with us, except at Saint Louis, where they are divided. The first thing we know we will be out of powder, lead, and percussion-caps. They can be had through Cuba alone at this time, and a blockade may be established that will cut off this means of supply. Our Government should act, and act with the most vigorous energy, to effect these objects at once. I am neither a politician nor a warrior. I have too much on my hands to engage actively in either. I can serve my country better in other ways. I hope you will not let our Government lost sight of the vast interests at stake in the Mississippi Valley, and by all means urge the keeping open the navigation of the Mississippi River and the possession of Saint Louis at all hazards. Your friend,

SAM. TATE.

MONTGOMERY, May 3, 1861.

Your dispatch of 1st to Mr. Benjamin just received. It is impossible now to say when additional troops be required. Until the call is made absolute there is no necessity to rendezvous them at New Orleans. My conditional requisitions were made simply that you might have companies organized in your State ready to respond. Let me know what number are assembled in New Orleans.

L. P. WALKER.