CHARLESTON, S. C., February 9, 1863.
Hon. C. J. VILLERE,
MY DEAR CHARLES: Your favor of the 2d instant has been received. I agree with you that our country is getting rapidly exhausted and that few conscripts have joined our worn-out standards, but I still hope for success. The people and the States have a latent power and energy which make up, when the hour of trial arrives, for the total inefficiency, or inertness, if you prefer, of the Confederate Government. The latter instead of being an aid to the former, is more a dead weight. Look at the condition of our troops in the field, at the number of conscripts still at home. Would not, could not, a proper and vigorous system have prevented the evils complained of? Assuredly they would. Why is it that after a war of two years we still have but one foundry in the country, and that one near the enemy, where the largest pieces of artillery can be cast? What would have become of us if Richmond had been taken last summer? Where would we have obtained 10-inch columbiads and 7-inch rifled guns if that misfortune had befallen us? Why have we not more iron gun-boats afloat? At this moment there are five here on the stocks unfinished for the want, some of engines and some of iron planting. Why have you not committees investigating all these things and making faithful reports of them without fear or favor, but not like the one which investigated, or rather pretended to investigate, the shortcomings of the Commissary Department last December a year ago at Manassas, where neither papers nor persons were sent for, but the sponge passed blandly over the absurdities and gross neglects of that poorest of all apologies for a chief commissary of so many large armies in the field as we have, and in a country so poorly supplied as ours. The best and most successful grocer in the country ought to have been selected for that difficult position; but who is he that was appointed? Ask any of the members of Congress or of the Army from this State and they will tell you, if they fear not to express their opinions.
You refer to an armistice. Nothing of the kind must be thought of. Action, action, and action is what we want. An armistice would entirely demoralize our troops, who would think the war over, and every soldier and officer would wish to go home to see their wives, children, and negroes, horses, hogs, and chickens, &c. ; whereas the enemy, having nothing of the kind to look to, would at any time be prepared to take the offensive. Only pass strong resolutions offering peace to the Northwestern States, with a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, whenever they shall separate from the rest of the United States. They may not accept it at first, but they will think about it and discuss it. It will be a beacon for those who are tired of the war to steer by, and finally, after one or more severe battles, will make up their minds that we are their best friends, and they will act as we desire. What in the world is the policy of the Government? Why can't we have a Cavour to shape it and steer the ship of state through the breakers? Why have we not minists of Spain and Brazil, our two natural allies? Mr. James B. Clay has just passed here, and exile to Cuba. Why is he not sent on account of his name to one of those two countries, &c.? I am glad to see by the telegraph you have stopped flogging in the Army. I had done so long ago. That system will not do with volunteers. The service must be elevated in their eyes and not degraded. But adieu.
G. T. BEAUREGARD.