Today in History:

1006 Series I Volume XLI-II Serial 84 - Price's Missouri Expedition Part II


In view especially of the critical condition of affairs on the Mississippi River,the want of arms becomes a subject for serious consideration and occasions me much anxiety. The State, during the war, has been supplying the Confederate authorities with arms, as well as with munitions of war generally, which she had accumulated for her defense under special appropriation for that purpose. She has not now, consequently, requisition of Major- General Magruder to provide against contingent reverses on the banks of the Mississippi.

The State, too, has very recently furnished the Confederate authority taken beyond our limits by our volunteer soldiery. We have men willing and patriotic enough to take the field in defense of their homes had we but arms to place in their hands.

I am satisfied Your Excellency does not underrate the importance of Texas to the Confederacy, especially to that portion of it west of the Mississippi River. Were it overrun its loss would draw after it that of Louisiana and Arkansas, for Texas is the granary which nourishes the armies of the Trans- Mississippi Department. How important, then, that our every energy should be directed to its preservation. We need but arms; with an adequate supply we will battle manfully, and, I trust, with success. The Confederate Government,it is reported, have on hand a large quantity of arms; I trust, therefore, Your Excellency will, if practicable, and they can be spared, forward to the Department of Texas a sufficiency for its defense.

I beg also to call the attention of Your Excellency to the system in operation in this department, by the working of which conscripts are withheld from the ranks and employed as teamsters and drivers of beef cattle; they are also furloughed and employed by the Government contractors and agents. Those thus employed are supposed to number about 5,000 men, and this at a time when about on- half the troops previously retained in Texas for its defense have been marched to Louisiana, where thy are now operating.

The force in the State being thus greatly reduced, it is of moment that its strength be increased by placing these men in the ranks. The service would not thereby suffer, since they could be replaced by negroes, controlled by a sufficiency of white wagon- masters and overseers. I know of my own experience that they make most excellent teamsters and stock- drivers. The Confederate Government can control their services by virtue of the impressment act. I trust Your Excellency will direct that these conscript teamsters, beef- drivers, &c., be placed in and restored to the ranks and their places supplied by negroes.

Very respectfully, Your Excellency's most obedient servant,


[First indorsement.]

AUGUST 13, 1864.

Respectfully referred by the President to the honorable Secretary of War.


Colonel and Aide- de- Camp.

[Second indorsement.]

AUGUST 14, 1864.

This Department has been keenly alive to the importance of supplying arms to the Trans- Mississippi Department, and has made in every