November 21, 1863, Shreveport, La.,
Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith to Brigadier General Henry E. McCulloch

Shreveport, La., November 21, 1863

Commanding Northern Sub-District of Texas:

GENERAL: Fearing that you may misunderstanding the spirit of my letter to you, written by Lieutenant Cunninghan, on the 19th instant, I wish to assure you that I have every confidence in your judgment. I know the sincerity and patriotic zeal with which you are laboring in the great cause of our independence, and I feel you will, on careful thought, accord with me in my views.

In Major Bryan's letter of the 2d October, I promised to sustain you, but with the reservation that the deserters from other commands could not be permanently organized by you. You expected an immediate invasion, and, under that exigency, I consented to a temporary organization for your defense, but stated that the men were liable to be ordered away when the emergency passed.

That is now the case, and the deserters from Taylor's and Magruder's commands should be immediately sent to their regiments, where in one case they are daily skirmishing with superior numbers, and in the other threatened with invasion. You may retain the deserters from the commands east of the Mississippi in temporary organizations till ordered to their regiments from these headquarters.

You will, with myself, general, see the bad policy of retaining these men in any organization near their homes. Their disaffection is beyond doubt, and I believe the information that they intend joining the Federals in spring to be correct. They should be put in service with their regiments and as far from their homes as possible.

Should it be necessary to use force, you are authorized to call upon Colonel Burleson, who will be instructed to cooperate with you under your orders.

Quantrill could be efficiently employed in this duty, but I think those misguided men will go peaceably to their commands.

Yours, &c.,




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