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[269] importance of restoring the prestige of the army, and averting the injurious and dispiriting results that must attend a season of inactivity, but from the necessity of reoccupying the country, upon the supplies of which the proper subsistence of our armies materially depends.

Of the immediate measures to be adopted in attaining this end, the full importance of which I am sure you appreciate, you must be the best judge, after due inquiry and consideration on the spot shall have matured an opinion. It is my desire that you should communicate fully and freely with me concerning your proposed plan of action, that all the assistance and cooperation may be most advantageously afforded that it is in the power of the Government to render.

Trusting that your health may be preserved, and that the arduous and responsible duties you have undertaken may be successfully accomplished, I remain

Very respectfully and truly yours, (Signed) Jefferson Davis.

I was unable then, as now, to imagine any military object for which this letter could have been written, especially by one whose time was supposed to be devoted to the most important concerns of government. The President could not have thought that I was to be taught the moral and material condition of the army around me by him, from the observations of his aide-de-camp, who had never seen military service, instead of learning them by my own. Nor could he have believed that the army

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