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[115] cannot expect to receive a first instalment from Mexico under three or four months, and even should General Smith consent to furnish us any out of his supply (which I have again asked him for) we cannot receive them before about the middle of March, and to obtain any at all now within the period named, a proper officer must be in Texas to conduct business.

I have also proposed that I shall be provided with means and authority to procure supplies and animals from the enemy's lines, which I have every reason to feel assured can be done to a large extent. I am informed by my officers, certainly reliable, that horses and mules can be obtained deliverable in Mississippi, payable in cotton on the following terms, viz: first class artillery horses for 600 pounds of cotton; second class artillery for 500 pounds; and third class for 400 pounds; but to do this, my officers must have the cotton in hand so as to receive the animals and deliver the cotton at such times and places as opportunity offers.

In Virginia the prices asked, payable in gold, are for first class $60, and it is thought that two thousand can be obtained in that way. The number that can be obtained in Mississippi in a space of two or three months is put down at (2,000) two thousand.

I have before informed you, that according to my information, there will be needed for the armies of the Confederate States at least six thousand horses, and four thousand five hundred mules. The number to be procured in the Confederate States east of the Mississippi by impressment depends on the decision which may be made, as to the quantity of animals the farmers will be allowed to keep, as essential to their operations. I estimate the supply to be obtained from all sources (provided I am furnished means) not to exceed (5,000) five thousand animals on this side of the Mississippi. This leaves a deficit of (5,500) five thousand five hundred to fill my estimate.

If the horses are not supplied, the military operations are checked and may be frustrated. If the farmers are stripped of a portion of the animals essential to the conduct of their agricultural operations, there must be a corresponding reduction of supplies of food for man and horse. Convinced, as I am, that the best and only means of procuring the needed supply of animals are those that I have indicated, feeling deeply the pressure of the demands made and to be made on me to furnish such supplies, dreading the consequences of a failure to meet such calls, and fearing that I may be exposed to censure for such failure, I respectfully urge that I may be immediately put in possession of the necessary means to carry into effect the plans for providing the necessary animals, than which I confess myself unable to suggest any other; or that, in case it shall be decided that my plans are impracticable, and the means I ask for cannot be furnished, that I may be relieved from the duty I am now performing, and some one be appointed in my stead, who can dispense with what I consider, and have stated to be indispensable, to enable me to successfully perform the duty.

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