The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918

Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department, 1863-1865 279
THE POWERS OF THE COMMANDER OF THE CONFED-
ERATE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
1863-1865
FLORENCE ELIZABETHT HOLLADAY
1. The Organization of the Trans-Mississippi Department
During the last two years of the war of secession, the situation
in that part of the Confederacy which lay west of the Mississippi
was without a parallel in the history of modern warfare. A vast
territory, thinly populated, undeveloped, practically without rail-
roads, cut off from its principal source of military supplies, hav-
ing but precarious and infrequent communication with the gen-
eral government to which it must look for direction in the des-
perate struggle for independence, it was thrust back upon its own
resources and forced to acquiesce in a. governmental arrangement
of an unusual design. By common consent, under pressure of
necessity, a military chieftain assumed the functions, in large
part, of the president and cabinet and attempted to carry on
the government under constitutional forms without resort to mar-
tial law. The conditions which brought about this extraordinary
situation, the problems which beset the head of this government,
the functions which he assumed and exercised, and the relations
which he sustained to the local civil governments and to the dis-
tant and all but inaccessible government at Richmond, constitute
an important but hitherto neglected part of the history of the
Confederacy.
Though the Confederate government was organized quickly, it
was hardly in operation before the war was in actual progress.
Among the many questions which pressed upon the Executive and
Congress was that of the organization of military departments.
At first the territory west of the Mississippi was divided into
several departments; then it became a district, the Trans-Mis-
sissippi, of the Western Department.1 This district was too large
'Officdal Records, War of Rebellion, Series I, Vol. VII, .826. Hereafter
in this paper these Records will be referred to as Off. Recs., -and when
Series I is cited, no series number will be indicated. The volumes will
be referred to in large Roman, the parts in small Romam, and the pages
in Arabic.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/. Accessed July 28, 2014.