The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918 Page: 359
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Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department, 1863-1865 359
uting the necessary supplies, manufacturing ordnance and other
needed munitions, were all overcome, to a. great extent at least,
through his organization of the army and the operations of his
The civil powers exercised by General Smith were not expressly
delegated by act of Congress, and they were assumed reluctantly
and used with caution. Only those necessary to the strengthening
of his military administration were used at all. Until the organ-
ization of the treasury agency in the department, he practically
controlled the finances; he assumed responsibility for the expendi-
tures, and he controlled the collection of the taxes of various
kinds; with the consent of the state authorities, he took control
of the cotton and, to obtain this commodity and through it the
necessary supplies, he assumed control of the trade. To secure
the greatest benefit from this trade, he sent agents abroad to make
his purchases, and he despatched representatives to Mexico. to se-
cure the co-operation of the French and Mexican authorities in
order to keep. open the only door through which his products and
supplies could pass. In administering this department under these
peculiar conditions, he was beset with many difficulties and was
often forced for the sake of harmony with the state authorities to
agree to compromises which a commander, exercising only the usual
powers of such an officer, could not have considered. He became,
in fact, the agent of the general government exercising the func-
tions of the president and those of the members of the cabinet so
far as such functions were necessary for the administration and
defense of the department.
While not dangerous in the hands of a man of his integrity and
high principles, the care with which these powers were screened,
even under the tensest stress of circumstances, is eloquent of the
strong attachment of the South to constitutional forms of govern-
ment. It was in a large measure due.to the ability, patriotism,
and untiring zeal of the commanding general in the use of these
extraordinary powers that the Trans-Mississippi Department did
not break down of its own weight long before the surrender of
the Confederate armies cast of the river.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918, periodical, 1918; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/m1/365/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.