- In researching on-line I caem across a very good study entilted THE
POWERS OF THE COMMANDER OF THE CONFEDERATE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI
DEPARTMENT,1863-1865 at the Texas State Historical Association by
FLORENCE ELIZABETH HOLLADAY.
It is interesting the great power that Edmund Kirby Smith had.
In a quote from a report during the convention to decide these
powers, I realized to an extent, E.K. Smith was not only virtually
the "President' of the Department but held cabinet level powers.
"Beleaguered as we are by the enemy," the report continued, "the
commanding general can neither transmit reports nor receive orders
from the capital. Hence the safety of our people requires that he
assume at once and exercise the discretion, power, and prerogatives
of the President of the Confederate States and his subordinates in
reference to all matters involving the defense of his department.
The isolated condition and imminent peril of this department demand
this policy, and will not permit delay; and we believe that all may
be done without violating the spirit of the constitution and laws of
the Confederate States, and without assuming dictatorial powers."
It was thus agreed that the general should assume war powers in this
department, for the right to exercise the discretion, power, and
prerogatives of the President and his subordinates in the defense of
a department in imminent peril could hardly be less than war powers.
I also find it interesting that Smith had arranged the convention to
head off what he believed might be a secession of the department
from the Confederacy.
The link to the article is found at
Any further conversation and input into this ubject is greatly
appreciated as I believe this is a great overlooked part of the ACW.