Jefferson Davis to James M. Howry
Richmond Va. Aug 27. 1863.
Your letter of the 25th ult:, brought by Col: Looney, was laid before me a few days ago. I am glad to have received such full information as to your views concerning the affairs of the country, and shall always be gratified to hear from you.
The disasters in Mississippi were both great and unexpected to me. I had thought that the troops sent to the State, added to those already there, made a force large enough to accomplish the destruction of Grant's army. That no such result followed may have been the effect of mismanagement, or it may have been that it was unattainable. An investigation of the causes of the failure is now in progress; though, as the misfortunes have already come upon us, it would afford me but little satisfaction to know that they resulted from bad Generalship and were not inevitable.
Recent events near their own homes have been calculated to produce in some minds the feeling of gloom you speak of. But I have not yet seen cause to waver in the conviction to which I have frequently given expression, that, if our people now show as much fortitude as we are entitled to expect from those who display such conspicuous gallantry in the field, we shall certainly beat the enemy and secure our independence. As some weeks have elapsed since your letter was written, and the progress of the enemy has not been such as was apprehended, I trust that the people of the State have in a measure recovered from their depression.
The recital of your losses during the war pains me. But the firmness with which you bear them-, and the zeal in the country's behalf which characterizes you and all the members of your family, are what I had expected -- as well as the loyalty & true=heartedness of the women of the land, upon which you remark.
I beg you to present my compliments to Mrs Howry, with assurances of my admiration for her patriotic devotion. With many thanks for the kind & friendly tone of your letter, and with the best wishes for your welfare, I am, very respectfully & truly your friend & fellow citizen
From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 9, pp. 357-58. Transcribed from the original in the Library of Congress, Howry Papers.