War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0793 Chapter XVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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SPECIAL ORDERS,

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISS. DIST., Numbers 81.

Dept. Numbers 2, Van Buren, Ark., March 19, 1862.

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VI. The First Division of the Army of the West, under command of Major General Sterling Price, Confederate Army, will be ready to march on the 25th instant.

The commanders of brigades will take active measures to place their commands in efficient order. They will at once make requisition for necessary supplies of ordnance and subsistence for fifteen days, for transportation and for other quartermaster stores.

The First Brigade will move on the 25th instant, the Artillery Brigade will move on the 26th instant, the Second Brigade will move on the 27th instant, the Third and Fourth Brigades will move on the 28th instant.

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VIII. All troops now attached to the army who were called out for the emergency will be relieved from further duty with it at once and repair to their homes, where it is desired they will immediately organize into companies for the Confederate service, and report to Jacksonport, Ark., for further orders.

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By order of Major General Earl Van Dorn:

D. H. MAURY,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

JACKSON, TENN., March 210, 1862.

General WALKER, Madrid Bend:

All of the transports you have above New Madrid not absolutely necessary to you, which are cut off, you will sink on the flats or bars in the neighborhood of the island, so as to obstruct the channel. If not cut off, dispose of them to best advantage.

L. POLK.

JACKSON, March 20, 1862.

General J. P. McCOWN:

You will, if practicable, send a regiment, two pieces of field artillery, and some cavalry down the Tennessee side of the river as far as the enemy have sent troops on the Missouri side, and take a position in his front wherever formed, to prevent his making reconnaissance on this side of the river. The gunboats must co-operate with you. I again repeat my conviction that it is of the highest importance to hold Island 10 and Madrid Bend to the last extremity. It is the key of the Mississippi Valley.

L. POLK.

JACKSON, March 20, 1862.

General J. P. McCOWN, Island 10:

I have just heard that the enemy are attempting to cut a canal from the Mississippi River into Reelfoot Lake above the island. It is proper