HDQRS. 1ST DIV., 1ST A. C., ARMY OF THE WEST,
Fort Smith, November 10, 1862.
Commanding, &c., Van Buren:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of this morning just received. General Roane has given orders for Major burns with 600 men to go from Fort Coffee and join you, as requested. They are ordered to march all night. They will send on a messenger to inform you of their movements. The only difficulty is ammunition; they have but little. A requisition, but has not been returned. He hopes, however, to be able to render you some assistance.
M. L. BELL,
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Richmond, November 11, 1862.
Lieutenant General T. H. HOLMES,
Commanding Trans-Mississippi Department, Little Rock, Ark.:
GENERAL: The President directs me to say that if the state of your command will enable you to do so, he thinks it advisable that you should throw re-enforcements, say to the extent of 10,000 men, across the river at Vicksburg, to aid General Pemberton. With such assistance he might drive the enemy from West Tennessee and regain possession of such commanding points on the Mississippi River as would greatly aid you in preventing the descent of boats to pass up the rives of Arkansas. With Fort Pillow, Memphis, Helena, Vicksburg, and Port Hudson properly fortified and armed the President would see much more cleary the way of future operations in Missouri and Kentucky.
The detachment referred to is intended to be temporary, and to be restored to you upon a change of circumstances. In the mean time you will not fail to perceive that in maintaining the connection of your department with the East it will be rendering you a service than which none can be more important.
Very respectfully, &c.,
Adjutant and Inspector General.
NOVEMBER 12, 1862.
Honorable GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
DEAR SIR: I regret to notice that in your letter to General Holmes of October 27, a copy of which is before me, you suggest the propriety of his crossing the Mississippi and assuming command on the east side of the river. His presence on the west side is not less necessary now than heretofore, and will probably soon be more so.
The co-operation designed by me was in co-intelligent action on both sides of the river of such detachment of troops as circumstances might require and warrant. The withdrawal of the commander form the Trans-Mississippi Department for temporary duty elsewhere would have a disastrous effect, and was not contemplated by me. It was rather hoped that he would be able to retake Helena, which would greatly