Bluff; they are instructed to prepare supplies and transportation to take the field without delay; Colonel Pyron commands the brigade, about 2,000 bayonets. The brigade from the Indian country should soon commence arriving at this point; boats have been sent to Jefferson for their transportation. The brigade is reported but partly armed, and will, I think, be under 2,000 effective. General Walker's division, at your suggestion, was ordered by steamer from Monroe to La Croix Ferry. I have not since heard of its movements. In evacuation Alexandria you, I presume, notified General Walker, and gave him the necessary instructions for concentrating with you at once point above on Red River.
General Holmes telegraphs that Marmaduke has been driven back from Missouri and that the enemy are at Jacksonport, Ark. The Indian country is also threatened by a force from Kansas. It may become necessary to abandon the Arkansas Valley and concentrate our whole force for the recovery of Lower Louisiana. This when the waters fall with be a practicable operation.
The force which has been ordered to your support will, I hope, be sufficient to enable you until that time to maintain the defensive, holding the country above Natchitoches.
The 11-inch gun arrived here by boat this morning. I cannot learn by whose direction it was sent, and think, with the 9-inch, it should be in position at Grand Ecore. I have ordered them both, with a battery of field pieces found here, to be placed in position 2 miles below the town. Shot and ammunition are being prepared for the two heavy guns, and they can be shipped from here by the 20th, with 200 rounds of ammunition, to any point you may desire below.
I have ordered a company of Colonel Lane's regiment to be put on courier duty between this point and Nathitoches. They are well mounted, though unarmed, and will do well for this duty. Should you think it probable you may be forced to fall back from the position at Grand Ecore, it will be well to provide for obstructing the river between that point and this. In the narrows the river is for many miles not over 40 yards wide, and could be readily obstructed by felling trees or by sinking a boat in the channel where the fire of sharpshooters would prevent or materially delay the passage of gunboats.
Write me constantly-if too much occupied, through your staff-and keep me posted in regard to both your and the enemy's movements. I have had but little information officially, whilst every boat brings reports and rumors innumerable.
Respectfully, yours, &c.,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT TRANS-MISSISSIPPI,
Shreveport, May 12, 1863.
Major General RICHARD TAYLOR:
GENERAL: I ma directed by the lieutenant-general commanding to inclose a communication just received from Major-General Walker and to communicate the following information in regard to the movements of his division.
The troops were disembarked at Monroe. General Hawes' brigade left Monroe in advance on the 10th instant at daylight, Colonel Randal's brigade following them immediately.