War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0025 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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In August I received reliable information that expeditions were organizing at Helena, Vicksburg, and New Orleans, under orders of General Grant, having Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas for their objective points. I soon obtained corroborative proof that General Grant's whole disposable command was being employed in these preparations, and that an effective force of at least 80,000 would be at once thrown upon the department. A prearranged and predetermined plan for the occupation of the whole Trans-Mississippi Department, with all the machinery for State governments under Federal rule, was being perfected and carried into execution. Every effort was made with my limited means to prepare for the coming storm. The effective force at my disposal within the department was less than 30,000, and scattered from Fort Smith, Ark., to the Rio Grande. No concentration could be made without the sacrifice of vital interests. General Holmes, at Little Rock, and General Taylor, in Lower Louisiana, the two commands nearest each other and most easily concentrated, were each opposed by a superior force of the enemy, and were separated by 700 miles of land travel, over a country which, with our limited means of transportation, presented almost physical obstacles tot eh march of a large body of troops. Depots of provisions were collected on the lines of communication, and arrangements were made so that, in the event of falling back before superior forces, the enemy could be drawn into the interior, a rapid concentration effected, and his advancing column taken in detail. Appeal were made to the people, and the Governors urged to increase and prepare their State organizations for immediate service. Some 8,000 men responded to the call in Texas; a few companies were raised in Arkansas, but little or nothing was effected in Louisiana. General price was re-enforced by a brigade of infantry from Northern Louisiana. General Taylor was directed to concentrate his whole disposable force in the neighborhood of Alexandria, to march in either direction, as the developments of the enemy's plans might demand. in the latter part of August the advance from Helena was made, and Little Rock was occupied by the enemy on the 10th of September. General Price, though he overestimated the force opposed to him, had from his morning report less than 8,000 effective men, of which a large portion were indifferent and ill-armed cavalry. the enemy was superior in numbers and equipments, and, after his position and defenses were turned by the passage of the Arkansas below the city, General Price feared risking a general engagement, and fell back to the line of the Ouachita. All his material and stores were safely sent to the rear. The sickness of General grant plans of the enemy on the Mississippi. The force collected at Vicksburg for operations in Louisiana was sent up the Mississippi to re-enforce the army of Rosecrans. The enemy's Texas column was being prepared on a grand scale. Two entire corps and a portion of a third, under General Banks, composed the command. The movement was to have been simultaneous with that from Vicksburg and Helena. Sabine Pass was to have been made the base of operations. The failure of the attack on that place on the 8th of September delayed the expedition; it was subsequently weakened by the re-enforcements sent Rosecrans.

About the 20th September, Ord's and Franklin's corps, commanded by General Banks in person, crossed Berwick Bay, and made preparations for a march by the coast road to Niblett's Bluff, on the Sabine. Though repeatedly urged by General Magruder to concentrate Taylor's command on his, and to make the defense on the Sabine, I replied that the enemy could never march successfully by the road proposed, with