War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0407 Chapter XXXIV. ATTACK ON HELENA, ARK.

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[Inclosure Numbers 1.] WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., May 25, [23,] 1863.

General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON,

Commanding, &c.:

DEAR SIR: * * * * [I venture with diffidence only one suggestion, and that not strictly applicable to your own field of operations.*] It is, that should opportunity to communicate with Generals Holmes or Price occur, it might be well to urge they should make diversions for you, or, in the case of the fall of Vicksburg, secure a great future advantage to the Confederacy by the attack on, and seizure of, Helena, while all the available forces of the enemy are being pushed to Grant's aid. Had I command of communications, this suggestion would be directly addressed and pressed by the Department. Its policy is so apparent that it is hoped it will be voluntarily embraced and executed.

[With best wishes, most cordially, yours,]

J. A. SEDDON.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., June 13, 1863.

Respectfully forwarded to Lieutenant-General Holmes. It is impossible for Lieutenant-General Smith, at this distance, and without any knowledge of the strength of the force at Helena (which is continually varying), to give any orders in the case. It is, therefore, submitted to Lieutenant-General Holmes to act as circumstances may justify.

By order of Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith:

S. S. ANDERSON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

[Inclosure Numbers 2.] LITTLE ROCK, June 15, 1863.

(Received June 16.)

Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH:

I believe we can take Helena. Please let me attack it.

TH. H. HOLMES,

Lieutenant-General.

[Inclosure Numbers 3.] SHREVEPORT, LA., June 16, 1863.

Lieutenant General T. H. HOLMES:

Most certainly do it.

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

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*Part in brackets not in extract forwarded by General Smith. The entire letter appears in operations January 20 - July 31, 1863, Vicksburg campaign, &c., Series I, Vol. XXIV, Part I, p. 219.

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