War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0803 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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have had in the department. Still, it must be admitted that there is much to justify serious anxiety and apprehension, and I am forced to the conviction that you should at once visit that portion of your command, and use your known ability and influence to restore order and confidence and to reorganize and recruit the scattered forces.

Before leaving the Lower Mississippi, you will, however, I hoe, have been enabled to plan and direct operations which will protect the valuable districts ling on the smaller rivers and bayous back from the Mississippi. Great anxiety, I find from various representations received by me, prevails among the people on those back streams that they will be reached and despoiled by the enemy. The more important object or the enemy of passing around our various batteries on the Mississippi might, too, be accomplished, if they were really successful in reaching with their boats any one of those navigable bayous. I incline to think that they will fail to accomplish by the cut at Lake Providence a passage into the Tensas; but there is a point at Ashton, near the Bayou Macon, where, from my knowledge of the localities, I believe a canal of 1 1\2 to 2 miles would give an easy pass into Bayou Macon. This point is also worthy of attention, as constituting, in a lower stage of the water, the best point I know on the west bank from which some light batteries might act against transports with destructive effect, and yet have an easy and defensible retreat to the hills. I recommend your attention to it whenever the opportunity of observation can be embraced. Meantime I would advise that, as far as practicable, obstructions should be made, as from the character of the bayous and the growths around might easily be effected on the Tensas, Macon, Boeuf, and Washita, and that a corps of sharpshooters should, with a few light guns, be organized to meet and repel all advances of the enemy along these narrow but deep bayous. From the nature of the country and the few narrow routes that exist, as well as the little breadth of the streams, I am satisfied that the whole country is among the most defensible in the world, and that comparatively few resolute, experienced men could repel hosts of invaders.

With cordial good wishes for your success, most truly, yours,


Secretary of War.



Numbers 23

Little Rock, Ark., March 18, 1863.

Lieutenant General T. H. Holmes is hereby relieved from the command of this department and assigned to the command of the District of Arkansas, including the Indian Territory and the State of Missouri.

By command of Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith:


Brigadier- General and Chief of Staff.



Numbers 1.

Little Rock, Ark., March 18, 1863.

In obedience to General Orders, Numbers 23, Headquarters Trans- Mississippi Department, the undersigned hereby assumes command of the District of Arkansas, as defined in that order. Until further orders, the headquarters will be at Little Rock.


Lieutenant- General, Commanding.