If Pemberton is able to repulse the enemy in his land attack, and to maintain possession of both Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the enemy's fleet cannot long remain in the river between those points, from their inability to get coal and other necessary supplies, so that we may look forward to the re-establishment of communication with the Trans- Mississippi by the water route heretofore used, unless the enemy can occupy the lower part of Red River. With the decline of the water and the advent of summer, the chances in your favor must increase, and I can, therefore, readily anticipate many reasons for delay in those operations, which I know you desire to undertake. We have had flattering accounts of the improvement of the army in Arkansas, and some, which, I fear, are exaggerated, in relation to the effective force in Texas, but of all these I expect to be informed whenever you have the power to communicate with us. Senator Johnson will be able to give you details in relation to events here, and I commend him to your special consideration.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS- MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., May 9, 1863.
Lieutenant General T. H. HOLMES, Little Rock, Ark.:
GENERAL: You must act according to your own judgment. At this distance I can give no positive orders. Attack the enemy, should an opportunity offer for doing so with hope of success. You can expect no assistance from this quarter. The enemy occupy Alexandria, and General Banks, with 28,000, is in possession of Red River and Lower Louisiana. Should the enemy advance on you in overwhelming numbers, it may be necessary to abandon the Arkansas Valley and concentrate here for operations against Banks.
E. KIRBY SMITH,
Lieutenant- General, Commanding.
CAMP NEAR BATESVILLE, ARK.,
May 9, 1863.
Major HENRY EWING, Assistant Adjutant- General:
MAJOR: I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your respected favor of the 8th instant, requesting statement of my command, &c., which, agreeably thereto, I present annexed.
Since here, I have had, and continue to have, scouts out, north, northeast, and northwest, ranging from 40 to 50 miles, and so far have no information of the movements of the enemy that would bid me believe their moving on this place. You will observe from the annexed statement of the strength of my command that it is impossible for me to keep out pickets.
On account of your move to Jacksonport, I have deemed it proper to move to the south side of the river, and hence have to ask that you will be pleased to send me two companies of cavalry, that I may picket the country.
I am, major, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
R. C. WOOD,
Commanding Light Artillery and Cavalry.