is sending down re-enforcements from above Memphis, but don't know where they come from.
If General Holmes had allowed me to take my guns over there, I could have operated them without any danger of losing them, and destroyed more Yankees than I will at the present rate in a year.
I have kept this letter open, hoping to receive dispatches direct from Memphis, but the courier has not arrived. The rain of yesterday and to-day has made the roads muddy and delayed the courier.
A large amount of commissary and quartermaster's stores are reported to be on the opposite side of Saint Francis River, in Crittenden and Mississippi Counties. They are not needed by the people there, nor is there a market offered them by the Yankees; but, in view of the trade being with Memphis, the people demand the pay in greenbacks, and, if I secure the supplies, I will have to impress them.
I have sent over two judicious men for the quartermaster's department and two for the commissary department, to inspect the character, amount, and location of the supplies, and to report the same to me. I have also sent over a select scout to examine all the roads between this point and Memphis, and 25 miles above, toward Osceola. That scout will return and report to-morrow.
These observations have been made a preliminary to any future military operations in that direction, and as precautionary against any operations of the enemy. I have scouts within a few miles of Helena, on all the roads leading from it in this direction. Besides, as a precaution, my pickets are thrown 10 miles beyond the L'Anguille, on the roads coming from Helena. I start a scout of 100 men under Lieutenant-Colonel Giddings to-morrow toward Helena. The object of this scout is to watch the enemy, and, if possible, to ambush the Fifth Kansas. Five feet of water in the Saint Francis up to Wittsburg. I do not fear that gunboats or transports will come up, nor do I apprehend any attack from Helena. All the information contained in Lieutenant Walton's report relative to affairs in Helena, sent forward yesterday, has been confirmed by an intelligent lady, who resides in Helena and reached my headquarters to-day. She says that they are exceedingly alarmed, and apprehensive that you and Price will attack them daily. Whether Vicksburg falls or stands, whether we whip or are whipped, we will never have as good an opportunity to operate against Helena and Memphis as now. If we had been operating on the river above Memphis or against Helena, it would have been equal to a re-enforcement of 10,000 men at Vicksburg; but I submit to the superior wisdom of the lieutenant-general commanding in this matter.
Captain Carrington, with flag of truce, took the general's communication toward Helena to-day.
I can subsist and forage my whole command, including both brigades and Kitchen's battalion, three months, if necessary, in this neighborhood. I am saving the wheat crop, and am making arrangements to have unbolted bread for my command. Have ordered down my train from Jacksonport, but with no intention of increasing the size of the train permanently. Major Byrd has not yet made his appearance; I will advise you of his arrival. Have ordered a double line of couriers to be put on the lower road between this point and Jacksonport. The present route (courier) is nearer 75 than 45 miles. I think I can make three or four hours by the change. If the lower line works well, I will relieve the men on the upper route and order them to their respective companies.
If the reports from across the Saint Francis are favorable, I shall send