OFFICE POST QUARTERMASTER,
Jacksonport, Ark., June 15, 1863.
Assistant Adjutant-General, General Price's Division:
MAJOR: I have the honor to forward, for your information, the following copy of a dispatch received from the agent of the express line at Walnut Bend:
MISSISSIPPI RIVER, June 13 - 8 p. m.
A pilot, who has been running the river from Memphis to Vicksburg, has succeeded in getting off here, and says that if he can get protection from our side, we can capture from one to fifteen boats at Island Numbers 63, where Dobbin has been firing on the transports while passing; but the pilots are afraid of being captured and imprisoned, with the balance of the crew, when the boat is captured. He says there are fifteen or twenty pilots in Memphis who will land a boat when fired into, if they will be protected by our forces when captured. He also states that from three to four gunboats are all the time stationed at the mouths of White and Arkansas Rivers, to prevent boats from going up either of those rivers; but at the mouth of Saint Francis the way is always clear. A small force at the mouth of that river could at any time capture one of those boats, and run them 30 miles up the river. You will please call the attention of the proper authorities to this, and I will do what I can to perfect the plan here through him. If an arrangement can be made to have Colonel Dobbin on the bank near the mouth of the Saint Francis, I will notify him at what time one of these boats will be along. Of course, the pilot will have to go back to Memphis to effect the arrangements and give me notice here about the time, and what boats will land. You can see all the minutiae of the plan, and know what arrangements are necessary for perfecting the plan.
General Burnside's army is passing down. Ten transports passed yesterday, and fifty more reported to be between Cairo and Memphis. His force is estimated at 25,000. On Wednesday thirty transports passed down laden with troops, with three gunboats.
L. L. MOORE,
Agent Express Line.
I am, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. K. P. PRITCHARD,
Captain and Acting Quartermaster.
HEADQUARTERS PRICE'S DIVISION,
June 15, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th instant, and to report my action thereon.
As you will see by inclosed extract from Captain Reves' letter,* my front is not menaced; consequently I have ordered Colonel J. O. Shelby, with the cavalry portion of his brigade, to report to General Steele, at Fayetteville; but as one battery went from this command with Colonel Carter's brigade, I am compelled, unless otherwise ordered by you, to retain Collins' battery, it being the only one now belonging to the cavalry, except two small pieces or mountain howitzers. Two hundred and fifty men, with these two small pieces, have been sent to a point on the river north of Memphis, and 400 men, with a section of Collins' battery (one piece rifled), have been ordered to a point on the river below Memphis, with instructions to harass and injure, as far as practicable, the enemy's transportation of supplies and troops.
Thirteen companies have reported their company organization, the greater portion of whom have been operating with Colonel Kitchen. Of those, about 500 are wholly unarmed, and General Marmaduke reports to me to-day 1,041 unarmed in his command. Whatever means
* Not found; but see Reves to Marmaduke, June 13, p. 866.