in any direction at present. The reference made to the Perryville road was only as a route by which the two brigades,which are too far apart, could unite, where they could not by the direct road.
I cannot understand why your mules should be in bad condition if they are herded at night, as they should be, as they will not eat well in the day-time at this season of the year, when flies are so trouble-some. It will be impossible to inform you of the whereabouts of each particular party, but you can take it for granted that there are at all times small parties of observation moving about between Webber's Falls and the Creek Agency. Below that point some Choctaws have been, to protect some of the people whilst moving back from the river. I have no doubt many of your men will find pretexts for desertion in any move that does not take them in the direction they wish to go, and this feeling is encouraged by the tone of the officers. You should check all conversation which tends to make the men dissatisfied, or which makes them think that they should be elsewhere than they are. It has even been reported about the streets of Fort Smith that you thought that the men ought to desert if they were not brought back into Arkansas. Such reports, no matter now false, if nothing is done to counteract them, will send off many who will go believing that they have the good-will of their officers. The Creek Indians think they should not go beyond their own lines, which is a matter of surprise even in them; but when white men are so narrow-minded as to the unable to see beyond their own neighborhood,it causes the reflection that the white man is not much above the other races after all. There is reason to believe that Cloud is gathering a force as Cassville, with the intention of coming to the Arkansas River. If he does, his force will probably unite with Blunt's,and against the two we would make but a poor show. Blunt is at present lying idle near enough to his works to get in them at the first alarm. He will, no doubt, wait there until Cloud is ready to move.
Your obedient servant,
B. G. DUVAL,
Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,
Little Rock, August 18, 1863.
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VI. Thomas E. Courtenay, esq., is, by direction of the lieutenant-general commanding the Trans-Mississippi Department, authorized to enlist a secret-service corps, not exceeding 20 men,to be employed by him, subject to the orders of the district commander.
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By command of Major-General Price:
THOS L. SNEAD,
ADJT. AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Richmond, Va., August 18, 1863.
XV. Brigadier General S. B. Maxey, Provisional Army of the Confederate States, is assigned to the Trans-Mississippi Department, and will repair