HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., September 12, 1863.
Commanding District of Arkansas, &c.:
GENERAL: Your telegram announcing the evacuation of Little Rock has been received. Your position became ungenable when your works were turned and the enemy crossed the Arkansas. I know the pressure forcing you to give battle at all hazards was great. Could you have done so with hopes of success, the stake at issue demanded the hazard; but against a largely superior force, with but little prospect of victory, you did wisely in saving and keeping together your little army. Unfortunate as the loss of the Arkansas is, it would have been infinitely more disastrous had the little army upon which all our hopes in that quarter are concentrated been lost. Time with us is everything. Keep your force together, call all the people of the State to your support, make the line of the Washita your line, and employ negro labor in fortifying the crossings. The enemy will not soon be prepared to advance beyond the Arkansas. Successes below may soon give an opportunity for strengthening you. Keep the cavalry well to the front. Secure all the transportation as you fall back. The telegraph wire should be taken down and sent to the rear. Should you retire beyond Benton, some force must occupy Camden. Major's brigade will be sent there to report to you as soon as possible. They were turned by General Taylor on their march to Shreveport to oppose the column marching by Trinity on Alexandria.
A fleet of some twenty-seven boats, with a land force of some 10,000 or 15,000 men, commanded by General Franklin, Banks' successor, made an attack at Sabine Pass on the 8th. Two gunboats were captured, and the fleet retired. A landing is being effected on the Cocasieu, when Sabine Pass will be taken in reverse, and the enemy, established at Niblett's Bluff, will make Houston the objective point of their operations. Taylor and Magruder will both have their hands full. The utmost enthusiasm prevails in Texas; the people are turning out freely, and Magruder writes in good spirits.
I am, general, sincerely, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,
Camp Watie, September 13, 1863.
Acting Brigadier-General BANKHEAD,
Commanding Texas Brigade, in the Field:
GENERAL: I am directed by the commanding general too repeat the order sent by courier two days since, that you will confine your observations to the line of the Fort Smith road, leading in this direction. The road to Waldron is to be specially avoided. Your movements will be as suggested, whether or not you have succeeded in forming a junction with Brigadier-General Cabell.
The available portion of General Cooper's brigade go forward to-day, at least as far as Johnson's Station, on Brushy. Should an emergency require it, the entire remaining force in the Indian country will be moved forward to your support. The temporary absence of the commanding general from the camp it is hoped will not interrupt your communication with these headquarters. The communication must be kept