HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., November 8, 1863.
Lieutenant General T. H. HOLMES,
Commanding District of Arkansas:
GENERAL: In reply to your letter of the 5th instant, relating to the burning and traffic of cotton, the lieutenant-general commanding desires me to say that the War Department has repeatedly urged and directed that an active force be kept upon the Mississippi River, for the purpose of interrupting transportation, and directs that you will select an efficient brigade of cavalry, with a battery of artillery, under the command of an officer of ability, energy, and discretion, for operations on the Mississippi River, under your individual orders, and to report direct to you, as an independent command, whose special duty shall be to break up the traffic spoken of, and harass the enemy's transports as much as possible.
The brigade under Colonel [Isaac F.] Harrison has been ordered to operate in Northern Louisiana.
He also directs me to inclose a copy of General Taylor's letter of the 2nd instant,* calling your attention to the supposed movements of the Thirteenth Army Corps.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. R. BOGGS,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,
Camp on Beech Creek, November 8, 1863.
Brigadier General D. H. COOPER,
GENERAL: I received last night your letter sent by Captain [T. B.] Heiston, informing me of the condition of your brigade, and of the opinion prevalent with the troops that the Texas brigade is being withdrawn for coast defense. My letter of November 1, informing you that I should withdraw that brigade, meant what it read, and nothing more. The men were in a very destitute condition as to clothing, and (owing to your change of the line of operations from the North Fork road to the Fort Smith road) temporarily out of flour. Under these circumstances, to prevent demoralization and desertion, these troops were drawn back; and, with a view to what I believe will be the enemy's line of operations, they have been ordered to Doaksville, from which place General Gano has been ordered to push forward parties on the Towson and Fort Smith road, and to examine the country contiguous on the east. I informed you that General Magruder had sent an order for Bankhead's brigade. I also informed you that I did not recognize General Magruder's right to give any order to troops in the Indian country. With this knowledge, it appears to me that you could have contradicted the report that the troops were being withdrawn for coast defense. Our cause is indeed in a bad condition when it becomes necessary for a commander to explain every more that he contemplates to every man in the command, and when officers appear to pander more to the whims and caprices of the men rather than look to the best interests of the service. I suppose some allowance must be made for the Indians, who have been in the habit of meeting subterfuge and trickery in their official intercourse