directed a supply of arms, say 25,000, to be sent to you across the Mississippi, and have telegraphed to General Johnston to correspond with you, so as to secure your co-operation in giving protection and transportation to the arms after they reach the west side of the river. You have been heretofore advised of the arrangements made to send you arms by way of the Rio Grande, and the disappointments which have been encountered. I rely equally upon your vigilance to discover the purposes of the enemy and upon your energy to counteract them to the full extent of your means. The force of the enemy, as estimated by scouts, is generally exaggerated. I hope it has been so in this case, and if it should be possible to restore confidence among our own people, I trust that desertions will cease and that recruits will flock to your standard. The evacuation of the valley of the Arkansas no doubt produced, as usual in such cases, desertions from the troops raised in that quarter. If the chances of war should enable you to reoccupy it, those men would doubtless return to you; but the reoccupation has a higher importance than this. That it the only region where you can obtain the requisite supplies to support an army for the defense of Arkansas or for an advance into Missouri. So long as you have no boats to navigate the Arkansas and White Rivers, their steamers may be rendered dangerous to the enemy by the use of sub-marine torpedoes, and when those rivers are high it would not be practicable for the enemy to transport supplies by land in sufficient quantity to feed an army in Arkansas or Southwestern Missouri. There is, therefore, a double advantage to be derived from holding the valley of the Arkansas and securing its supplies for the use of your army.
I have been pained to hear of disagreement between Generals Holmes and Price. Without the requisite information to enable me to judge which is the more to blame, the more important consideration may be concluded without such proof, that discord between the two highest officers of an army must materially impair its efficiency and otherwise work evil to the public service. Under these circumstances it has occurred to me that General Price might be more available in the direction of Kansas and Western Missouri. I am not sufficiently advised as to the state of things there, and the fitness of the senior officer to command, to judge of the propriety of the change which would be effected by sending General Price to that quarter, and, therefore, only design to bring the matter to your consideration.
The general truth that power is increased by the concentration of an army is, under our peculiar circumstances, subject to modification. The evacuation of any portion of territory involves not only the loss of supplies, but in every instance has been attended by a greater or less loss of troops, and a general, therefore, has in each case a complete problem to solve.
With high esteem and cordial good wishes, I am, very respectfully and truly, yours,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., November 19, 1863.
GENERAL: The lieutenant-general commanding directs me to say that Captain Quantrill leaves Shreveport to-day to join his command, and passes your headquarters en route. He is informed by this officer that several of his men, whom he regards as entirely reliable, went to the rendezvous of the deserters in your district, pretending that they also