HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., December, 10, 1863.
Colonel ISAAC F. HARRISON,
COLONEL: The lieutenant-general commanding directs me to say that twenty-six thousand stand of arms have been sent from Richmond for this depot. Major Thomas [H.] Price, who is in charge of them, will have then on the east bank of the Mississippi River by December 25. He will approach the river at several different points, all opposite the Arkansas shore. He proposes to cross them below Catfish Point, as such point in Chicot County as may be found best. General Smith wishes to intrust you with the important duty of assisting Major Price and removing these arms to Monroe. By way of Bastrop will probably be the best route. This, however, the commanding general leaves to your judgment. He desires you to put yourself without delay in communication with Major Price, who at this time is probably in Meridian. It would be well to send a messenger-a good, reliable man-to Major Price, and have a thorough understanding with him about the time and mode of crossing. It will be necessary to secure at least 100 wagons, perhaps more.
The lieutenant-general commanding directs that you send an efficient reliable officer into Ashley, Drew, and, if necessary, other adjacent counties, for the purpose of impressing them. The object for which they are taken should be kept profoundly secret. The people should be led to suppose they are temporarily needed by General Holmes, or for some other than the real purpose.
Major Capers is recommended by Senator [C. B.] Mitchell for this duty, as being qualified for it by his intimate knowledge of the country and people.
Above all things, colonel, the general directs me to impress upon you the importance of secrecy in this whole affair; not only in making your own arrangements, but in communicating with Major Price, every precaution should be taken to prevent suspicion on the part of the enemy, or even of our own people. The safe arrival in this department of these arms is regarded at the War Department, and by the President, as of the first importance, and some anxiety is felt on their account. The commanding general instructs me to say he has, therefore, intrusted it to you, relying implicitly upon your judgment and energy, in which, from your past efficiency and the success with which you have discharged the various duties devolving upon you, he has the highest confidence.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.
[HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,]
Shreveport, La., December 10, 1863.
General Smith directs that if Brooks' command is as strong as the Texas brigade, your order that to report to General Steele. If necessary, send the Texas brigade also.
S. S. ANDERSON,