War of the Rebellion: Serial 041 Page 0212 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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value, at cost prices, $2,000,000, as estimated by the quartermasters and commissaries whom I placed in charge of them. With the small-arms alluded to, if the lieutenant-general commanding deems the two regiments of [J. W.] Speight's brigade, which were detained in Shreveport, in fit condition to be put in the field, I could arm them with these rifles and equip them completely. I would particularly like to have [A. M.] Alexander's regiment put in the field with Colonel Speight.

I shall not accumulate stores at this point, but shall make the line from Vermillinville to Niblett's Bluff the base of operations in the lower portion of the State, so that if disasters at Vicksburg and Port Hudson should occur, I could retreat along that line into Texas.

I would respectfully suggest that fortifications should be constructed at some eligible point a short distance below Shreveport, on Red River.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. TAYLOR,

Major-General, Commanding.

Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,

Chief of Staff.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI,

Shreveport, La., July 16, 1863.

GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit herewith a report made by Major-General Taylor of his recent operations. Upon the receipt of this report, I wrote to General Taylor (on the 12th instant)* as follows:

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The fall of Vicksburg, which now seem to be a certainty, has important bearing on your movements. Could we retain possession of the Mississippi, the occupation of New Orleans should be hazarded at all risks. The loss of Vicksburg entails the loss of Port Hudson and the Mississippi. Any occupation of New Orleans can now only be temporary. You inflict a severe blow upon the enemy by destroying the stores collected there, but to throw yourself into the city in the hopes of holding it would be placing your command in a cul-de-sac, from which there could be no extrication. I yesterday inclosed you a copy of instructions to General [J. G.] Walker. I do not think any serious occupation of Louisiana will be attempted by the enemy this summer. Monroe and Alexandria may be the objective points of their campaign; still, you should endeavor to make such disposition of your command as will dented the upper valley of Red River; its occupation in force by the enemy loses us its supplies, and endangers the wheat-grooving region of Texas. It cuts the department in two, and renders the concentration of the troops from Arkansas difficult, if not impracticable.

* * *

With much respect, I am, general, your most obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General.

General S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General, C. S. Army.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WESTERN LOUISIANA,

Brashear, July 4, 1863.

GENERAL: I have the honor to report my arrival at this point from the front, having returned for the day to inspect the progress of our defenses. Two heavy guns have been placed in position in each of the forts commanding the entrances into the bay. An additional gun at each fort will be in readiness to-night. These forts are Berwick and Chene, constructed by Major General M. L. Smith, and abandoned after

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*See Smith to Taylor, July 12, 1863, Part II, p. 109.

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