War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0250 W. FLA., S. ALA., S. MISS., LA., TEX., N. MEX. Chapter XXXVIII.

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E. Kirby Smith, commanding Trans-Mississippi Department, for assignment to duty.

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By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., September 23, 1863.

Major General RICHARD TAYLOR,

Commanding District of Western Louisiana:

GENERAL: In reply to your communication in regard to sending steamboats to Alexandria, the lieutenant-general commanding directs me to inclose the within communication from the chief quartermaster of the Trans-Mississippi Department in reference to that subject.* He further directs me to say that, in view of the threatening attitude of the enemy in your front, the disposition of Major's brigade is approved and it will remain under your command until further orders.

JOHN G. MEEM, JR.,

Aide-de-Camp.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., September 23, 1863.

Major General RICHARD TAYLOR:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge your to communications of the 21st instant. Your disposition of Major's brigade, under the circumstances, meets my approval.

I have had no further information from General price's command. They are at Arkadelphia and Rockport, with their cavalry advanced to the Sabine. Should any advance be made in force, necessitating the farther retreat of General Price, the concentration you refer to will be necessary for the purpose of striking a decisive blow at once or the other of the columns advancing from Arkansas and Louisiana.

I do not believe that an advance will now be made from Little Rock, nor does the concentration at Berwick Bay necessarily imply an advance into Louisiana. Texas may be the destination of the latter force, or possibly Mobile may be its objective point, in co-operation with Sherman's and McPherson's corps, moving from Vicksburg.

Hardee, who commands General Johnston's army, has but little force at his disposal. Two divisions of that army have re-enforced General Bragg, and a third is said to have sent to Charleston. I can give no directions in regard to the movement of your army until the enemy's plan is further developed. The armies are too far apart now for any practical plan of concentration being carried into effect. Circumstances and your own judgment must govern you, and whilst I do not wish to place any check upon your engaging the enemy, you as well as myself know our means and resources are too limited to risk any general engagement without some reasonable chance of success.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

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*Not found.

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