the more acceptable, as, under adversity, criticism and abuse, and not support, are the natural result of position.
I feel the soundness of your views; indeed, for some time past have had the conviction forced upon me that a concentration in one or the other district was inevitable; the time for carrying it into execution and the point of concentration have alone been matters of doubt.
I am now on th eve of leaving for Arkadelphia, where General Holmes telegraphs me I must come immediately. I shall reach Arkadelphia Sunday, and can then judge of the enemy's intentions at Little rock; his plans below will have been developed, and I can then decide whether the Arkansas force should be carried below, or whether yours should re-enforce Holmes. Should the enemy advance from Little Rock, Arkansas is decidedly the place for concentration. A success there clears the Indian country, whilst it redeems the Arkansas Valley. The despondency is greater in that State than elsewhere, and the Indians are preparing to change their allegiance. Nothing but a decisive blow struck speedily in that section will prevent the loss of the whole country east of Red River. In the event of your being ordered to re-enforce Holmes, what effective force can you bring, and what cavalry will you leave in Louisiana, and whom do you propose leaving in command of the district? I shall direct stores collected at Minden, where they will be available for a command marching from Natchitoches upon either Camden or Arkadelphia.
I am not posted in events and the condition of affairs in Price's front. Should I be detained in Arkadelphia, I will write to you, and will then be better able to determine upon the plan to be adopted.
Sincerely, your friend,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., September 25, 1863.
Major General RICHARD TAYLOR:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23rd instant.
General Boggs was some months since directed by me to have an examination made of the position at Grand Ecore, and, if suitable, to have a work erected there for the defense of the river. My instructions were, in accordance with the views I have always expressed, that a simple redoubt capable of containing a small garrison, with its guns commanding the obstructions in the river, was, with our means, the true mode of defense. Such was the work directed to be constructed at Grand Ecore. I have been during the last three months so much absent from department headquarters that but little attention has been given by me to this matter.
A short time since it was reported to me that a practicable road could be made east of Spanish Lake, up the Valley of Red River, offering a safe line of retreat, and remedying the objections to Grand Ecore as a position for an intrenched camp. General Boggs is now absent making an examination of the position. I think, however, it is too late to commence any extensive works there, even if his report should prove favorable. I shall instruct him by letter (a copy of which is inclosed), in the event Major [H. T.] Douglas has commenced any extensive line of works, not near completion, to suspend further operations; that it