War of the Rebellion: Serial 042 Page 0323 Chapter XXXVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., October 15, 1863.

Major General RICHARD TAYLOR:

GENERAL: Your communication of the 11th instant, from Opelousas, has been received.* Should Niblett's Bluff and Texas be the objective points of the enemy's operations, as your letter seems to indicate, you will spare no efforts with the disposable force at your command in retarding his march and in co-operating with General Magruder in the defense of his district. It may be necessary for you to go beyond the limits of your district; this you will unhesitatingly do, when your judgment sanctions the course. The inclosed copy of communication received from General Hebert + indicates that Grant is re-enforcing Rosecrans, and offensive movements of the enemy need not be expected in Louisiana. This result would be the natural consequence of a decisive victory gained by General Bragg, which, if confirmed, will relieve the department in Louisiana and Arkansas. I know the difficulties of operating from your present base in the Calcasieu and Sabine country.

The enemy possesses every advantage, and can ship his base to Mermenton, Calcasieu, and Sabine successively. You will, I know, exert yourself to co-operate with General Magruder. His troops have been transferred to your command, and his district is in all probability to be made the theater of operations this winter. Your letter has been forwarded to General Magruder, and his attention called do the points named.

I am, general, your obedient servant,

E. KIRBY SMITH,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, La., October 15, 1863.

Major General J. B. MAGRUDER,

Commanding District of Texas, &c.:

GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 26th ultimo. In my last communication from General Taylor, the enemy had not advanced beyond Vermillionville, leaving it still in doubt whether his line of operations would be up the Teche or along the road Niblett's Bluff.

General Taylor has been directed in the latter case to hang upon his flank and co-operate as far as possible with you. I would re-enforce you from Arkansas' were it practicable. General Holmes' effective force is much under 8,000. The enemy's force in his front is estimated at 27,000. A column from the Indian country is threatening Western Arkansas and Northern Texas. The effort to raise State troops in Arkansas has proved a failure. The paroled prisoners from Vicksburg are being rapidly reorganized; but I see no prospect of arming them. General Holmes' command is only partially and indifferently armed. You see, general, how utterly impossible it will be to give you any assistance from the District of Arkansas. You will have to rely upon your own resources.

Of the 4,000 arms which were received on the Rio Grande you can retain 3,000. This will be more effectual than a re-enforcement, which would take months to reach you. Should General Bragg's victory prove decisive, we may expect relief, and the enemy's force on the Ar-

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* See Part I, p. 386.

+ Not found.

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