direct by land to Arkadelphia and Fulton; Banks could regain Opelousas and Alexandria; the admiral and I could pass directly up their river to Shreveport. This would be a consecutive movement, but a little risky if Dick Taylor, Price, and migrator should unite; but the latter is supposed to be off in Texas, and the two latter [former] do not seem o pull together. I will send you a messenger the moment I can after I reach Meridian. My supposition is that you will want William Sooy Smith with his calvary back to Pulaski by March,a nd will keep that in mind as soon as he can be spared. I am much troubled by the promises we have made the veteran for the furloughs. All want the furloughs at once. I doubt if thirty-five days will see any of them back. Once at home they will be beyond our reach and control.
W. T. SHERMAN,
NASHVILLE, TENN., January 24, 1864.
(Received 12.45 a. m., 25th.)
President of the United States:
I hope that it will be consistent with the public interest for General Burnside to be sent back to East Tennessee. He is the man; the people want him; he will inspire more confidence than any other man at this time.
Will be in Washington soon.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS, Helena, Ark., January 24, 1864.
Captain T. H. HARRIS,
SIR: At 1 a. m. this morning whets were heard at the wood-yard on Island Numbers 60, 2 miles north of this place; soon after the woodchopper' shanties were seen on fire. At 2 a. m. I dispatched 75 cavalry and 50 infantry to the island, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Gilbert, Fifteenth illinois Cavalry, on a steamer. On his arrival he learned that the enemy, which he estimated from information and tracks on the sand-bar to be 250, had decamped before his arrival.
At 6 a. m. I sent additional re-enforcements, when Lieutenant-Colonel Gilbert pursued 7 miles. He returned reporting that the enemy were not guerrillas but regular cavalry, all the horses shod, and that his force was insufficient to cope with them.
The wood contractors lost about 25 mules and oxen, some provisions, and their shanties.
The United States lost only little. The wood was undisturbed. I have sent a force of two companies to protect the wood-choppers and contrabands. I report this fact to let General Hurlbut know that there is a cavalry force opposite this place.
your obedient servant,
N. B. BUFORD,