sent away in January, and should have returned four weeks since. I am unofficially informed that they are in Saint Louis awaiting horses, and that the Seventh Kansas has been ordered to report to Department of the Missouri.
The term of furlough of the other six regiments will expire from the 1st to the 10th of May. This leaves me an aggregate effective force of about 3,500 effective men, composed mostly of three new and inexperienced regiments, and the remnants of the regiments which have been sent home on furlough. Of this force less than 2,000 are available as cavalry in consequence of the lack of horses, only about 1,500 horses having been furnished to this command during the past ten months. Many of these horses are not effective for a long expedition in consequence of the exceeding lack of forage.
Second. But for the lack of horses and the non-return of the Third Michigan and Seventh Kansas Cavalry, I should be able to put into the field a mounted force of at least 5,000 men.
I would most respectfully suggest that measures be taken to procure horses for the purpose of mounting this command; or that the command be entirely dismounted and schooled in infantry tactics; as in its present condition, it is of more expense to the Government than its efficiency would justify.
As a measure for mounting the command, I would respectfully suggest that a price be set by the Government at which horses will be bought, and that the people of the North be required to furnish the requisite number of horses at such prices; and to this end that means be used to impress horses, unless voluntarily furnished at the prices offered.
I would further suggest that corps commanders be empowered to authorize the purchase of horses for their respective commands.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. H. GRIERSON,
WASHINGTON, April 18, 1864-2.30 p.m.
What is the date of the latest news you have from General Banks' expedition up the Red River? What is its purport? Answer in cipher.
EDWIN M. STANTON.
Secretary of War.
CAIRO, ILL., April 18, 1864
(Received 10.40 p.m.)
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
General A. J. Smith, of the Sixteenth Army Corps, was within 30 miles of Shreveport at last accounts. General Banks' expedition had not overtaken Smith.
General Sherman has sent for Smith to return immediately and go up the Tennessee. I presume he is overtaken by the messenger.
I will report as soon as I hear about General Banks' force.