the situation of affairs has taken place here. It is reported that the rebels are going to make an effort to break up the election on the 14th instant, and I am solicited to send troops into different counties not occupied by us to protect the voters at the polls. None of my veterans have returned yet, but I hear that two or three regiments will start back full about the middle of this month. If you should start on your expedition as indicated in your dispatch, please communicate with me as often as possible, and I will endeavor to do the same with you.
I am anxious to aid your movement in every way possible. I have no doubt of its entire success. If it does succeed my department will be free from all armed rebels except guerrillas. The streams are all high now, and the roads through the bottoms bad, but in addition to the cavalry force mentioned in my last letter, I will endeavor to send a column of infantry and some light guns on the road to Arkadelphia and Washington. Refugees and spies report to me that Price's division is very much demoralized, and that the men deserted in great numbers while crossing Red River. They say 400 left in one day. Price and some members of his staff went to Texas on sixty days' leave of absence, and it is currently reported here, on good grounds, that they have deserted the sinking ship and gone to Europe. I believe it is true. A member of my staff met Price's adjutant-general on flag of truce a short time since. They were old friends, and from what was said he was satisfied that Price had determined to take this step. It is believed the Missouri troops will desert en masse as soon as this becomes known among them.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., March 7, 1864.
Bearer of Dispatches:
SIR: Rebel lieutenant and men who deserted from Camden report seven steam-boats on the Ouachita; one, the Twilight, is very large. Shelby gone to Texas on leave; I think he has deserted. Many of the commands wish to desert. A captain and 12 men who came into Fort Smith, deserters from rebel army, report that many of the rebel soldiers will desert first opportunity. They are watched very closely. Nothing particular from Grant.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, Miss., March 7, 1864.
Admiral D. D. PORTER,
Commanding Mississippi Squadron, Red River:
DEAR ADMIRAL: I received last night the dispatches and was delighted at the result. Taking the guns at Trinity, burning at Harrisonburg, and general driving away of the force there gives you the initiative, and if you only had watter enough in Red River you could alone follow it up to Shreveport. But in a day or two I will have with you General A. J. Smith, with 10,000 good infantry,