no cavalry disposable for the purpose; in fact, I would not undertake the work without sending at least a brigade to cover it. Trinity is only 28 miles from Natchez, and the road is yet practicable and will so continue until the swamp is filled from overflow. Any covering force at Trinity should be sufficient to meet the disposable garrison at Natchez, which is to be estimated at 2,500. I can then send no adequate covering force at Trinity until Mouton's command returns from Monroe. My remark about the scarcity of labor, & c., was based upon the letter of the 25th ultimo. After speaking of the covering force, Major Douglas goes on to recommend "that a force of 100 negroes, with the complement of intrenching tools, be sent under the direction of an officer of engineers to contrust," & c.
It is not until January 4 that Major Douglas proposes to send the working party from Shreveport. General Mouton has been directed to send a boat from Monroe, with a suitable guard on board, to remove the guns at Harrisonburg to the former place. Unless carriages can be made at Monroe they will have to be constructed at Shreveport, as there are no facilities here. Provisions might be brought down from Monroe, on the upper Ouachita, if a steamer has been retained on that stream, but I strongly advise that no work be begun until Mouton's division is in position to cover Trinity.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., January 8, 1864.
Lieutenant General T. H. HOLMES,
Commanding District of Arkansas:
GENERAL: I am directed by the lieutenant-general commanding to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 4th instant,* stating that the movement of General Marmaduke's command has been deferred for the present. He directs me to say the securing of the stock for which this command was to go is of great importance, and that the troops should move at the earliest practicable moment. So soon as this expedition is completed Colonel Parson's brigade will report at these headquarters.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant and Aide-de-Camp.
SAN BERNARD, January 8, 1864 - 11 p. m.
Captain TH. HEERMANN,
I am so much annoyed by gun-boats that I can only work in the nighttime. Our work was this morning literally strewed with fragments of shells, grape, and canister, and am happy to say that no injury was done, the working parties being covered by the bomb-proofs. They are now shelling the lines below this place, and are expected any moment here. I had just now a report from Lieuten-
* Not found.