them, the major-general commanding directs that the orders issued to you on the 14th instant, in reference to moving at Monroe with one brigade until something more definite can be ascertained in regard to these arms. Unless when this reaches you you have such information as renders the fact certain that Major Price has gone back, or if you shall hereafter gain accurate and certain information to the effect that Major Price has abandoned the crossing of the arms, you will in either case move with the other brigade, as before directed, without waiting for further orders.
It is all-important that the most positive information should be possessed on this point, and the commanding general directs that you will spare no effort to ascertain Major Price's whereabouts before leaving. In regard to the boat to be retained for service in Little River, it must not be sent into that river until work is commenced at Trinity, as no boat can safely remain below your position at Harrisonburg in the present stage of the river.
With the brigade sent down to Harrisonburg in advance, the major-general commanding directs that one battery be sent, or at least one section, as your judgment may deem best.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Shreveport, La., January 16, 1864.
GENERAL: Your communication of January 6, in response to one from the commanding general, dated Camden, December 26, has been received. In it you say:
I desire specific instructions from Lieutenant-General Smith upon the following points, viz: First. Whether I am to fulfil my agreement with Mr. House for the procurement of our arms from Vera Cruz, making use of the steamer Clifton and the bark Cavallo, in addition to such transportation as Mr. House may have or can otherwise procure. Second. Whether or not I am to revoke my instructions to Colonel Benavides. Third. Whether my decision that the cotton bureau shall apply to the labor bureau for the exemption of slaves is sustained by the lieutenant-general commanding or not.
In reply, the commanding general directs me to inform you that from your letter he does not fully understand the terms of the proposed contract with Mr. House; if, however, it be that Mr. House is to pay for these arms and bring them in at his own risk, furnishing the cotton or funds for their payment, and that on delivery within our lines he is to be paid 100 per cent. on the original cost of the arms in cotton, then, if you can make no better terms, you can agree to it, and Mr. House can proceed immediately to its execution, as the time necessarily occupied by him in carrying out his contract will afford the cotton ample opportunity for accumulating cotton to meet the demands of Mr. House. In this connection he would state that while he does not know at what precise price per pound you have agreed to pay Mr. House in cotton, that cotton is worth here and will bring in the markets 20 cents per pound in specie.
56 R R-VOL XXXIV, PT II