Lieutenant-General Holmes' cavalry is now occupied on the Southern Arkansas and Bayou Bartholomew. When they can be withdrawn he will see if arrangements can be made in co-operation with yourself for the occupation of Waldron. Since you assumed command there appears to be an improvement of affairs in the Indian Territory. The true defense of that district is in the occupation of the Arkansas Valley, thereby forcing the enemy north into the region stripped of supplies. The practicability of this defense with the means at the general's disposal is considered doubtful. The lieutenant-general leaves to-day for Texas. He has instructed his chief of staff to give you as many good officers as possible for instruction of troops. Some delay may occur in securing their services, as they must be sought for. Captain Ochiltree and Captain Marson have been ordered to report to you. He cannot recommend the fore to york, although he holds the commission of an assistant adjutant-general, except that he has been repeatedly mentioned in high terms for gallantry and energy on the field of battle. The latter he recommends as a soldier and a gentleman. Captain R. W. Lee, to whom you refer, should be detached by you for the duty you desire him to perform. In impressing on you the importance of accurate and reliable information it was not intended to indicate any want of confidence in your forethought, or ability, or energy, in obtaining intelligence from the enemy's lines. The exaggerated estimate referred to was not yours, but was the report made by scouts from the vicinity of Fort Smith. Only a comparatively small number of arms have been crossed. The wants of your district in this particular will be constantly borne in remembrance. The general wishes you to keep him constantly informed of affairs in your district. He wishes you to write freely, and he express the belief you will always find him ready to give you every requisite support and assistance in his power.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. EASTERN SUB. DIST. OF TEXAS, Numbers 25.
Camp Wharton, January 26, 1864.
* * * * *
III. Colonel Ashbel Smith will move with all the armed troops of his command to the mouth of the Caney.
* * * * *
By command of Brigadier-General Slaughter:
L. G. ALDRICH,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, January 27, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I learn from dispatches received on yesterday from department headquarters that is is proposed to retain the 9-inch gun for the defenses near Shreveport. I respectfully represent that the works at Fort De Russy are based upon the belief that two 9-inch guns would be comprised in the armament. The chief engineer so supposed, and gave the assurance that the gun in question might be