looked for immediately. This is more important from the fact that we cannot anticipate the assistance of the armament of the Missouri at present, and the breaking up of the ice in the Ohio will speedily back up the Red River sufficiently to permit the ingress of iron-clads, against which weight of metal is required.
The enemy's preparations for a movement up the Red and Ouachita are in a very advanced state, and he may be confidently expected as soon as the lower river is navigable. General Franklin's force of some 10,000 men is at Algiers, and a fleet of light stern-wheelers is being rapidly prepared. In this connection, I beg to urge the importance of strengthening my force by returning to their commands all of the men detained at Shreveport. Some of the Arkansas troops, reported to lack steadiness in the field, might replace them with benefit to the service. The necessity for providing for the defense of both the Red and Ouachita makes my force still more inadequate, for the enemy, having control of the lower rivers, can throw his whole force to any point in fewer hours than I will require days to concentrate.
The little cavalry brigade of Colonel Harrison is occupied in the very important duty of crossing arms, and the force of that arm at my disposal consists of a single regiment, the Second Louisiana, under Colonel Vincent, in front of the enemy on the Teche. I make these representations for the information of the lieutenant-general commanding not for the purpose of clamoring for assistance, which I think has not been my habit. Should the enemy make his appearance I will offer every resistance in my power to his plans.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALEXANDRIA, LA., January 27, 1864.
Brigadier General A. MOUTON,
Commanding Second Infantry Division:
GENERAL: By direction of the major-general commanding, I have the honor to state to you as follows: So soon as you are satisfied that your services will be no longer needed in the matter of crossing and receiving the arms, or if you consider that the cavalry force of General Liddell can accomplish the end desired, you will at once take up the line of march for this point with one of your brigades, leaving the others in the vicinity of the works to be thrown up on the Ouachita, as a covering force. The route to be selected, as well as the troops you will bring with you, the commanding general leaves to your own discretion, suggesting, however, that if you march by the way of Harrisonburg the little boat which you have previously been instructed to have in readiness for Little River be sent round to collect forage and establish a depot at Le Croix Ferry. A depot of 1,000 barrels corn has been established at Nugent's, as you requested. Notify these headquarters if any further assistance is needed from this end of the route; also by what road your troops will march, and the time at which they start. When the command is well under way the major-general commanding desires that you will precede them in person to this place.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,