directed to say that the orders given you to impress horses and mules for artillery purposes were designed to apply only to those in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy, and that the case of Mr. Fluitt does not fall within the purviews of those orders. The major-general therefore directs that Mr. Fluitt's property be returned to him.
He further directs that when the necessities of your command compel you to resort to impressment, the impressment will in all cases by made by an officer selected by and acting under orders from yourself, and will in no case be permitted by the regimental quartermasters, except when their regiments are isolated and the necessity admits of no delay; and further, that when urgent necessity compels the impressment of stock for purposes of artillery or transportation, brood mares will be exempt, as our reliance for a future supply must be based upon them.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
C. LE DE. ELGEE,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, January 31, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 21st instant, relative to routes of concentration, &c. The points of concentration are Alexandria, Natchitoches, and Shreveport. From Texas the routes are from Niblett's, via Big Woods and Hineston, to Alexandria; from Jasper, via Burr's Ferry, Huddleston, and Hineston, to the same point (from Burr's Ferry there is also a road via the Toreau settlement of Natchitoches); from San Augustine, via Gaines' Ferry or Sabine Town and Many, to Natchitoches, and from Logansport, via Mansfield, to either Natchitoches or Shreveport. From Arkansas the routes are via Homer, Mindedn, and Campti to Natchitoches, marching from Minden to Shreveport, or via Homer, Sparta, and Winfield to Alexandria.
The depots should consist of forage, breadstuffs, and salt, merely sufficient to supply the troops in march; meat will of course be driven on the hoof. None of these routes would require any defense other than small squads to protect the depots, as our columns while concentrating would cover them from the enemy. All the officers suited to superintend this kind of work are actively engaged for the moment on the various defenses of the lower rivers. I am endeavoring to find some likely to be useful, and if successful will send them up at once.
If the enemy move actively in the spring from Arkansas, will not the movement be on Fulston from Little Rock and the Indian country? This would at once endanger our principal supply region and throw back our forces on the lower Red River. I beg leave to call you r attention to the importance of sending Mr. Hymen beyond our lines.
In my judgment he is a most dangerous man to the cause, and should be sent to some point where he cannot communicate, for