The complaint that the command originally assigned to you by the lieutenant-general commanding the department has been step by step taken from you, and as you believe without just cause, most certainly without an assigned reason, is as unjust as it is extraordinary. With the exception of the Indian Territory, you have been stripped of no territorial command other than that which the enemy holds from you. The separation of the Indian Territory from the District of Arkansas was the natural result of the disaster at Little Rock and the retreat of our troops west of the Ouachita. The communication from the headquarters of the Indian Territory is more direct and expeditious by the way of Bonham to department headquarters. It was so explained to you. It has always been my intention to restore the command of the Indian Territory to the commander of the District of Arkansas when the valley of the Arkansas should be regained. By an examination of the letter of Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, to which your communication is reply, it will be observed that General Maxey has been directed to call upon General Cabell only in the event of the enemy advancing upon him. The necessity for this is but the legitimate and necessary result of the relation existing between two commands serving on the same frontier, concentration being at times indispensable to the successful resistance of an advance of the enemy in force. If you desire it I will forward your application of the 28th ultimo to be relieved from command, and will await the action of then Department and the selection of a suitable person to take command of your district.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., March 5, 1864.
GENERAL: I inclose you copies of communications received this morning from General Taylor,* by which you will see that the enemy have commenced operations on the Ouachita River, have passed our batteries at the moment of transfer of the guns, and have proceeded up the river toward Monroe. A column seems preparing in lower Louisiana for the purpose of effecting a diversion, if not for serious operations. By Northern dates of February 18 from Fort Smith the arrival al Little Rock of one of General Banks' staff was announced, with the statement that arrangements were being made for the co-operation of General Banks and General Steele. The intelligence from below makes it probable that a simultaneous movement from General Steele may be anticipated. Hold your command in readiness for concentration; keep yourself apprised of the enemy's movements and should he advance, he must bring a force inferior in numbers to that under your control, and you may expect to wind up the campaign by making your headquarters in Little Rock. I have telegraphed to Camden countermanding the movement of the cavalry brigade to Louisiana. Watch the advance of the enemy's boats, and be prepared to co-operate through your cavalry with General
* Of March 3, with inclosures. See p. 1015.