VII. Horse stealing having been much practiced of late in the neighboring State of Texas, provost guards, pickets, patrol guards, scouts, and all others will keep a sharp lookout for that class of gentry.
VIII. As spies, deserters, renegades, and traitors generally may and probably will seek a more congenial clime among their Northern brethren, all provost and patrol guards, pickets, scouts, outpost guards, as well as the main bodies, should keep a constant and strict watch for them. All persons attempting to pass through our lines toward those of the enemy without proper authority must be taken.
IX. In the enforcement of these orders, so necessary to our security, the commanding general directs that commanding officers personally interest themselves, giving all needful assistance to their faithful execution, and will keep the country around them constantly patrolled, and will also send out scouts as occasion may require.
By order of S. B. Maxey, brigadier-general commanding:
T. M. SCOTT,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, La., March 16, 1864.
Major General STERLING PRICE:
GENERAL: Dispatches received last night from General Taylor indicate that the enemy is moving in large force from Simsport up the Red River.
On the might of the 13th, General Walker's pickets near Moreauville were driven in, and on the 14th he feel back from the vicinity of Marksville to the Bayou du Lac, in the direction of Evergreen, where he wa to be joined by Mouton's division in a day or two. Major Douglas, chief engineer, who left Fort De Russy at daybreak on the 14th, reports that General Walker informed the commandant of the post that he would fight the enemy before he reached Marksville if his force was less than had been represented (18,000). When a few miles from Marksville Major Douglas heard firing, both artillery and infantry, from which he concludes that General Walker had attacked. His line of retreat being upon Evergreen and Lecompte to Alexandria, Fort De Russy is not directly covered by his force. The enemy's gun-boats have not yet come up to it. This work has been put in the best condition possible with the limited means at our disposal and the length of time since operations were begun. The odds its little garrison must contend against will be very great. The lieutenant-general commanding desires to know what your information is from the enemy in your front; especially whether his dispositions look to an early advance. He earnestly urges upon you the vital importance of getting reliable and accurate information of the enemy's strength and movements, and he directs that you take without delay every preparation necessary to enable your command to move at a moments' notice, as it may become necessary at any time to concentrate the troops of the department.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieutenant and Aide-De-Camp.