HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Shreveport, March 22, 1864.
Major General STERLING PRICE,
Commanding District of Arkansas:
GENERAL: Lieutenant-General Smith suggested in a letter of the 20th instant that Cabell's brigade be brought in supporting distance of Marmaduke's command. He thinks the brigade should be halted at some point where, without entirely uncovering Washington, it will be in supporting distance of you at Camden, and can be moved up on undoubted evidence of the enemy's movements in force. As the stores and shops at Washington are reported to be of great value, he suggests their removal across Red River at Fulton, where they will be beyond danger of destruction from any cavalry raid, and where they can be removed in the interior of Texas, if necessary. If the pontoon bridge at Fulton has been moved down the river it had better be returned to that place for the facility of crossing stores, &c. The information received by the lieutenant-general of the force in Arkansas makes it about 5,000 infantry, with a reduced and inefficient cavalry force. He can scarcely advance, at the highest calculation, with over 7,000 men. With your four brigades of cavalry and Generals Dockery and Fagan's infantry your effective force must reach fully that number, and with the superiority of cavalry you will have great advantage over an invading force, with large trains marching through a country not only destitute of supplies, but which at this season presents natural obstacles to his advance.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN G. MEEM, Jr.,
Captain and Acting Aide-de-Camp.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF INDIAN TERRITORY,
Fort Towson, C. N., March 22, 1864.
Colonel S. S. ANDERSON,
Asst. Adjt. General, Trans-Miss. Dept., Shreveport, La.:
COLONEL: I respectfully call attention to the inclosed letter from Colonel Watie, giving some information from Fort Smith and the steps taken to procure the same from there and Fort Gibson. I also call your attention to the inclosed letter from General Cooper and to the views expressed therein. The principal points in this letter were brought out by one from me upon the receipt of Lieutenant-General Smith's letter (No. 2267 [Marsh 12]), directing me to move all my available force except such Indian troops as I might think absolutely necessary to leave on the frontier to some point in the southeast part of the district. To this letter I replied on the 16th, fully setting forth the strength and disposition of the forces. I again call your attention to this remark in that letter:
If the whole available force is moved southeast, say, to Laynesport, it will leave the country subject to devastation by cavalry raids.
On January 12 I wrote to General Smith this:
In my opinion this force ought not to open the spring campaign on Red River. It should be concentrated and moved to the front as far as practicable. The point suggested by General Cooper seems to me to present many advantages, &c.
The policy indicated in General Smith's letter is altogether different. I shall, however, as a matter of course, obey. Gano's brigade