On the 25th, there were five steamers inside the bar and one outside; twelve sails inside and four outside. This looks as if they intended removing at least a portion of the forces now there. I trust to be able to report in a few days whether this supposition is correct or not. I have received an order to send 12 of Fulcrod's cadets to act as couriers for Colonel Bates' command. I will send them forward to Columbia, and should the major-general determine the command to assemble at Houston these can be ordered forward from that point. I can find no water and but little grass below the Placidor Creek at which to place my pickets. This point is 40 miles from Alligator Head, so that I will not be able to keep a permanent picket to watch the enemy, but will have to rely on scouts to be sent every few days. I can get gut little or no corn for my horses, and I find in consequence that they are rapidly failing in condition.
I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS SHELBY'S BRIGADE,
Camp at Dr. Rainey's, March 29, 1864.
Major H. EWING,
I send you a copy of dispatch just received from Captain T. H. Lea, of Smith's regiment:
MARCH 28, 1864-6 a.m.
SIR: We learn since I sent you the other dispatch that the Federals crossed at Rockport and are moving on the Arkadelphia road. They had all crossed by midnight. Last night we found a wounded Federal 7 miles from Rockport. He said they were going to Shreveport. General Steele is in command, General Salomon commanding four brigades of infantry, General Carr commanding one division of cavalry. Their numbers estimated from 12,000 to 15,000 and from 300 to 400 wagons.
T. H. LEA,
Captain, Commanding Scout.
J. O. SHELBY,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.
WOODRUFF, ARK., March 29, 1864.
General J. S. MARMADUKE,
Commanding Cavalry at Camden:
DEAR GENERAL: I have 110 men in camp on Village Creek, and 200 more ready to go in camp as soon as I can procure supplies for them. Corn and wheat are very scarce in this country. Colonel Clark has come here with orders from the War Department which has caused a great deal of confusion; is telling all of my men that he has been confirmed as colonel of my regiment, and that he has orders to take command of them wherever he finds them. What shall I do with him? General McRae has an order signed by Gallagher revoking my orders and authorizing him to retain all the soldiers in his district. I wish you would inquire into this matter. It will be impossible to get men out of here under such conflict of orders; in fact, men are very loth to undertake to come out. Unless you wish me to remain here and so direct I shall come to you as soon as grass is sufficient to