superseded Price, and is at Camden. Three brigades of cavalry under Cabell are reported seventeen miles from Pine Bluff. Telegraph communication is interrupted. A small steamer on private business from here to Pine Bluff was burned by rebels two days ago. A brigade of cavalry was at Benton day before yesterday, but retired across the Saline on the approach of a cavalry force sent from here. Our troops are still in pursuit. By information received last night, Shelby is ten miles below Jacksonport, men sick, and horses in poor condition. McCray was twenty miles above Batesville. If Pine bluff is held there is no necessity of keeping a force at Saint Charles, on White River. If Pine Bluff should be evacuated, the rebels would probably move on Saint Charles. I have ordered two regiments of infantry from the line of the railroad to Pine Bluff, and I recommend that the command at Saint Charles be sent immediately to Devall's Bluff for temporary service. If Clayton cannot hold Pine Bluff he can retire across his pontoon. He has about three months' supplies, and I think can hold out longer than the supplies of the rebels. The Saline is high and the bottom probably impracticable for artillery.
P. S.-Reconnoitering parties report Saline River very low, and bottom consequently must be practicable for artillery.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF ARKANSAS, Numbers 65.
Little Rock, Ark., August 20, 1864.
Brigadier General Joseph R. West, U. S. Volunteers, is hereby assigned to duty as chief of cavalry of the Department of Arkansas. He will enter upon the discharge of the duties of that position without delay.
By order of Major General F. Steele:
W. D. GREEN,
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., August 20, 1864.
Brigadier General C. C. ANDREWS,
Commanding Devall's Bluff:
GENERAL: Please let the Commercial go on the arrival of train. I send by telegram a dispatch for General Canby.* It is reported that the rebels are advancing in force both from Texas and Louisiana. Magruder has superseded Price. A small steamer was burned fifteen miles above Pine Bluff two days ago. Cabell is reported seventeen miles from Pine Bluff with three brigades of cavalry.
*See P. 781.