HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER,
New Orleans, La., August 26, 1864.
Major General E. R. S. CANBY:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit to your consideration a statement of the information received at this office this 26th day of August, 1864, from the following source--the statement of John McGivney, Sixteenth Arkansas Cavalry, New Orleans, La., August 26, 1864:
The Sixteenth Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel George Mitchell commanding, has 455, mounted. Three hundred crossed in skiffs to the east bank of the Mississippi, and are operating in the State of Mississippi. Two companies of seventy-five and eighty men, respectively, are stationed, one at Madison, Ark., Captain McGee commanding; the other thirty-five miles west from Memphis, Captain Barton commanding. On the 12th instant Shelby was in the rear of Helena. His force, including Dobbin's command and Parsons' Texas troops, amounted to 1,800, mounted. No artillery reported. Shelby's force, including Mitchell's regiment, amounted to 2,255, mounted. Marmaduke's force is estimated at 2,300, mounted; eight guns. His headquarters are at Monticello, Ark. Fagan's force, mostly mounted, is estimated at 3,000 and four guns. This force is operating in the rear of Pine Bluff. Price is believed to have at Camden from 8,000 to 10,000 men; 9,000 infantry. The total regular force in Arkansas is estimated at 18,000 men. Total, including militia and conscripts, 30,000. It is understood that Price intends to enter Missouri in the fall by detachments. The informant head that Polignac was to attempt to cross the Mississippi with 7,000 men between Columbia and Natchez. This corresponds with statements from several other sources. He also heard that there were three regiments, with six guns, between Little Rock and Fort Smith, to stop communication between those points.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK W. MARSTON,
Major and Chief Signal Officer.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, August 26, 1864.
Colonel GARDNER BANKS,
COLONEL: I desire you to visit the several parishes, as far as it may be in your power, for the purpose of communicating with all classes of the people, to ascertain and report their condition and their relations with each other. It is unnecessary to say that the Government desires the prosperity of all parties, and that it is equally determined that the rights of all parties shall be recognized. You are sufficiently acquainted with the policy of the department for the last year and a half to be able, without detailed instructions, to ascertain if the expectations of the Government in this regard have been recognized. Particularly I desire to know if the negro laborer is treated as a man, if he does his duty, receives his pay, and if subject to punishment whether he is whipped or maimed or how punished, and what participations and influence the several provost-marshals have in maintaining the just relations of the laborer and the employer. I want it understood that the negro children must be educated. Planters should be informed that it is impossible to continue the laborers in their employ, unless