to constitute his command be allowed to remain under my orders until all eh preparations necessary are completed. He thinks this would insure grater secrecy. If this meets the approval of the general commanding please inform him that I should only regard myself as the channel through which General Taylor would communicate his orders, as I would be guided entirely by is suggestions. I am sorry to inform you that the secrecy, so necessary to the success of this movement,is no longer possible. The two officers sent form Clinton, La., by Colonel Scott as bearers ofthe order in duplicate were very improper intrusted with a knowledge ofthe nature of their dispatches, and have spread the news far and wide. It is now, I learn, a common topic of discussion in the infantry camps and some of our most devoted and patriotic officers express themselves alarmed at the prevailing tone of discontent. I hope for th best but I cannot but feel apprehensive. The general commanding may at least rest assured that nothing will be left undone by me to insure the success of the movement. The dispatches,* which are inclosed with this, were received here an hour ago, and were open and read by them. Their contents were communicated only to Lieutenant- General Taylor.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. G. WALKER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,
Camden, August 1, 1864.
Colonel S. S. ANDERSON,
Asst. Adjt. General, Trans- Mississippi Department, Shreveport, La:
COLONEL: General Price left this place for Shreveport this morning. In his absence I forward the inclosed copies of communications from Generals Fagan and Shelby,+ with the request that you will, after perusal, hand them to him upon his arrival. Major Lawrence, who brought the dispatch from General Shelby, left him at Augusta on Wednesday last (27th July), at 11.30 a. m. He was then moving his brigade, 1,400 strong, down White River to a point fifteen or twenty miles below Clarendon, where he would be joined by Dobbin with 835 effective and well armed men. He intended to blockade the river at this point, and draw the Federal forces out of Saint Charles. Colonel McCray moved from Jacksonport on Tuesday (26th) with 1,700 men, well armed and mounted, to march to the vicinity of Brownsville ont he railroad, with a view of operating eastward from that place. Dobbin attacked the enemy on Monday 25th) near Trenton, on Big Creek, about twenty miles from Helena. Their force, consisting of two negro and two white regiments, was driven within six miles of Helena, leaving 70 dead on the field. Our loss, 30 killed, wounded, and missing. Previous to this affair Gordon's regiment had joined Dobbin, with a view to waste the plantations about Helena. Colonel Jackman, Colonel Coffee, Lieutenant-Colonels Schnable and Hunter, with an aggregate force of 1, 710 men, were left on White River to guard it from Jacksonport to Batesville. Colonel Freeman was encamped in Lawrence County, with about 700 men, partially armed with pistols and shotguns. In addition to these, 2,000 men have been sworn in and furloughed, to report to Colonel Freeman on 1st August (to- day). Shelby's total effective force is now between
*See Butler to Smith, July 29 (inclosure Nos.1, 2, and 3) p. 1029
+Fagan's not found; for Shelby's, see July 27, p. 1027.