HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Baton Rouge, La., November 16, 1864.
(Received 9 p. m. 18th.)
Brigadier General GEORGE L. ANDREWS:
You will endeavor to communicate with Brigadier-General Lee and inform him that by order of Major-General Hurlbut he will return with his entire force as soon as possible, and be ready for another move.
W. P. BENTON,
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
New Orleans, La., November 16, 1864.
Major General F. STEELE,
Commanding Department of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark.:
Your several dispatches, the last of the 9th instant, have been received. I have also received dispatches from Washington in relation to Sherman's proposed winter campaign and the arrangements required for co-operation on my part. With the view of perfecting these, I desire that so soon as the danger to your line of communication has passed the largest possible force of your command be held in readiness for immediate field service. The posts of Pine Bluff, Little Rock, and Devall's Bluff, and such connecting points as may be absolutely necessary, will be put in a perfect state of defense, strongly fortified and armed. Your requisitions for anything that may be wanted for this purpose will at once be approved. Permanent garrisons for the posts, limited to the smallest possible number consistent with their perfect safety, will be assigned. If it is found that the Arkansas River cannot be depended upon as a means of transportation to Fort Smith and her dependencies, and that land transportation has to be restored to, I leave it to General Reynolds and yourself to determine whether these posts had not better be abandoned. If you so decide, the orders should be issued at once, and all supplies, &c., be drawn in without delay. Be pleased to see that these instructions are carried into effect at the earliest possible moment, and especially that the points to be held are put in a proper condition. I was much shocked, while on the White River, to learn that Devall's Bluff had not been properly armed. I have recommended that re-enforcements be sent to your department to make up for the loss in regiments whose terms of service has expired.
E. R. S. CANBY,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., November 16, 1864.
Major General J. J. REYNOLDS,
Commanding Nineteenth Army Corps:
SIR: Previous to the receipt of Special Orders, Numbers 183, from Military Division of West Mississippi, the Sixth Minnesota Infantry had left this post for Saint Louis, in obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 170, from the same headquarters. The removal of the Twenty-third Wisconsin before the return of the Sixth Minnesota will leave this post almost destitute of white troops. I have the honor to request that the