there will be required 11,000 infantry, 3,500 cavalry, nine batteries of light artillery, and forty-two pieces of artillery in position, required 500 artillerists. These numbers are absolutely necessary, in my opinion, to hold in check an advance of the enemy in force. Each garrison could hold out for a respectable period until assistance from here toward the south, then, of course, these garrisons could be reduced one-half, as the moving column in itself would be a protection to all in its rear.
The extent of front to be protected at Little Rock is about four miles. A square redoubt with counterscarp galleries forms the key of the position. This redoubt mounts eight guns, six of which are 20-pounder Parrotts; rifle-pits, batteries, &c., flank it. All timber in front of this line for a distance varying form one mile to two, never less than one, has been cut down.
At Pine Bluff, by taking advantage of a lake, the front protected by rifle-pits and batteries is about one mile, and places for thirty guns. I derive this from an inspection made last summer by myself. Since then the works have been strengthened, and I have a party making a complete survey of the town and its vicinity, which will be finished in a few days.
Devall's Bluff is badly located for defense in many respects. I have laid out, and there are now in process of construction, three inclosed redoubts, requiring for a firm defense the numbers before given. Fortunately the railroad from this place to Devall's Bluff runs over few bridges and through open prairie. A few infantry scattered along, with Brownsville as a center, and a fair proportion of cavalry can always protect it against ordinary raids.
Fort Smith has a front inclosed by redoubts, batteries, and rifle-pits of about three miles. With a force moving from its front the garrison could be reduced to 1,000 infantry, one battery of six guns, movable, eight pieces of artillery in position, with men to serve them, and 500 cavalry. To make a respectable resistance against a strong force this estimate should be doubled.
I have not referred to Fort Gibson, merely regarding it as an out post, of service only in passage of trains from Fort Scott in transitu for Fort Smith.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. WHEELER,
Captain of Engineers, Chief Engineer, &c.
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS,
HDQRS. NINETEENTH ARMY CORPS, Numbers 25.
Mouth of White River, Ark., November 24, 1864.
1. Brigadier General E. S. Dennis, commanding Second Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, will proceed with the First Brigade of his division and the Twenty-sixth New York and Fifteenth Massachusetts, Batteries to Memphis, Tenn., reporting en route at mouth of White River, and report to the commanding officer at that place. Quartermaster's department will furnish transportation.
* * * *
By command of Major General J. J. Reynolds:
S. C. FARRINGTON,
Major and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.