War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 0916 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

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Devall's Bluff, December 22, 1864.


President of the United States:

MY DEAR SIR: Major-General Reynolds came up the river yesterday and went on to Little Rock to assume command of the department. General Steele went down the river five days ago. We have had heavy rains of late and the rivers are up gain. We shall take advantage of the navigation to send some boats up the Arkansas. Since my last my scouts have captured some more prisoners, including one lieutenant-colonel. In the past six weeks my scouts have captured 80 prisoners, including 14 commissioned officers, and the only loss or accident we have met with in these operations was that of a soldier who was accidently drowned. I came here early in July, and since that time have saved the Government $30,000 in the item of captured beef alone. I am, however, ordered out of the department having been assigned to the command of the Third Brigade, Reserve Corps, late Nineteenth Corps, Military Division of West Mississippi, with headquarters at Morganza. My successor in command of this post is General Shaler, who will probably be here in three or four days, but I do not know who will succeed me in command of the Second Division. It appears that my superiors did not take into consideration that I am in command of a division, though it is somewhat detached. It is rather painful to leave the division, I having been associated with a part of the troops ever since i was mustered in as a private in 1861. General Reynolds says there was not a breath of dissatisfaction with me, and that it was considered a lift to assign me to the brigade of movable troops, but considering the importance of this post, and that I was a division commander, it will hardly be regarded a step up. That makes no difference however, if I can be more efficient in the new place, which remains to be seen. So much in war depends on chance that I have ever feared to ask to stay or to go, lest in the end I might seem to have attempted to control fortune. I have, however,always desired to be in large and active army. On this point of chance, let me call your attention to an eloquent passage in Napier's Peninsular War, Vol. 1 (Redfield's edition), p. 245. You probably have it in your library.

General Reynolds and his inspector, Major A. D. Nelson, agreed with me that we ought to have 300,000 more men got in readiness.

Yours, truly,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

P. S.- I beg leave to inclose a letter from Governor Murphy.*

PINE BLUFF, ARK., December 22, 1864.

Captain C. H. DYER,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

A party sent down the river for beef have returned. After going a few miles they were forced to return on account of the water. Every bayou is overflowing and the roads inundated. I am convinced that it is impossible to send a party far enough down the river to be of any assistance to the fleet.


Brigadier-General, Commanding.


* Not found.