HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,
Lewisville, November 7, 1864.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,
Chief of Staff, Shreveport:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from General Smith to General Maxey, the last paragraph of which reads as follows:
Your communication relative to the orders from the District of Arkansas, transferring Gano's brigade to that command, has been received. The papers have all been forwarded to General Magruder. The orders were issued by him, I have no doubt, through some misapprehension of instructions from department headquarters, and no "official discourtesy" was intended you.
In reply, I have to state that no discourtesy was intended and none offered. Whilst the army under my command was at Monticello, desiring to put troops in front of Washington and Fulton, then exposed to attack by the enemy, and having been notified by department headquarters that General Maxey had been ordered to co-operate with me, I requested General Maxey to move his troops toward the Arkansas line. Finding that unless they took post somewhere in Arkansas they would not be near enough to Washington to afford the protection desired, I requested him to place them at some point in Arkansas whence that could be done. I have not any papers with me, and speak entirely from memory, but be my recollection of this matter accurate or not, it is of no consequence, for I was informed that Gano's brigade was marching to Laynesport, which is in Arkansas if the maps be correct. Once in my district, it would have been my duty under the Rules and Articles of War, and under my responsibility as a district commander, to have commanded these troops, and Major-General Maxey, if he were with them. I, however, invited General Maxey, through his adjutant-general. [He] declined to meet me, however, giving as a conclusive reason, among others, that he had to attend a conference of the Choctaw Nation, without stating where. Desiring Rock was determined upon, I sent an order through Major-General Wharton to the commanding officer of Gano's brigade, directing him to proceed to Murfreesborough in order to be in position to move forward without delay if required. I could not suppose it otherwise than that Major-General Maxey sent the troops into Arkansas in good faith, and in order to render service, and I could not be guilty of the absurdity of sending via the headquarters of the troops whose services are required an order to their permanent commander at twice the distance from me, simply to insure its passing through him. A channel, though usually followed, is departed from when immediate public interests are involved, and in this case the supposition was that Major-General Maxey had left his own headquarters and gone I knew not whither to attend a convention of the Choctaws. The order was, therefore, given direct to the commanding officer of the brigade, Colonel Gurley, at Laynesport, whose duty it was to have ordered it at once, I being responsible to our common superior for the exercise of my legal right to give an order. Though Colonel Gurley says that he prepared to obey my order promptly, still I observe he awaited sufficient length of time to receive orders from Major-General Maxey, countermanding mine, and evidently written with a view to defeat the movement which I desired. The discourtesy, therefore, if any, was offered to me and not by me. It happens in this case no evil consequences have resulted from Major-Gen-