War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 1068 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

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and General J. B. Clark, will go by the Bonham road to Texas, being governed by the earlier prospect of getting forage on this road and avoiding the rougher roads and streams on the Doaksville road, which on account of the late rains and weakened condition of his stock would be almost impassable.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,

L. A. MACLEAN,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,

Shreveport, November 21, 1864.

His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,

President of the Confederate, States:

SIR: After the battle of Jenkins' Ferry I ordered General Shelby with his brigade of cavalry, about 1,200 picked men, into the White River country with instructions to break up the railroad between Little Rock and Devall's Bluff, upon which, during the low stage of water in the Arkansas, the enemy depended for the transportation of supplies. He was also directed to collect and organize the men subject to conscription, and all absentees from the army to be found in that section of country, and to prepare them for operations which I proposed initiating there about the middle of August. Repeated efforts had previously failed to bring south of the Arkansas River troops collected in that part of the State since the occupation by the enemy of Little Rock; and it was found impossible at that time to render them available elsewhere. Shelby by great exertion collected some 8,000 men, and by a series of brilliant dashes against the enemy, attended with extraordinary success and usually against heavy odds, he was enabled to some extent to arm and equip his new levies from captured property. About the last of July I received instructions from General Bragg to cross the infantry from the Districts of Western Louisiana and Arkansas to the east side of the Mississippi River, with an urgent appeal from the War Department to make a diversion in favor of our troops in Mobile and the army pressed by Sherman in Northern Georgia. A movement down the narrow peninsula between the Atchafalaya and Mississippi to threaten New Orleans with the enemy fortified in force at Morganza, was a military impracticability, promising no results while they controlled the Mississippi with formidable fleets of iron-clads. Of all the operations within the scope of our means and position in this department, an expedition into Missouri alone promised favorable results. The some of the people, disaffected and excited by the expected enforcement of the draft, the urgent appeals made by influential men in the State that General Price might be sent there with a force, and with assurances that he would receive support from the people, were strong reasons for the attempt. The crisis seemed favorable and everything indicated that the movement would be a successful diversion in favor of our troops east of the Mississippi River. On the 24th of July the telegram was received directing the crossing of the infantry in the District of West Louisiana. All the disposable means of the department were employed to insure success. General Taylor was ordered to conduct the movement, and General Walker, commanding District of West Louisiana, was instructed to support him with the resources of that district in men and material. My proposed operations in Arkansas