War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 1070 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

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Washington, Ark., October 12, 1864, and approved at district headquarters. The immediate reports called for, of hired slaves and free negroes, will be forwarded to Major Elliston, chief quartermaster of division, for transmittal to Major W. W. Johnson, commanding of Slave Bureau, Washington. The reports called for monthly will be forwarded promptly, brigade commanders noticing all failures to comply therewith.

By command of Major-General Churchill:


Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.


Shreveport, November 21, 1864.

General E. K. SMITH,

Commanding Trans-Mississippi Department:

GENERAL: In advance of the tabular report of inspection required by the War Department, on a form which does not provide for the following statements and recommendations, I have the honor to submit for your consideration the following:

I find that the command of cavalry, which constitutes the entire force of the District of West Louisiana, save the brigade of infantry stationed at Alexandria, cover an area of country so great as to render them effective only as a corps of observation, and as a check to small raiding parties of the enemy;s that the country from near Alexandria to the Atchafalaya and down the Teche to Berwick Bay is in a state of such devastation as to render it impossible for the horses to be foraged from any portion of the territory which they occupy or which is contiguous. During the months of July and August they were able to subsist scantily on the grass, and partially so in September. Now, however, this recourse is taken from them, and I do not see how the lines, extended as they are, can be maintained by using cavalry, unless some means be devised to supply them with corn. I respectfully recommend the establishment of depots at points between Alexandria and the line of occupation, those depots to be of, say, four days' capacity and to be supplied from Alexandria and points lower down Red River, where water transportation can be used. Though there is great scarcity of wagon transportation, I think by taking some of the wagons from the divisions of Generals Forney and Polignac, who have an amount in excess of that allowed by orders, together with the wagons which could be drawn from the cavalry force without injury, a supply train sufficiently large could be organized to provide for the wants of men and horses, as regard subsistence. To effect any good by this means greater energy must be used to keep the main depot, at Alexandria, supplied than has formerly been shown. I saw when there not long since that the post quartermaster at that point was entirely out of corn for his animals. That depot is supplied by water transportation from above. This matter of forage is a serious one, and unless measures be taken, and at an early day, the cavalry must be withdrawn from their present lines or the animals will die. I find also by inspection, that with the exception of the Seventh (late Fourth) Regiment Louisiana Cavalry and First Texas Cavalry, not one word in commendation can be said of officers or men, as relates to their drill, discipline, order, appearance, police of camps, care of animals, and public property. Many of the commands have received compliments from the general