War of the Rebellion: Serial 086 Page 1078 LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI. Chapter LIII.

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so large a portion of Canby's army. My opinion is that Steele and Canby intended to advance, and if possible to occupy the line of the Ouachita previous to General Price's advance into Missouri. Canby's troops have been removed from the mouth of White River to Little Rock, since General Price's army has been considered in safety. It may be said that Steele has ordered these troops to Little Rock to supply the place of those who have been sent to Fort Smith, and who have not returned, but he could have secured the safety of that place as well by keeping these troops at the mouth of White River or at Devall's Bluff. I had laid before the commanding general my plan for the distribution of the troops, and it was at least a week after my letter was sent before the march commenced. Receiving no answer I took it for granted it met with the approbation of the commanding general, and they were disposed in such a way as to enable me to march them to this point if it became necessary to defend the line of the Ouachita, whilst they were near enough to send their wagons to make depots on that line to enable them to operate. As it is I fear that I cannot get supplies on that line now that these troops are moved, and that they themselves will be too remote to afford assistance in time if required. Though authorized to retain these troops if threatened by an immediate advance of the enemy, in consideration of the severity of the weather and their being deficient in clothing, I did not consider myself as justified in keeping them from their winter quarters at Minden, as designated by the commanding general, without strong evidence of an intention on the part of the enemy to advance immediately. After waiting a few days, I therefore gave the orders for them to march to Minden. At that time a large portion of Canby's forces were still at the mouth of White River, and no news of the continued pursuit of Price by Curtis and Blunt had reached me.

As soon as I heard that General Price was crossing the Arkansas River between Forts Smith and Gibson, I sent him orders to report to me the number of his troops, their organization, arms, &c., directing him to march to the neighborhood of Laynesport, his left flank resting on that point, and his right flank down the Red River facing the enemy. These orders it appears from his letters to department headquarters have either not been received, or if received, have been disobeyed. As I sent them through General Maxey I presume they were received, and that General Price not having been then placed by instructions from department headquarters under my orders, thought himself justified in disregarding them. However, it is certain from his letter to department headquarters, which was referred to me, that he has gone into Texas with most of his troops, and that it will be a long time before the organization ordered from department headquarters can be practically effected. The commanding general may, however, rest assured that not a moment has been or will be lost by me in accomplishing this important purpose. I hoped to have met General Price at Washington within a day or two, as nothing could be done properly without ascertaining the present number of his troops, their organization, and condition. General Fagan I learned has furloughed his men until the 10th of December, and I meet them on every road, and I have not seen one of them armed, and am told that most of Price's troops have thrown away their arms. I think it certain that they brought out fewer arms than they took in, and I fear that they have not returned with one-half of them. All this must be known to the enemy, for I am informed that many of his men have gone to the Federal army. I hear of one regiment, a Colonel Hunter's, that came by Caddo Gap well mounted and