been intrusted to me, and I might content myself with having performed my duty, but I cannot acquit myself to my own conscience without again presenting in a condensed form and in the plainest manner my views on the subject:
First. If the enemy attempts to occupy Red River he should be met on the Ouachita and Little Missouri, some fifty miles in front of Red River. If he be not met there and defeated he will occupy the line of the Ouachita and will have made a long stride toward the occupation of Red River, when he will have nothing left before him but the single District of Texas.
Second. On the line of the Ouachita there are no supplies nor are there any in front of it. Therefore depots of supplies must be provided in advance or our troops cannot even meet the enemy on that line.
Third. I had so disposed the troops as to have had it in my power to use their surplus transportation to forward to the line of the Ouachita these supplies, bur the stations of the larger part of them, Forney's and Polignac's divisions, were changed by orders from department headquarters and established at too great a distance from the line of the Ouachita to admit of the use of their wagons without detaching them to haul supplies to that line.
Fourth. To remedy this evil I can see no other way than still to use the surplus wagons of Forney's and Polignac's divisions to haul these supplies to the line of the Ouachita. This can be done and the surplus wagons of Churchill's and Parson's divisions of infantry can likewise be used for the same purpose, and after a sufficient quantity of supplies are thus places in depot, one-half of all the wagons cab be turned over if desirable to the inspector of transportation of the District of Arkansas and Louisiana. I have just received an order to turn over half of the wagons and teams of this command, viz, Churchill's, Parson's, and Price's divisions. If this be done it is obvious I cannot get supplies to the Ouachita line.
Fifth. I applied for 1,000 negroes in September last to construct the field works necessary to the defense of the Ouachita line, including the Little Missouri. I reported to General Smith that only eighty-five negroes could be obtained, taking on-fifth of the able-bodied negroes in each county of this district; that from 100,000 to 150,000 slaves had gone to Texas from Arkansas and Missouri; that the planters here would be driven off by further impressment of their negroes, wagons, and teams, and no more crops would be pitched if that occurred, and that the necessary impressments should be made in Texas. He replies that the impressment of one-fifth of the slaves between the prescribed ages was for the war, and that I might impress as many as I pleased in Arkansas, for current purposes. This was my understanding of his answer. I did not think the law allowed impressments of negroes beyond one-fifth between the prescribed ages in each county, and if it did the effect would be the same, viz, to drive the planters from Red River and thus to lose the valley of the Red River. To remedy this I would still respectfully suggest that the requisite negro force be impressed from Texas by order of the general commanding the department, or that a certain number of counties be assigned to my district from Texas and I be allowed to impress this force, and if this is not done, and I am expected to impress more than one-fifth as above explained from each county, that the general commanding will give me an order to do so, as I am sure the law is not construed by the planters as it is by General Smith, and that many complaints will be sent up to him of such impressments. The places to be fortified are the crossings