There is not much of it, and the roads and streams are impassable in many places. If I cannot procure horses and mules from Price's army I shall not be able to move the troops, and if I had a proper organization before the troops come in (to-day being the limit to which the last of them were furloughed) I should not only have lost the men, but the mules and horses, and the same number of animals would have been feeding in the country scattered singly and in small parties. Hence, I could not have organized before to-day, but the late rains have so swollen Red River and the streams that some delay must still occur on that account. I have not yet received the decision at department headquarters as to which of the places there submitted has been selected. Most of this I have stated before, but it has this bearing now: The corn becoming more scarce, it is necessary to collect in it depots, and as our means of transportation are entirely inadequate a steamer is of the last importance to us. The river here is very high, and I am informed that though it may have risen only a few inches at Shreveport, yet there is quite water enough to take a light-draught steamer by way of the lake. If there be a steamer that can be brought above the raft, I cannot magnify the importance of its being done without delay. On the Ouachita my difficulties are also very great. There is very little corn on that stream above the Saline. The river is now up, and I must place corn at Tate's Bluff, Camden, and Pigeon Hill, or we cannot operate at all on that line next spring, and the enemy can take possession without a struggle. I depend in a great degree upon corn from the neighborhood of Monroe and Bastrop and I learn that the quartermaster of Harrison's brigade, stationed in that region, states that he has the sole right to the corn there. The troops of the Indian Territory are allowed to encamp for the winter on upper Red River, in my district on my left flank; corn is forbidden me in Louisiana on my right flank. There is none in my front, and I am directed not to use that in my rear (counties of Texas bordering on Red River) without the permission of my junior, Major-General Maxey, who has forced his troops into my district, and complained that my own troops are in his way, and all this seems to be by the authority, or at least subsequent direction, of the general commanding the department. Give me any district; I will promise to defend it to the full capacity of its resources, but situated as I am and have been, the energy of Napoleon, with the wisdom of Solomon, cannot insure success. I have proposed remedies frequently, but they have been rejected. In consequence of the rise of the river and streams I have changed the place at which I propose to dismount the cavalry from Lewisville to Fulton, and have sent to Lewisville for General Smith's reply to my letter conveying to him the ultimate places of organization.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
J. B. MAGRUDER,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,
Washington, December 27, 1864.
Honorable R. W. JOHNSON.
C. S. Senator from Arkansas:
DEAR SIR: Knowing your deep interest in the fate of this district, I send you a copy of a letter* of this date to Brigadier-General Boggs,
*See next, ante.