and Rockport, to join General Steele's command at Arkadelphia; the march of General Steele's entire command from Little Rock toward Washington and occupation of Camden; the march of General Carr to Mount Elba in January last, and the many scouting parties from Pine Bluff to and in the vicinity of Monticello sent by General Clayton have all combined together in stripping this belt of country of forage and subsistence except for very small parties. To prevent their negroes from leaving them every planter in this section has moved to the Red River or into Texas. A very large number of residents of the country have moved in that direction, and deserted houses are more common to be seen than occupied ones. This portion of the State and, as far as that is concerned, the entire State, was never thickly settled, and hence these roads pass through a deserted country until you get to the southern boundary that I have named.
The character of the roads is so well known that I will merely state that since the rebellion no work has ever been done upon them by the inhabitants of the country through which they pass. Hence the bridges are all unsafe where any exist, and where the roads have been corduroyed they are in a worse condition than the ordinary mud road.
I think I am safe in saying that it is absolutely necessary that forage and subsistence must be taken as far as Paraclifta. The distances to be passed over, the difficulties to be met with in bad roads, and the scarcity and the poverty which prevails must be taken into consideration, and you, general, can better decide the number of days necessary to make the march than I can.
I have not discussed the roads leading through the Indian Territory to the same point, not deeming it necessary from our discussion of the matter.
I shall here drop the subject for the present. I have taken Paraclifta as the point of assembling, for from that place the column can move toward the Red River in any direction the general commanding may order, and on reacg this stream the army is in a country which has never been passed over by a moving force, and we may expect subsistence and forage in quantity.
Hoping sincerely, general, that I have drawn up what you wish in this letter, I remain, with respect, your obedient servant,
J. B. WHEELER,
Captain of Engineers, Chief Engineer of Department.
HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., April 14, 1865.
Little rock, via Fort Smith:
Thirteen hundred horses sent you to-day. Balance to fill your regiments will be sent immediately.
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. 1ST DIV., 7TH ARMY CORPS, Numbers 15.
AND POST OF LITTLE ROCK, Little Rock, Ark., April 14, 1865.
Captain T. F. Vaughn, Battery A, Third Illinois Artillery, is hereby announced as chief of artillery of the First Division, Seventh Army
7 R R-VOL XLVIII, PT II