War of the Rebellion: Serial 102 Page 0139 Chapter LX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -UNION

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be spared the devastation and misery inflicted upon all the Southern States east of the Mississippi; that by the result of our operations in Virginia and North Carolina and at Mobile the United States can now throw overwhelming forces into the Trans-Mississippi Department, and that if by retaining a hostile position he forces such a concentration of troops upon Texas, terms will be dictated of a very different character and only after forcible occupation of Texas, with all the suffering and horror which attend the march of large armies and extensive military operations. I have also given Colonel Sprague private instructions which may facilitate action on the part of Kirby Smith. Colonel Sprague will communicate to you from mouth of White River on his return the general result of his mission, from which I am constrained to say that I expect very little. Since I began this letter I have received your letter of the 14th instant, inclosing Captain Wheeler's notes of the country south of Arkansas River. I regret very much that you do not view the proposed movement favorably, but I know very well that under any circumstances your cordial and earnest co-operation is entirely to be relied on. I think the problem one that can be solved, and as, if solved according to my plan, it promises complete results, I think the operations I propose worth some risk and much labor. We must get over about 175 miles of desert and difficult country, depending upon our own resources. This distance can probably be traversed, even with the obstacles we must meet, in about twenty-five days. I have never thought of carrying with us less than fifty days' supplies; not full supplies of all articles, but only of the principal necessaries. I will arrange with Canby, if possible, to send some considerate force to mouth of Red River, so that if the enemy evacuate the lower part of the river they can go up preceded by gunboats as far as practicable. By the time we reach Marshall, in Texas, it is probable that the Red River below Shreveport will be evacuated by the enemy for concentration against us. This will allow us, if successful against them either in battle or by their retreat into Texas, to communicate with Shreveport and draw supplies. This result, however, is only a possible contingency, and will not in the least enter into our calculations. The question simply is, can we march an army of 50,000 men from the Arkansas to the Red River (a distance, say, of 200 miles), carrying our own supplies, in view of bad roads and the ordinary operations of nature? It is my belief that we can. I think you will agree with me that if such a march can be made we secure complete and decisive results, and we must therefore bend our whole energies to the accomplishment of this task. Admitting the worst combination of obstacles-weather, roads, &c. - I would be glad to have an estimate from you of the time you would require to march you force of 20,000 men to Paraclifta, carrying as follows, viz: Rations (that is, sugar, coffee, flour, one-seventh salt meat, and triple ration of salt), 200 surplus rounds of ammunition for each piece of artillery, and 250 surplus rounds of small ammunition to each musket, with such forage as is absolutely necessary. I would also like to have as exact an estimate as possible of the number of wagons you would think necessary. Troops will, I suppose, begin to arrive in Arkansas by May 10, perhaps sooner-perhaps somewhat later-I cannot now tell exactly. I have instructed Colonel Haines to throw into Little Rock rations for sixty days for 55,000 men in addition to the rations you now have on hand; also to Lieutenant-Colonel Myers to throw the necessary forage for the same force exclusive of that you have on hand. You must