Today in History:

81 Series I Volume XXXIV-III Serial 63 - Red River Campaign Part III


LITTLE ROCK, April 7, 1864.

(Received 10th.)

Major-General ROSECRANS,

Commanding Department of the Missouri:

GENERAL: Your dispatch is received.* I thank you. General Steele left here the 24th ultimo, and is now at or near Camden. We have no direct news from him. The rebels are reported to be falling back to Shreveport. The force left me is of such a king that I cannot make excursions after guerrillas. At Fort Smith I have 800 men, and on the Arkansas River, between here and there, about 800; at Batesville and on the White River, about 1,000 of which probably not more than a half are effective. At Deval's Bluff I have about 900 men, with 50 miles of railroads and depots to protect, and at Pine Bluff about 1,200, and at Little Rock about 3,000 effective men.

the force left me is composed principally of men who were unfit for the march toward Ridding's, the country of guerrillas. The policy has been not to seize horses, and the rebels having gathered up all that were worth Ridding's, the country of guerrillas. The policy has been not to seize horses, and the rebels having gathered up all that were worth anything I might mount a few by taking the horses of citizens. The country north of White River is infested with bands of guerrillas under McRae, numbering in all near 1,200 men under different local leaders. They depredate in the counties of Searcy, Van Buren, Independence, Jackson, and up toward Pocahontas, and in the country between Arkansas and White Rivers there are several bands. I have no force with which I can successfully act against them. There is scarcely a sufficient number at Helena to protect the post. White River is navigable to Jacksonport at all times. From that point to Pocahontas is 65 miles, with good roads, and through a section with plenty of forage.

I concentrated quite a force last week and sent an expedition up White River against McRae's force (numbering about 600 men), under Colonel Andrews, who forced him to fight, though numbering only 200 men, and really gave him a good thrashing, killing and wounding 125 and occupying Pocahontas. You could send subsistence stores up the White River, if troops can be stationed at Jacksonport. My garrison is at Batesville, 35 miles above. I will rejoice to move with you and once more be under your command. I think now of seizing horses and mounting men, and make an attempt to disperse or capture McRae's force. I have a small force at Fayetteville.

Very respectfully,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.

PILOT KNOB, April 7, 1864.

Brigadier-General EWING,

Commanding District of Saint Louis:

I could not well spare a full company from here to go to Saint Genevieve, but the company stationed at Farmington, being a good company and commanded by good officers, can well be spared, and will be of no earthly use there, as there is some military at Saint


*See April 6, p.61.