not a shadow of doubt that all the subsequent criticising and complaints of himself and friends, are entirely the results of pique. There seems to be among them a settled determination to place to his credit all the favorable contingencies that might have happened had operations been differently conducted. People will not be content to let well enough alone. They cannot be made to understand that an enemy may sometimes be defeated, but that the most consummate skill cannot insure the capture of his whole force. Nowadays we rarely hear of a fight in which our men have conducted themselves respectably but that there comes along some account of our having the enemy hemmed in, cut off, or all bagged. Even sensible men will indulge and encourage this morbid appetite for the incredible. Hence it follows, that frequently after a campaign, in which the odds have been greatly against us, and during which the mass of the people exposed have been hopeless of the result, and ready to take the oath of allegiance to the enemy, these very people, whose miserable cowardice and want of determination are a disgrace to the country, find it unaccountable, perfectly outrageous, that the Yankees were not all destroyed. Utter annihilation is generally the only thing that will at all suffice for these pseudo savage “stay-at-homes.” I do not think General Smith's late campaign admits a well-grounded criticism. All turns upon a comparison of the objects to be gained by operating against Banks or Steele after Pleasant Hill. That it was impossible for us to pursue Banks immediately (under four or five days) cannot be gainsaid. It was impossible because we did not have transportation for supplies, and impossible because we had been beaten, demoralized, paralyzed, in the fight of the ninth. One week was the shortest time in which we could put ourselves before the enemy at Natchitoches. By that time, he had constructed strong works in a naturally strong position. Could we, weakened by the loss of two thousand five hundred men, and demoralized by defeat, beat the enemy here in a fortified position with a force superior to ours as seven to four? It would seem that pursuit with a small force of men to harass the enemy constantly, was more effective than would have been the slow pursuit of a large force destitute of supplies. We were not strong enough to drive the enemy from his position, and if he retreated of his own accord, we might as well be actively employed elsewhere — near enough all the time to meet any advance movement of his. A comparison can hardly be instituted between the results flowing from the defeat of Banks and that of Steele. The former rested on his gunboats. His retreat was comparatively secure, and our pursuit, beyond a certain point, impossible. Steele was more than two hundred miles from Helena, his permanent base of operations and supplies. His communications were through an open, fine country, where his trains could be attacked at any point, and with nothing protect him from being wholly devoured our cavalry, could we once break his lines. The regaining the capital of the new State Government would give us, perhaps, eight to ten thousand men, while with Steele back upon the Mississippi, or his force destroyed, our cavalry might now be in Missouri. Unfortunately, in this department, the immense tracts of deserted country, and the want of transportation sufficient to carry supplies over them, places narrow limits to the possible achievements of our troops, and distance becomes one of the principal elements in a military problem. I contend that our failure to break up Steele's force, if not to capture or destroy it, resulted from an accident which could not be foreseen, and had nothing to do with the conception of the plans. I mean General Fagin's not putting himself in Steele's front between the Washita and the Saline. Even had our pontoon arrived in time, we would most probably have fought him on fair ground and signally defeated him. On the other hand, had we become seriously involved with Banks on Lower Red River, Steele might have advanced and seized Shreveport and Marshall before we could extricate ourselve to meet him. The defeat of our army before Natchitoches would have lost the department. Some persons say the campaign was successful, but it might have been so much better had this or that been done differently. Very true. But it might have been so much worse. That any action will be taken in this matter by the President, I have not the least idea; but I have a pride that matters should be understood correctly by the people, and particularly by General Smith's friends.
General Emory's reports.
headquarters First division, Nineteenth army corps, Grand Ecore, La., April 12, 1864.Major: In obedience to orders from headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of the First division at the battles of Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Hill on the eighth and ninth instant. At three o'clock, forty minutes, P. M., on the eighth, while bivouacked at a stream seven miles east of Sabine Cross Roads, I received orders to march to the front with two days rations. A delay of a few minutes was caused in issuing the rations, when the division marched rapidly forward without a single halt. When within three miles of the field of battle, the head of my column was met by a cloud of fugitive negroes, on horseback, followed soon after by masses of cavalry, wagons, and ambulances in the utmost confusion. The head of my column, undaunted by this awful spectacle, only quickened their pace to the front. About this time I received several messages from the Major-General commanding to select a position and form line of battle. I found one, and in the act of commencing to form, a tremendous rush was made on the line by the mass of fugitives, and the enemy's shot began to drop amongst us.
Major Wickham Hoffman, A. A. General, Nineteenth Army Corps:
Major Wickham Hoffman, A. A. General, Nineteenth Army Corps: