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[177] will be the advance, and will rendezvous at a point hereafter to be designated. Fagan's brigade will march on the lower Little Rock road. . . .

Neither Tappan's, Cooper's, Cabell's nor Frost's brigade was engaged in the attack on Helena. General Holmes, who now assumed command in the field, had hitherto remained at headquarters at Little Rock, charging himself with the general interests of the district. Unfortunately, there was no general system managed by a common head, each district acting independently. The vast extent of country to be governed and protected, and the absorbing interest of Missouri affairs, probably bewildered the department commander, while the hope of advancing into that State, no doubt, controlled him in the policy he pursued.

During the concentration against Helena, the commanding general was in receipt of dispatches from subordinate commanders, giving glimpses of stirring events taking place along the Mississippi river, on his front, attendant upon the movements of the Federal army against Vicksburg. From General Marmaduke a dispatch June 14th, read: ‘A scout from the Mississippi river, 30 miles above Memphis, reports ten transports passed two days ago, going south, loaded with negro troops. I am firmly of the opinion that all the troops that can be spared are being sent to reinforce Grant; that New Madrid, Memphis and Helena are very weak.’ Major McLean, adjutant-general of Price's division, forwarded the following, June 13th: ‘A pilot who has been running the river from Memphis, says that if he can get protection from our side, we can capture from one to fifteen boats at Island No.63, where Dobbin has been firing on transports while passing.’ From General Price, June 15th: ‘Two hundred and fifty men, with small howitzers, have been sent to a point on the river north of Memphis, and 400 men with a section of Collins' battery (one piece rifled) to a point on the river below Memphis, with ’

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