had been ordered to report to Lieut.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith
He was directed:
To assemble the scattered and furloughed men, who had passed west of the river, of the brigade recently commanded by you at the surrender of Vicksburg, take command, and proceed to organize and equip them as perfectly as maybe practicable.
You will discriminate between such as before the final departure from Vicksburg were, by the act or with the complicity of the enemy, contrary to the terms of the capitulation, transferred to the west bank of the Mississippi, and those who afterward by straggling, or after furlough, returned to that side, and return lists as early as possible of the two classes, both to the general commanding the Trans-Mississippi department and to the adjutant and inspector-general here.
The first class will, with the approval of the commanding general, be regarded as discharged from all obligations of parole and free for immediate service.
Of the exchange or discharge of the others you will be informed as soon as it can be effected. . . . It is desirable that these troops be returned from the west to the east side of the Mississippi; but in reference to the ultimate disposition of your brigade, you will obey such instructions as may be given by the commanding general of the Trans-Mississippi department.
On the 7th of October, Gen. Kirby Smith
wrote to General Holmes
, instructing him in regard to the disposition of his forces; directing the removal of the telegraph line from Arkadelphia
, and the removal of army stores from Washington
; that the position at Arkadelphia
was good only as covering the magazine at Washington, Ark.
; that Camden
was a better position than Arkadelphia
for the infantry; the Little Missouri a stronger front than the Ouachita
, as its bottoms in winter are impassable; that concentration at Camden
would be easy, and the line of retreat toward Shreveport
would be secured.
This contemplated the abandonment of all territory in Arkansas
. General Smith
explained the necessity for such dispositions as follows:
You will see that the force below Shreveport [under