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[232] was fortified and held as an advanced post. It was Smith's information that by drawing in his outposts Steele could concentrate 12,000 effective men. Against these Holmes had but 5,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry, a force which Mouton's division would swell to 12,000. Consequently, the projected blow for the Arkansas valley was abandoned as ‘Quixotic and impracticable.’ Regarding the disposition of the Confederate forces, General Smith said: ‘General Holmes will place his troops in winter quarters, holding the line of the Ouachita, and will endeavor to discipline and improve their morale for operations in the spring. . The Texas brigade goes directly to Texas. Price holds his Missouri division ready to move as circumstances may require.’ General Smith had been notified that 25,000 stand of arms were at the Mississippi, to be crossed for his troops, and General Mouton was directed to use his division, aiding Col. L. F. Harrison, and reinforced by Dockery's 900 unarmed mounted infantry—paroled Vicksburg prisoners—to cover and protect their transportation to Monroe.

General Marmaduke, who was to lead the advance to the Arkansas river, and had reached Camden, in his letter of the 28th to his adjutant-general, Maj. Henry Ewing, wrote, ‘The whole program is changed.’ He set forth the new plan, which was for the cavalry to operate on the Mississippi and Arkansas rivers. Therefore Marmaduke did not move except for forage. Shelby remained in the passes of the Little Missouri around Murfreesboro, in Pike county, Cabell in the black lands of Hempstead, on the Ozanne and Plum creek, amidst impassable black mud, but where there is corn in abundance, only 12 miles from Washington. His brigade of about 3,000 men made the best of the situation. The officers and men got up horse-races. The young officers were entertained by the pretty girls—daughters of Colonel Cannon, Dr. Brown, Dr. Walker, and Mrs. Stuart, at Columbus, and of Dr. Jett, Major Witter, and Mr. Britton, at Washington. Many

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