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[236] to commence the invasion at any moment, at any point he might select, while the great distances between the Confederate commands made it impossible to concentrate rapidly or assume the offensive. When the enemy should develop his plans, the Confederate maneuver was to endeavor to throw our whole force against one of the enemy's columns. Believing the enemy would choose the line of Red river as his main line of attack, when the water rose to admit gunboats in support of the movements of infantry, General Smith prepared to concentrate against the invasion, for this purpose establishing depots of subsistence and forage along the roads through the barren country between Tyler, Tex., and Red river, and between Camden, Ark., and the town of Natchitoches. The people of the Arkansas valley, given up to the Federals; were incredulous of the commander's plan of ‘drawing the enemy on,’ and the critical ones invented epigrams expressive of their belief in a disastrous result.

On March 5, 1864, General Holmes was notified by General Smith of the opening of the to-be famous Red river campaign, Federal operations having already been reported by General Taylor on the Ouachita. ‘By Northern dates of February 18th,’ wrote Smith, ‘the arrival at Little Rock of one of General Banks' staff was announced, with the statement that arrangements were being made for the cooperation of General Banks and General Steele. The intelligence from below makes it probable that a simultaneous movement from General Steele may be anticipated. . . . You may expect to wind up the campaign by making your headquarters at Little Rock.’

Sterling Price, returning from leave of absence March 8th, resumed command of his division, and wrote to General Smith advising him to concentrate 20,000 men and attack Steele, and relieve the armies east of the Mississippi by invading Missouri. On the 11th, Lieutenant-General Holmes, at his own request, was relieved by

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