reason of Rosecrans
' defeat at Chickamauga
, and by Grant
's transfer to Tennessee
He had never lost the belief, during the ensuing months of inaction, that the frustrated expedition, grown riper for mischief and more dangerously equipped, would be renewed at some future day. This new movement of March, 1864, did not alarm him. What he had been doing in the interim had been to prepare his extensive department from Shreveport
, on the shortest line of communication, to Camden, Ark.
With permanent headquarters at Shreveport
, General Smith
knew that that city would be the meeting point of the two columns, advancing from Arkansas
) and from New Orleans (Banks
As showing the peculiar importance of Shreveport
to the successful holding for the Confederacy
of the Trans-Mississippi department, as the central point for west Louisiana
, and to the inadequacy of his available forces, General Smith
's report on the subject, June 11, 1864, is valuable as a summary of the situation.
At that time, two months after Taylor
's triumphant campaign, Shreveport
was still a city of the Confederacy
and the war capital of the (Confederate) State of Louisiana
. ‘The enemy was operating with a force of full 50,000 effective men. With the utmost powers of concentration not 25,000 men could be brought to meet their movements.
was made the point of concentration.
With its fortifications covering the depot, arsenals and shops at Jefferson
and above, it was a strategic point of vital importance.
All the infantry, not with Taylor
, opposed to Banks
, was directed to Shreveport
, with his cavalry command, was instructed to delay the march of Steele
's column while the concentration was effected.’
While Kirby Smith
was making ready for the vaunted expedition, so formidable in numbers, so thoroughly equipped in material, so confident of success, Banks
himself was beginning to be dubious of seeing Steele