January 2, 1864,
Major General R. Taylor to Brigadier General A. Morton
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST LOUISIANA,
Alexandria, January 2, 1864.
Brig. Gen. A. MORTON, Commanding Division:
GENERAL: Your communication of the 30th ultimo, inclosing copies of correspondence, &c., has been received. I have learned indirectly that the supplies spoken of were near Port Gibson some ten days since, and that Brig. Gen. Wirt Adams was waiting an opportunity to cross them. In my opinion this cannot be done by assembling a considerable force near the proposed place of crossing. On the contrary, a strong demonstration should be made by General Adams and Colonel Harrison at some point remote from the true place of crossing so as to attract the attention of the enemy. Artillery should be used if possible in this demonstration, which should take place from opposite sides of the river. As soon as attention is well directed to this movement, such portion of the supplies as can be handled should be promptly crossed at the point previously agreed upon. No more force should be employed at the place of crossing than the number of mounted men requisite to handle the goods. This can be repeated three or four times until everything is over. This will require an immediate understanding between General Adams and Colonel Harrison, who will at once, through a confidential officer, put himself in communication with the former. I mention General Adams, believing him to be the officer charged with this duty. Colonel Harrison should avoid writing and correspond by agents. The secret of the crossing should be intrusted only to the officers directly engaged in the duty. You will remain in your present position unless otherwise directed from department or these headquarters. In returning to this vicinity slow and easy marches will be made to avoid unnecessary fatigue to troops and trains. The presence of your own brigade in North Louisiana may be taken advantage of to recruit your ranks by the return of absentees.
You will not hesitate to stop such outrages as mentioned in your note by arresting the guilty parties, especially the officers, and send them to these headquarters. I have no information that Quantrill has been ordered into this district. Whether acting here with or without orders, the outrages charged must be promptly punished.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
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