HDQRS. CONFEDERATE FORCES IN NORTH. ARKANSAS,
July 16, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel J. . F BELTON,
Assistant Adjutant General, Camden. Ark.:
COLONEL: Since my last communication I have visited several of my encampments, and find everything working smoothly. Five thousand men can be raised, and I almost know they will be raised, but I am afraid that this quiet gliding along in an unruffled sea and under a cloudless day will not last long. The men are brought together from every quarter of the State. They are undisciplined, unlettered, undrilled, and their newly elected field and company officers are disposed to continue in their old "bushwhacking" style of letting them do pretty much as they please. I have also found treat difficulty in watching over them as I would like, wing to the great scarcity of forage and subsistence, and I would impress it ow upon your mind as forcibly as possible the urgent necessity of bringing these men to the army where thy can be brought down to rigid discipline and taught at once the whole duty of soldiers; so about the time I get all these men together I will have accomplished all that can be done in this district. While in this connection I will just state that at least a thousand of these men have no horses or mules an cannot under any possible circumstances be brought to the army by the route I intend taking without being mounted, therefore I desire you to give me full and explicit orders as to how these animals are to be obtained. They are in the country and I want your commands as to how to get them. Another thing to which I wish to refer- and it is vital and important- that is, that I be ordered to bring every single soldier from this department. If some are left it dissatisfies others, and one by one deserters will come to them until the whole country is overrun with miserable skulkers. Should General Price determine to send any troops in this district it will be much better to send them back from the army after they are organized and equipped. In the event of my leaving here I wish to know positively whether I am to give General Adams any command or not. I have learned that he has stated to Colonel McCray that General Smith recognizes him as the commander of all these troops, but this I am unwilling to believe. Please send me proper instruction.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JO. O. SHELBY,
HEADQUARTERS CONFEDERATE FORCES,
July 17, 1864.
Colonel A. S. DOBBIN,
COLONEL: Your suggestions in regard to breaking up the plantations on the Mississippi River are entirely satisfactory, and I will send you the men desired in two or three days. They would have been furnished sooner but have been absent on a fatiguing march to the railroad,in which the Tenth Illinois Cavalry were routed, with the loss of 50 killed, 100 captured, with the additional gain of 1 wagon, 1 ambulance, and 200 stand of cavalry arms. our course in regard to deserters coming to your lines is correct, being, in fact, the only way you
*See also another communication from Shelby to Belton, of same date, Part I. p. 26.