Bentonville. My force is now Colonel Hebert's regiment of Louisiana volunteers, aggregate 868; Colonel Churchill's regiment of Arkansas mounted riflemen, aggregate 768; Colonel Gratiot's regiment of State infantry, aggregate 629; one battalion of Arkansas infantry, aggregate 277; two companies of mounted riflemen, aggregate 156; Captain Reid's State battery of four guns, aggregate 73; making an aggregate of Confederate forces 2,069, and an aggregate of State forces 702. The total aggregate of my command is 2,771.
Since my last communication I have ascertained that General Lyon, who with his force of 3,000 was threatening the rear of the forces of the governor of Missouri, has formed a junction with a Kansas force of 2,000, and has marched to Springfield, and is no doubt there by this time. This re-enforcement will swell the force at Springfield to 9,000 or 10,000. These forces are now busily engaged in fortifying Springfield, and I am of the opinion that all the Federal forces in the southern part of Missouri have concentrated at Springfield, and will be busily engaged for some time in strengthening that place. I am anxious to march against them, and if all of the available force now near me could be depended upon I think we could with success, or at least cut them off entirely from their supplies and re-enforcements; but upon consulting with General Price, in command of the Missouri forces, I find that his force of 8,000 or 9,000 men is badly organized, badly armed, and now almost entirely out of ammunition. This force was made by the concentration of different commands under their own generals. The consequence is that there is no concert of action among them, and will not be until a competent military man is put in command of the entire force. Under these circumstances I do not think that there is any disposition on the part of the Missourians to advance until they are better prepared.
General Pearce, commanding the Arkansas State forces of the Western Division, is still at Camp Walker, near Maysville, Ark., with 2,200 men. General McBride, I also learn, is at the head of about 2,000 Missourians to the northeast of my position in Missouri. Were these forces properly armed, and supplied with the necessary ammunition, I think by rapid concentration we could drive the Federal forces out of Springfield, release the secession prisoners now there, and give our friends a chance of rallying around us. At present, however, the condition of the Missouri forces will not warrant me in marching with my small command. I have therefore chosen a strong position here, and will probably wait until the Missourians are prepared to act. I am satisfied that I can keep back any force that may be sent in this direction.
In a communication to me you authorized me to received Colonel Carroll's regiment, if it was either organized as an infantry or cavalry regiment. This regiment is now in the State forces, under General Pearce and as there is no disposition to make it an infantry regiment, and knowing how inefficient it will be as cavalry on account of the want of the proper arms, I have directed Captain McIntosh instead of it to muster into service for twelve months one battalion of infantry and one battalion of mounted riflemen. The infantry battalion is already mustered in and two companies of the mounted riflemen are also mustered in. Should other armed infantry companies present themselves I would respectfully request authority to increase the battalion to a regiment.
The regiment of Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians is no doubt now all assembled at Scullyville, about 15 miles from Fort Smith. I will arm them as soon as the arms can be sent, and keep them there as a check