HEADQUARTERS, POND SPRING,
Near Springfield, August 24, 1861.
GENERAL: Yours of August 13 has just reached me. Colonel Hindman left three days since with the Arkansas State troops for Bentonville. They will all decline to enter the Confederate States service at absence. It would be a suicidal policy to take any arms now in this quarter away, as it would be next to impossible to get them up Red River in the fall, even if they could be obtained in the South or East.
I am in no condition to advance, or even to meet an enemy here, having little ammunition or supplies of any kind. In fact, with the means of transportation now at my disposal I find it impossible to keep my force supplied, and will, in consequence, shorten my line, by falling back to the Arkansas line, near the Indiana Territory, and there proceed to drill and organize a force to meet the enemy when they take the field again in this quarter.
We have little to hope or expect from the people of this State. The force ow in the field is undisciplined and led by men who are mere politicians; not a soldier among them to control and organize this mass of humanity. The Missouri forces are in no condition to meet an organized army, nor will they ever be whilst under the present leaders. I dare not join them in my present condition,f or fear of having my men completely demoralized. We lost at least 300 stand of arms in the battle of the 10th, taken by their straggling camp followers from my killed and wounded, and before the engagement they borrowed of General Pearce 600 more, none of which they would return after the fight was over. They stole the tents my men left at Casville to facilitate their march, and brought them after us the next day on the same road. In a word, they are not making friends where they go, and from all I can see we had as well be in Boston as far as the friendly feelings of the inhabitants ar concerned.
I would be much pleased to have you join me, but can't see how you can do so if General Pillow falls back. One thing we may rely upon, and that is, in the event of the continuance of the war, for a large once to be sent in this direction this fall. All the farms, and particularly the artillery, will be needed to meet it.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
P. S.-I forgot to say General Price marches on Fort Scott in a day or two, and consequently the Federal troops will be in Springfield in a few weeks unless they ar pressed too much by yourself and General Pillow, who, to tell you the truth, I fear will meet with a reverse.
JACKSON, MISS., August 24, 1861.
Generals Polk and Hardee ask for field artillery. Several companies have fully armed and equipped, waiting your requisition.
JOHN J. PETTUS.