CAMP POLK, ISLAND 10, October 9, 1861.
COLONEL: We are doing well on the end of the island to-day, the boat getting down in time to take our men over and to co-operate with us.
An opportunity offers for me to send up a line, and I would wish to call your attention to the matter of the negroes I have at work. Lieutenant Moses' 500, which he was to have here positively last week from his expedition into Dyer County, only numbered some 150, and we have now only 90, as the farmers in the Bend have been obliged to take theirs home for their crops. They have been at work some weeks.
Those we have at present belong in Gibson and Dyer Counties, and if you can get such an order issued as the memorandum inclosed, we can do much. It will be a great loss to have them go off on Saturday.
I wish you could dispatch us an order of the kind desired, if not incompatible with the public good.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. B. GRAY.
The commanding officer of Redan Fort, Camp Polk, if the exigencies of the service require it, is directed to retain the negroes for ten days longer, to complete the fortifications upon Island Numbers 10. If they can be spared without detriment to the public interest, they may be permitted to return to their homes.
RICHMOND, VA., October 10, 1861.
The Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
SIR: I deem it necessary, in order to a proper understanding of the facts in relation to the disorganization of the Arkansas State troops recently under my command, to make the subjoined statements:
The military board of the State of Arkansas issued an order on the 22nd of July to me to transfer the troops under my command to General Hardee or his agents, and in doing this I was required to take the vote of each company on the question of willingness to transfer. If a majority of a company voted in favor of transferring them, the company was to retain its organization, and those voting against the transfer to be discharged, and the company to be filled by recruits; in fact, leaving the transfer entirely at the will of the soldier. This order was received two days after the battle of Oak Hills. General Hardee had no agent there, and agent there, and after consulting with General McCulloch it was thought best that I should fall back to the military board, and await further instructions. I sent a messenger post haste to the board, informing them that General Hardee had sent no agent to receive the troops; that General McCulloch had declined doing so, not having any authority; also urging on the board a different policy, as I feared the course they had taken would result in the disorganization of the forces. Two days after, Colonel Hinndman overtook me on the march, and reported himself as General Hardee's agent, and it was decided that we continue on to Arkansas, and there carry out the order of the board, hoping in the mean time than we would hear from the board, and that the troops might be retained.
The board declined making and changes, and ordered me to carry