War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0747 Chapter X. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

of friendship between the two armies. It was with this purpose I refrained from mentioning facts in my official report which are mentioned now in this communication. I always endeavored to prevent ill-feeling between our forces, because it was to the interest of both to have them co-operate fully against a common foe.

A few days after the battle of Oak Hills General Price wrote me a note, and then called on me in person, requesting me to march with him to the Missouri River. I declined to do so, first, because my whole force fit for duty were required for the protection of the upper portion of Arkansas, and to keep the Federals in Kansas from gaining access to the Cherokee Nation, which still occupied a neutral position; secondly, because I had very little ammunition, some of my officers having informed me, when ordered to be ready to pursue the enemy on the 10th of August, that some of their men had fired their last cartridge in the battle of that date; and, thirdly, because we could expect no co-operation on the part of Colonel Hardee or General Pillow, I having just received a letter from Colonel (now General) Hardee, informing me that General Pillow had fallen back, and that in consequence he would be compelled to retire to his former position near the Arkansas line. This information I imparted to General Price in this interview.

On this day the Arkansas State troops marched for home, leaving me with about 2,500 men fit for duty, 2,000 of whom were required to defend the northwest part of Arkansas and the Indian Territory.

Whilst General Price and myself have ever been on the most friendly terms personally, yet we never could agree as to the proper time of marching to the Missouri River. Had he though proper to listen to my suggestions on the subject he would have been advised to fortify Springfield and hold it with his infantry and artillery and post his Kansas. The legislature could then have been called together by the governor at Springfield, the State have seceded from the Union, and her army been turned over to the Confederacy at the time she was admitted as a member. A commandeer over the State forces and those under me could have been appointed by the President, which would have secured co-operation in all their movements. Then, if possible, a considerable number of extra arms to give to those who joined us, and at the same time a force to have menaced Saint Louis from below, would have been the time to march to the Missouri River, raise the strong secession element on both sides of the river, and march down upon Saint Louis. At all events, it could have been mustered into the Confederate service and brought off to the interior of the State, and not abandoned, after being raised, to be stripped of its arms and put in such condition by the Federal Government as to be of no sort of use in the future struggles in the Sate for independence.

Soon after the battle was fought and won at Oak Hills the forces engaged in its glorious achievement separated-those under General Price for the Missouri River; those under General Pearce left for home, whilst those under my command moved off towards the Cherokee Nation. I immediately used every exertion to increase my force, for the purpose of attacking Forts Scott and Lincoln, in Kansas, and just at the time I was concentrating my whole force near the Kansas border General Price came down upon me, bringing the intelligence of the approach of General Fremont upon Springfield with 30,000 or 40,000 men. This forced me to abandon my contemplated campaign and repair at once to the Telegraph road which leads from Springfield to Fayetteville, in Arkansas, where most of my supplies were kept at the time, and were liable to be destroyed by a few bold horsemen.