these regularly-organized Confederate troops which General Price met in Arkansas, there were many companies and regiments of Arkansas volunteers, most of the country people being required to take up arms. From this data and the general opinion of the country I estimated the force of the enemy to have been at least 30,000 or 40,000. This was the force in and near Boston Mountains, rallying to drive us from Arkansas and Missouri.
The two armies thus constituted and located were within hearing of each other's cannon, about 30 miles. I submit an accompanying map,* showing some of the topographic features of the country on the roads which we traversed. Our troops were weary and somewhat exhausted in their long forced marches and frequent conflicts. Our cavalry had especially suffered in the breaking down and loss of horses. But our troops were generally well armed, drilled, and anxious to encounter the enemy at any reasonable hazard. They were all intelligent, way, and all conscious of the righteousness of their country's cause.
The arrival of Major-General Van Dorn on the 2nd of March in the camp of the enemy was the occasion of great rejoicing and the firing of forty guns. The rebel force was harangued by their chiefs with boastful and passionate appeals, assuring them of their superior numbers and the certainty of an easy victory. Dispatches were published falsely announcing a great battle at Columbus, Ky., in which we had lost three gunboats and 20,000 men; and thus the rebel hordes were assembled. The occasion was now opened to drive the invaders from the soil of Arkansas and give a final and successful blow to a Southern Confederacy.
The 5th of March was cold and blustering. The snow fell so as to cover the ground. No immediate attack was apprehended, and I was engaged writing. About 2 o'clock p. m. scouts and fugitive citizens came in, informing me of the rapid approach of the enemy to give me battle. His cavalry would be at Elm Springs, some 121 miles distant, that night, and his artillery had already passed Fayetteville. Satisfied of the truth of this report, I immediately sent couriers to General Sigel and Colonel Vandever, and ordered them to move immediately to Sugar Creek, where I also ordered Colonel Carr to move with his division.
I also sent you a dispatch, which may have bene lost with other mail matter which I have since learned was captured by the enemy. I told you I would give them the best reception possible. All my messengers were successful in delivering their orders. Colonel Carr's division moved about 6 p. m. Colonel Vandever had intelligence of the movement of the enemy before my messenger reached him, and made immediate change in his march, so that with great exertion he arrived on the 6th. General Sigel deferred his march from Cooper's farm till 2 o'clock in the morning of the 6th, and at Bentonville tarried himself with a regiment and battery till he was attacked about 9 a. m.
I arrived at Sugar Creek at 2 o'clock a. m. on the 6th, and immediately detailed parties for early morning work in felling timber, to obstruct certain roads to prevent the enemy having too many approaches and to erect field works to increase the strength of my forces. Colonel Davis and Colonel Carr early in the day took their positions on the high projecting hills commanding the valley of the creek, leaving the right of the line to be occupied by the First and Second Divisions, which were anxiously expected. The valley of the creek is low, and from a
*To appear in Atlas.