I have stopped here in passing and retain for the present Captain Roberts' company, about 60 men, nominally artillery, but without a battery, but armed and pretty well drilled as infantry, and about 150 recruits for the army, brought here by Major McCray and Captains White and Kykendall, and retained here by me, as is Captain Roberts' company; altogether about 1,286 men. Of these, owing to much sickness; casualties, necessary details for guards, nurses, &c., as you will readily apprehend, I cannon, as I have ascertained by careful examination, count on more than 600 for fighting service. All even of these must be regarded as raw, inexperienced, and poorly disciplined, and indifferently armed. I may say that I have no artillery, for, although there are six pieces - four iron 6-pounders and two brass 4-pounders - here, they were repudiated by General Hardee as worthless, and are, so far as I can judge, quite so for any active or reliable service. They are so ill mounted, &c., that they cannot be used at all for flying artillery. In my destitution of such things and for this emergency, however, I shall do what I can with them by placing them in positions to cover the approaches to this place; and as Captain Roberts is the only officer here who knows anything at all about artillery, I have put him in charge of them.
I have in the first part of this letter said all I need say about the probable militia re-enforcements.
As to the supplies here, the amount of which seems to have been greatly exaggerate to you - mentioned by you in one of your letters as probably $500,000 worth - through I am, satisfied not more than one-half, perhaps not more than one-third of that, I have not deemed it necessary or proper to remove them, lower down the river, for the reason that I don't intend to abandon the place, and if we are to perish for the want of the timely aid that ought to have been given us if retained here at all, we will all, men and supplies, perish together; the enemy shall never have them.
I have been unable to hear from General Thompson since my last dispatch to you of the night of the 5th, though at that time and the night after I wrote to him. My messengers ought to have returned last night, but I have no news of them. Reports are here, I know not how reliable, that he has either had an engagement with the enemy at or near Bloomfield or that upon their approach he has retired south and east. If I don't hear from him by to-morrow morning I will send again to ascertain.
Inclosed I send you a militia order and the proclamation of the Governor of Arkansas.* To the latter I invite your attention. It looks well enough on paper that I am to have so large an auxiliary force, but you need not be told that it gives nothing at all for present purposes, and promises only what will be received, if at all, in small portions at a time and a good while hence.
MONDAY MORNING, November 11.
I had written so far last night when reports reached me that induced me to pause until something more reliable should come from my scouts in time for this dispatch. At 1.30 o'clock this morning a dispatch from my outposts at Pitman's Ferry, 20 miles north, to this effect:
The scout sent in word that they have reliable intelligence that there are 300 infantry and 150 cavalry at Rives' Station, on Black, River, 35 miles north of Pitman's
* Not found.