Ferry. Also that there is a strong infantry force - 7,000 - at Greenville, 15 miles north of Rives' Station.
This is confirmatory of the previous reports during the day, so far as it is reliable. Allowance must of course be made for natural exaggerations, &c., and I am doing all I can to ascertain the truth, and prepare as well as I can for whatever it may prove to be.
Not hearing from General Thompson, I have dispatched an intelligent and trusty messenger on the best route to that officer to learn what I can.
I am not without hope, of course, that what I done and the views I here add will meet your approval, viz, that what force I have here is wholly insufficient for any useful purpose of their attack of defense, but only a provocation, and, coupled with the supplies here, an inducement to the enemy to attack us. It seems obvious to my mind that if any force at all is to be kept here or on this line it ought to be at least three of not four times as large as it is. Either make it strong enough to sustain itself or abandon it altogether. Arkansas has some twenty-two regiments in the field and some nineteen of them are in other States, while next to none are left to defend her own frontier where most exposed.
If these views are not approved I respectfully suggest that I be superseded in command over here at once. It would indeed, it seems to me, be better to do this anyway, by sending some one of the brigadier-generals to take charge. It is a brigadier's command, and should be his responsibility, which I am daily growing more and more distrustful of my competency to sustain. Besides, indications of failing health admonish me that the public interests here would be better provided for by other and abler hands.
In haste, but from careful consideration of all I have said, I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS SPRINGFIELD, MO., November 19, 1861.
(Via Little Rock, November 26.)
J. P. BENJAMIN,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I shall return to Arkansas, put my troops in winter quarters soon, and ask permission to come immediately to Richmond, so as to give to the administration correct information regarding affairs in this region before it acts on matters here. The Federals left eight days since with their [?] thousand men, quarreling among themselves, and greatly injured their cause by taking negroes belonging to Union men. General Lane went to Kansas, General Hunter to Sedalia, and General Sigel to Rolla.
I have the honor to be, with respect, your obedient servant,
LITTLE ROCK, November 20, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN:
Arkansas is arming the twelve-month's troops raised under your requisition to me for McCulloch. There is a battalion at this point.