War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0687 Chapter XVIII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records

Shall send it to Borland's command at Pocahontas, where there is trouble. Must they go to McCulloch, as originally intended?

H. M. RECTOR.

HEADQUARTERS,

Pocahontas, Ark., November 20, 1861.

Colonel W. W. MACKALL,

A. A. G., Western Dept., C. S. Army, Bowling Green, Ky.:

COLONEL: Yours of the 4th, by mail, missent to Powhatan and forwarded from that office, was received last night.

You communicate the direction of General Johnston that I shall send my "surplus ammunition and supplies to Memphis."

I can briefly answer this by saying that I have no surplus here of either class of these stores. But it is proper I should add that an exaggerated and somewhat extraordinary misapprehension seems to exist in the minds of our generals, particularly in that of General Polk, as expressed in one of his letters, as to the amount of ammunition and subsistence stores at this place, estimating it as he does at some half million of dollars. The precise amount of either class I cannot ascertain as soon as it seems proper to dispatch this communication, but I will send statements as soon as they can be made out, and in the mean time do not hesitate to express the opinion that there is not more than one-fourth, even if there be as much as a fifth, of that amount.

So far from having a surplus of ammunition (except it may be of some one or two kinds, for which I have no suitable guns), I am sorry to have to say that my supply is rather short. If all that General Hardee left here had been kept here and of good quality I should not have had more than enough; but the nominal amount of that is considerably reduced by the damaged condition in which a good deal of it came here, and still further, just before I returned here, by the shipment of some 200 boxes of the best to Memphis by order of General Hardee. I doubt, however, if this lot has reached General Hardee at all, or, if so, it was probably very badly damaged; for although it reached Memphis several days before I left there, it was at the time of my leaving still on the wharf where it had first been landed, without covering of any kind, and exposed to several hard rains. The master of the steamer Kanawha Valley, who had carried it there, informed me that he had tried in vain to get some attention to it from the quartermaster and ordnance officers. I wrote from Memphis to General Hardee about this.

I beg leave to add a few words about my position, &c., here. I think General Johnston will concede that it is a very precaution one in itself, and I know it is a very embarrassing one to me. As he is aware (at any rate I so informed him at Columbus), the force left here (i. e., Pitman's Ferry, &c.) by General Hardee was very small, so small that, as I have all the while insisted, it was available for no useful purpose whatever, either of attack or defense, against such as the enemy certainly had the power and would not fail to bring against me if I should have to deal with him at all. This is obvious from the following statement of its character and numerical strength: It consisted, first, of seven mounted companies - nominally 460 men - indifferently armed, and much enfeebled by the hardest and most constant scouting service to which any troops were ever subjected, through an exceedingly