ness, but from a sense of duty. Based upon them I desire to make the following suggestions, not matured, but just such as occur to me at the moment: That Colonel Smith's regiment be sent here from Island Numbers 10, and that from 200 to 400 horses, with cavalry arms and equipage, be sent from Memphis (I understand they can be procured there) as soon as possible. These to be used by detachments from the infantry as pickets. The soldiers would be delighted and benefited by the change. This is proposed merely to meet the present emergency; is suggested by the scarcity of cavalry in reach and and the poverty of means at hand just now. The horses and arms could be used in a few weeks as a permanent basis for that number of cavalry.
The result proposed is to have the pickets so arranged that we can be advised of the enemy's advance at least twenty-four hours before the attack, and so be able, even with our small force and imperfect preparations, to hold out until we can get re-enforcements from above. As it is, we may be attacked at any moment, for I have no earthly confidence in this mutinous and insubordinate remnant of Missouri Militia around us.
It is due to General Thompson, who is a brave, gallant, and worthy officer, to state that this condition of things is attributable t circumstances over which he has no control, and could not have been prevented by any one. It is proper to add that it is by no means impossible that my apprehensions may be groundless, and that I may err in my opinion in reference to the fidelity, &c., of these men, and that your means of information may be such as to satisfy you of my error. I hope this may be so. Nevertheless, believing what I state to be true and entertaining the apprehensions that I do, I think it best out of abundance of caution to advise you of it.
There are reasons of smaller importance why these or some troops should be sent here. General Thompson can furnish no detail for work on the fort. The teams and men of my regiment are constantly required. All the timber and materials must be hauled by them. This forces me to neglect the barracks, which a few days would finish. Winter is upon us and we ought to be housed.
Can't I get the powder and buckshot I sent for? Don't you think them better in a close fight from the fort? Can I get a few wagons and teams?
One of my sentinels arrested a Lincolnite. He was two days out from Cape Girardeau. Says they intend taking possession of this place when Thompson's men disband. A lady from Charleston on Wednesday reported 1,000 troops there; that they were conversant with matters here, and expressed the same intention. Latest accounts are, all the Federal pickets drawn in from near Charleston.
I hope in the hurried statement of the facts above I shall not be understood as censuring or reflecting upon any one. It is quite foreign to my nature or purpose.
In haste, your obedient servant,
E. W. GANTT,
[Received WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A., December 21, 1861.]
List of forces under command of Brigadier General Ben. McCulloch, commanding at Fort Smith, Ark.
P. O. Hebert, Third Louisiana Infantry; strength, 757; present, 584.
E. McNair, Fourth Arkansas Regiment; strength, 587; present, 397.