ant-colonel; Lieutenant M. M. Kimmel, lieutenant-colonel; Lieutenant F. C. Armstrong, lieutenant-colonel; Lieutenant Ed. Dillon, lieutenant-colonel.
I need not remind you that all of these gentlemen have been for many years in the military profession. But I desire most earnestly to impress upon you the necessity for my having out here experienced and educated officers of rank sufficient to enable me to use their information and attainments to good effect.
In the recent operation against the enemy on Sugar Creek I found the want of military knowledge and discipline among the higher officers to be so great as to countervail their gallantly and the fine courage of their troops. I have no hesitation in saying that could I have substituted some of the officers above named (who exerted themselves most nobly to insure the success of our arms on the bloody field of Elkhorn) for some of the highest commanders, my orders would have been promptly and intelligently carried and the enemy's army put to utter rout.
These gentlemen have been most faithfully serving our cause since they left the Army of the old United States, but they are in false positions, without a degree of rank commensurate with their value and services, and it is utterly impossible to endeavor to use their experience to the best advantage unless this is remedied.
I cannot convey to you a correct idea of the crudeness of the material with which I have to deal in organizing an army out here. There is an absolute want of any degree of sound military information, and even an ignorance of the value of such information. Nowhere in the Confederacy is it more important that educated officers should be placed in high positions than in the district I have the honor to command.
The greatest need I have is for good brigadiers, and I therefore hope you will urge immediate action upon the recommendation I made by telegraph for promotions to this grade. I inclosed a copy of those nominations, and am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EARL VAN DORN,
VAN BUREN, ARK., March 17, 1862.
General A. SIDNEY JOHNSTON, C. S. A.:
I am at Van Buren with the army, preparing to march to Pocahontas. Will get off by the 22nd, and will reach Pocahontas by the 7th or 8th of April with 15,000 men. I will operate to assist the army on the Mississippi. It is reported that the army of the enemy have left Arkansas for Springfield. I will know positively to-morrow or next day. The country in this vicinity will no longer support an army.
Have any troops been ordered to report to me other than those called for by me from the States of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas?
EARL VAN DORN,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT,
Van Buren, Ark., March 17, 1862.
Major W. R. BRADFUTE, C. S. A.:
MAJOR: The general commanding desires you to proceed at once to the advanced post at Lee's Creek and assume command of the forces