greatest service if it was not liable to be sunk by the first bomb shell striking it fairly. The five gunboats lying below Tiptonville can, although carrying very fine guns, render no assistance whatever.
The troops of this command, with the exception of a very small portion, are lacking some of the most essential qualities of a soldier -vigilance and self-reliance. Discipline and system seem to be unknown among them.
It is self-evident that a line 20 miles long cannot be guarded efficiently by a force not greater than the command occupying this position at present.
Should the enemy make a feint at one point and effect a landing at another, long hours would elapse before a small column could be formed and led against the advancing enemy.
But the only chance for saving this much-important position seems to be to attack the enemy and repulse them as soon as landed.
Although advocating this course by all means (even with the small force at present here), success seems to be beyond reach, if-
1. Strong re-enforcements of well-disciplined troops should not arrive in time; and,
2. The navigation of the river once more opened was not to be kept open by efficient gunboats that would watch the enemy and enable thus the commander of this post to keep his forces concentrated near his right flank, from where the greater danger may be expected.
I have the honor to be, sir, yours, very respectfully,
Captain and Staff Engineer.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT,
Des Arc, Ark., April 6, 1862.
Major W. L. CABELL, Quartermaster:
MAJOR: General Van Dorn directs that you send at once by the fastest boat all the corn you can possibly raise, as there is not one bushel here, and the First Brigade will be here to-day or to-morrow. The general is surprised to find no corn here, as he had given instructions two or three times to have a supply at this place. Also send Captain McGivern to this place as soon as he can leave Jacksonport.
I am, very respectfully,
WM. N. R. BEALL,
Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HDQRS. TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT, Numbers 41.
Des Arc, Ark., April 7, 1862.
I. The First Brigade of General Price's division will embark for Memphis to-morrow morning. On arriving in Memphis Colonel Little, commanding the brigade, will establish his camp in the vicinity of that city, and await further orders from General Sterling Price. He will refer to Major Haskell, inspector-general of this district, for any information concerning a place of encampment and supplies for this brigade which may be necessary.
II. Camp F. Thyssens, aide-de-camp, will proceed at once to Helena, Ark., and will make a reconnaissance of Crowley's Ridge as far as