Indians, began collecting on the border and Federal emissaries were busy among the Cherokees and Creeks inciting disaffection. Detachments of Federal cavalry penetrated at will into various parts of the upper half of Arkansas, plundering and burning houses, stealing horses and slaves, destroying farming utensils, murdering loyal men or carrying them into captivity, forcing the oath of allegiance on the timid, and disseminating disloyal sentiments among the ignorant. A regiment of Federal Arkansians was organized at Batesville, another commenced in Northwestern Arkansas, and the work of recruiting for the Federal service went on prosperously. Tory bands were organized or in process of organization in many counties, not only in the upper but in the lower half of the State likewise, and depredations and outrages upon loyal citizens were of constant occurrence. Straggling soldiers belonging to distant commands traversed the country, armed and lawless, robbing the people of their property under pretense of impressing it for the Confederate service. The Governor and other executive officers fled from the capital, taking the archives of State with them. The courts were suspended and civil magistrates almost universally ceased to exercise their functions. Confederate money was openly refused or so depreciated as to be nearly worthless. This, with the short crop of the preceding year and the failure on all the uplands of the one then growing, gave rise to the cruelest extortion in the necessaries of life and menaced the poor with actual starvation. These evils were aggravated by an address of the Governor, issued shortly before his flight, deprecating the withdrawal of troops and threatening secession from the Confederacy.
Brigadier General J. S. Roane, had been placed in command of Arkansas by General Van Dorn, but without any troops. He was instructed, as the best thing possible, to endeavor to hold the line of the Arkansas River, giving up more than half the territory, population, and resources of the State. That this might be done General Van Dorn directed General Pike to send a portion of his force to Little Rock, but he refused.
General Pike had at that time one regiment of Arkansas infantry, two 6-gun (Arkansas) batteries, one Texas battery of four guns,two regiments and several unattached companies of Texas cavalry, and ten 10-pounder Parrott rifles, besides 5,500 Indian troops. There was no Federal force, other than small marauding parties, within 200 miles of him. General Roane was at Little Rock without a regiment, and Curtis' victorious army, at least 15,000 strong, was moving in that direction.
Fortunately five regiments of Texas cavalry arrived on their way to Corinth. General Roane, by permission of General Beauregard, detained them at Little Rock. About the same time, by order of the Navy Department, the Confederate ram Maurepas, Lieutenant Commanding Joseph Fry, came into White River, and the ram Pontchartrain, Lieutenant Commanding J. W. Dunnington, into the Arkansas. These accessions had the effect to retard the movements of Curtis, whose advance, when I assumed command, was 35 miles from Little Rock.
I found under General Roane eight companies of Arkansas infantry, wholly unarmed, one 6-gun battery, with but 40 men, and less than 1,500 effective cavalry, many of the Texans being unarmed and many of them sick. For this force he had about three days' subsistence and forage and less than 15 rounds of ammunition. There were no depots of supplies in the district.
In the situation in which I was placed it was necessary to do many