VI. Major Pearce is vested with power to impress all articles necessary for either of the departments over which he is placed when reasonable prices are refused therefor.
By command of Major-Generals Hindman:
R. C. NEWTON,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT,
Little Rock, Ark., June 19, 1862
General S. COOPER, Adjutant-General:
GENERAL: Constantly attacking General Curtis in front and flanks and threatening him in rear, I have compelled him to fall back 40 miles north of the line he occupied when I assumed command. If I had him only to deal with I could destroy his whole army inside of twenty days; but the Federal gunboats and transports, three of the former and two of the latter, with between 1,500 and 2,000 infantry and two field batteries, entered White River on the 14th instant. Next day at 12 m. they engaged the little force I had posted at Saint Charles, the first bluff, 110 miles above the mouth. I had there in rifle pits 50 infantry under Captain Williams, of my staff, together with two 8-inch guns, manned from our gunboats Maurepas and Pontchartrain, under Captains Fry and Dunnington. The engagement lasted between two and three hours. No official report has yet, reached me. I received, however, to-day by courier from the commander of a party of mounted scouts that had been sent there this information: That the enemy carried the position, taking our guns, killing 6, wounding 1, and capturing 1 of our men, with a loss, to the Federals of 140 killed, 1 gunboat sunk, and 1 transport blown up, the boiler pierced by a shot. Our guns were spiked before their abandonment. Our forces retired toward Devall's Bluff. The Federal fleet is reported to have passed Saint Charles yesterday morning at sunrise, having been detained by obstructions put in the river. With a little time, more men, and a reasonable number of heavy pieces and small-arms, with ammunition in proportion, I could have made the position impregnable. But I could only arm 50 men, giving them 100 rounds of ammunition. I had started an infantry regiment in ample time to re-enforce, but had to hold it at Devall's Bluff till I could buy, beg, and impress powder by the pound, make and send to it by rail 40 rounds of cartridges. This delay kept it at Devall's till the morning of the 17th, when it moved down by steamers, and got within 10 miles of Saint Charles before its capture.
Another engagement with the Federal fleet will probably take place at Devall's Bluff to-morrow. I have two 8-inch guns mounted there,with 1,000 infantry and 250 mounted men, but no obstructions in the river. We may sink another gunboat, but the fleet will in all probability get by without a great deal of difficulty. Above for 30 miles both banks will be lines with sharpshooters. If an attempt is made, as I anticipate, to move across this place my force of mounted men will destroy their train, and by burning everything here, as I intend, they may yet be starved out and destroyed.
This is a hasty and very imperfect sketch of things near at hand. Farther off, upon the Cherokee border, there is a Federal force of between 3,000 and 5,000 men. I have assembling at Fort Smith one regiment of mounted men, which will be in the field three days hence.