near this place, to which I will give the 8-gun battery coming in charge of Major Bankhead. By some blundering mistake a box of friction primes intended for me was left at Grenada. I have sent a courier to meet Major Bankhead, and if he has not a full supply of them the courier is to go on to Grenada to request Major Chambliss to send forward those left by Captain Hart. I have on the other side of and along White River a force of about 3,100 cavalry; near Brownsville I have 500; at and near this place I have 500; such of this place and along Arkansas River and between that and Ouachita I have about 2,000. If, therefore, Major Bankhead reaches me in due time, as, from your dispatch and Major Chambliss's letter, received by same courier, I am led to believe he will, I will have in a short time from 24,000 to 26,000 infantry, about 6,000 cavalry, and fifty-four pieces of artillery. With that force I could annihilate any force the enemy has or is likely to have on this side of the Mississippi River. As at present situated, however, I deem it the better course to remain where I am. Should I move upon Curtis at Helena with the force I now have armed and equipped the chances of success and failure are about equal. He is in position there with a force estimated to be even larger than mine. He would receive information of my approach by the time I got fairly across White River and could re-enforce at pleasure, and the Mississippi River flotilla could be ordered there to assist him and finally rescue him if defeated. Upon the other hand, if he advances the advantages are decidedly with me. It has been my purpose to allow him to advance into the interior and away his boats, if he would, when even with my present armed force I could, I am confident, annihilate him. Furthermore, when I advance at all it will be with the intention of making Arkansas River secure, and then pushing forward into Missouri. My present armed force is sufficient for the latter purpose if the other object can be obtained, which it will be if Curtis is crushed and destroyed. Should I succeeded in my purpose, after arming my whole command I expect to push forward the Missouri River with the greatest vigor. It was to make that object secure that I have delayed the execution of your order, and have thus given you may reasons for taking that responsibility. I hope my motives will be properly understood and appreciated. I am grateful to the department for its prompt and liberal compliance with my requests. As I have said before, it would have been better to disband my force than to have kept it here without arms. Being now supplied, however, almost to the extent of my wants, I expect soon to commence active operations, and will try to give my Government a satisfactory return for its promptness in relieving my distress and anxiety.*
T. C. HINDMAN,
Major-General, Commanding, &c.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT,
Little Rock, Ark., August 5, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I some time since made an earnest appeal to General Bragg to send me the old refuse arms and batteries now lying idle in
* This letter was intercepted by Union forces. See Curtis to Halleck, August 15, 1862, p. 571.