Richmond, Va., November 8, 1862.
YOUR EXCELLENCY: I have the honor to send for your information copy of telegram just received from Brigadier General M. L. Smith, Vicksburg, in reply to my question of the 31st ultimo:
Approximate number of small-arms crossed at this point en route Little Rock, Ark., is 18,140; 5,000 of these lost on steamer Fair Play; number sent to General Taylor is 2,500.
This accords nearly with inclosed statement,* made out from information in this office. It will be seen, I trust, that the measures taken have secured the transit of the arms, and that there s little ground for the reckless charges of neglect of duty made against this bureau by Senator Johnson, of Arkansas, in the letter which your Excellency showed me. I have nevertheless sent an officer conversant with the subject of these issues on the track of all stores heretofore sent to the Trans-Mississippi Department to see whether any are loitering on the way, and also to get information on which to prosecute the delinquents in the case of the capture of the Fair Play with 5,000 arms and other stores; information which was immediately asked for, but which has not yet been obtained from those whose duty it was to furnish it on the spot.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel and Chief of Ordnance.
HDQRS. 1ST DIV., 1ST A. C., ARMY OF THE WEST,
Fort Smith, November 9, 1862.
Commanding, &c., Van Buren, Ark.:
GENERAL: Brigadier-General Roane instructs me to say he has just received from Colonel Alexander, commanding Texas brigade, your letter of this date, directing him to hold himself in readiness to take the field, as well as instructions concerning breadstuffs, &c. General Roane understands that this brigade is under his command, and all orders controlling its movements ought to emanate from his or the major-general commanding through him. General Roane directs me to say that it will afford him much pleasure to comply with your request touching the co-operation of that brigade with you or any other troops under his command when practicable. And to avoid confusion he requests you to confer with him in regard to the movements of troops under his command. The proper orders for a supply of corn at the mill at Van Buren have been given, and until other arrangements are made by Major-General Hindman (who directs the brigade to remain there) it is hoped meal can and will be supplied at mill at Van Buren. General Roane has communicated with General Hindman and will get an answer to-morrow. In the mean time he hopes you will furnish meal as usual. All spare wagons will be used in hauling corn to the mill.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. BELL,
*Not found, but see Randolph to Mitchell, September 18, p. 881.