HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Little Rock, Ark., November 15, 1862.
(Received December 15, 1862.)
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR:
GENERAL: Your letter by Colonel Tappan has just been received, and I greatly fear that it is my painful duty to disappoint your expectations relative to my ability to co-operate with the army east of the Mississippi. If I am able to protect Arkansas against the enemy now on her border I shall think myself fortunate. They have not less than 30,000 men in or about Springfield, Mo., with 12,000 or 15,000 at Helena; the latter, with the exception of one division, being new troops. The object of the Springfield army is probably to prevent invasion. When the season has so far advanced as to render this supposition a certainty I can then recall a part of the forces from Northwestern Arkansas and take Helena; but if I do so it will be impossible for me to hold it, as they have always at that point from three to seven gunboats, which my light batteries could not drive away, and which would effectually prevent me from crossing to Mississippi. You cannot imagine the anxiety and pain it gives me to be thus idle, but I do not see any help for it. My perplexities are greatly increased by the condition of our Indian relations.
As you are aware, last winter General Pike withdrew to Red River all the troops that were left here by General Van Dorn, thus leaving the whole country open to the marauding jayhawkers and Pin Indians. On the arrival of General Hindman in june he ordered General Pike to move to the front with his whole force for the purpose of expelling them, but this order General Pike failed to obey and quarreled with Hindman, was relieved from duty, and tendered his resignation, yet did not quit the Indian country. He then issued a proclamation to the Indians, which in my judgment could not have been more forcibly worded to produce doubt and discontent among them. Under the plausible pretext of sustaining the Government he has led them to believe they have been betrayed and deserted by the general in command.
On my arrival I ordered General Hindman up there. He promptly organized the forces, drove all the marauders out of the Indian country, and established the troops on a good line of defense in Southwestern Missouri, where we had 7,000 or 8,000 men at contiguous posts within supporting distance.
Feeling perfectly secure there, I unfortunately recalled General Hindman to aid in the organization of the army preparatory to advancing, leaving his command in the hands of Generals Rains and Cooper. They retreated in a most shameful manner without offering any resistance. General Hindman, whom I ordered to return to his command and who is now with it, reports to me that General Rains was drunk and General Cooper sick from the effects of intoxication. Their forces were separated in the retreat. Cooper's command, being mainly composed of Indians, was entirely dispersed and has not yet been reassembled. I have not yet received a report from either of them. This demoralization adds greatly to my perplexity, and yet this is not all.
Soon after my arrival General Pike, who had been relieved from duty, came here on a visit to his family. I gave him leave of absence until the action of the President on his resignation (previously tendered) should be made known. Instead of remaining here he immediately returned and established himself in Grayson City, Tex. A disloyal society having been discovered in that county and in Cook County (adjoining),