War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0935 Chapter XXV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records


Fort McCulloch, June 1, 1862.

Brigadier General J. S. ROANE,

Commanding Department of Arkansas:

GENERAL: I have this evening received your letter of the 23rd, inclosing an order from Major-General Van Dorn, directing me to send to your aid all the troops (not Indians) I can spare. If I could have brought you any efficient aid in time, I should have done so when I received your former letter, which reached me on the 27th. That may family and property are in Little Rock has long ago made me wish I could have been relieved of the charge of this country and assigned to duty there. Before hearing of any advance on Little Rock, I had found it necessary to let one-half the efficient force of the three regiments here return home to reap the wheat harvest, which, from the great number absent, is in much danger of being lost. This, and the immense number of sick, has so reduced those regiments that they are mere skeletons. Colonel Dawson, with twelve companies, reports this morning 180 men for duty; Colonel Taylor has about 300, and Colonel Alexander about the same, including three detached companies. The whole infantry and cavalry force present for duty is less than 1,000 men. I have two companies of artillery and one part of a company, the latter just raised. I have two rifled bronzed guns,but the shells have no fuses, and twelve Parrott guns, with no fixed ammunition, and i have not a single pound of cannon powder, all of mine (3,000) having been sent down to Little Rock, and never heard of since. For the remaining guns (three bronze sixes and three howitzers), I have some 1,000 pounds of fixed ammunition; and I have for the Indian and other troops only about 2,900 pounds of rifle powder, while I am sending 4,500 Indians to the Kansas line and on the Santa Fe road. I have not a dollar of public money from the army, nor have the quartermaster and commissary had any for four weeks. I have lent them all the Indian moneys I had, and used $20,000 of my own in purchasing provisions, paying for horses, and paying soldiers, discharged sick. It would take six days to get ready to march, and twenty-two to reach Little Rock, the distance being nearly 350 miles. We could not possibly make more than 15 miles a day, and there being no corn on the road, half our mules, all now in wretched condition, would not reach Little Rock at all. I do now wish these facts to be known to the enemy; but it is necessary you should know them, and that the people of the State should, some time, know why I am literally compelled to remain here. If I ere to take the little force I have out of this country there would be universal alarm all over it, and the most serious disaffection would be produced among the Indians in all parts of it. Of course, I should have to dismount the men of the two Texas regiments, as their horses would famish on the road. I am not sure they would submit to that necessity. As a military movement, unless I had a force larger than I have, it would be a great error to send a detachment 350 miles to anticipate an attack by the enemy from 10,000 to 20,000 strong, on a point from which he was distant eight days ago only 50 miles, and which, if he ever really meant to do more than menace it, in order to make a movement eastward, he will already have reached. I judge of military movements by military principles; and there can be no reason, if he desires to occupy Little Rock, why he should remain inactive where nothing was to be effected, and have waited for troops to concentrate against him in his front. It is not so that generals make war. Either he will not be there at all or he is already there. To march to Little Rock, I must abandon this country without orders,