my hands; but the importance of General Grant's and General Sherman's movements is so great and seemingly pressing, I felt it my duty to let go every man I could possibly spare and pretend to hold this point. The enemy have an effective force of 5,000 men and strong earthworks at Post Arkansas, while McCulloch has 10,000, mostly Texans, part Arkansas conscripts, at Brownsville; and Holmes has about 1,200 only at Little Rock. Of the force of Hindman, Marmaduke, Rains, Hawes, &c., I have no reliable information, but think it perhaps not more than 12,000 mostly conscripts.
I received and forwarded to you dispatches from General Holmes, dated at Little Rock on the 8th instant, and learned certainly that he was then at Little Rock, and not yet gone to Vicksburg. But I have learned from spies, refuges, and deserters, within a day or two, that McCulloch's troops were under marching orders south, perhaps to Vicksburg. If Vicksburg falls, Arkansas must be abandoned by them very soon.
I trust it is your design to push Blunt, Herron, and Schofield down toward Little Rock at once, so as to compel them to abandon it, or create a diversion in favor of Grant and Sherman, and keep Holmes in Arkansas.
I most respectfully ask that General Davidson be ordered here at once, by the Ridge road, down the Saint Francis region. He will not meet an enemy, except a handful of guerrillas, as everybody here and the scouts and citizens and contrabands tell me. If he was here, we ought to move up the Arkansas at once, as the rain season of this country has fairly set in, and the Arkansas and White Rivers have ample water for gunboats and transports. This point can then, with this programme, be abandoned. It is not the point for our base of operation on Little Rock, but Napoleon.
No possible danger can be apprehended to Missouri with Blunt, Herron, and Schofield advancing or stationery, if General Davidson was here with 10,000 more troops, and join me in the advance, first to Napoleon, and then to Post Arkansas. While at Napoleon, I am 110 miles nearer Vicksburg, where we might be needed by Grant and Sherman, if Holmes crosses over to Vicksburg. Therefore every military reason and consideration combine to urge that you send General Davidson here at once.
I therefore respectfully submit this view for your consideration. far prefer that General Davidson be sent than that new forces supply the place of those about to start with General Sherman.
The guerrillas are all around here in small detachments, and if they see proper to attack this place in force, while I am so weak, they might inflict upon us serious injury, but I have no fears of their taking it.
I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. GORMAN,
Brigadier-General, Commanding, &c.
Washington, December 16, 1862.
Major-General CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.:
N. W. Watkins, of Jackson, Mo. (who is half-brother to Henry Clay), writes me that a colonel of ours has driven him from his home at Jackson. Will you please look into the case and restore the old man to his home, if the public interest will admit?