frontier and the Indian country for this purpose. [He] has much the larger part of my force. [Illegible.] - Enemy have a large force, having been re-enforced during the last week by two divisions. On the 20th they attempted to enter the White and Arkansas Rivers, but could not, on account of the low water, sending in conduction with this expedition a land force reported 8,000 strong across from Laconia, on the Mississippi, to a point on White River, opposite the Post of Arkansas, where alone I have fortifications to resist this force. I have three brigades at Brownsville to cover this place, and I hope competent garrisons for the defenses of Arkansas and White Rivers. If the valley of the Arkansas is lost, this department goes with it, for there is absolutely no other stopping place for an army short of Red River, the whole country between the two rivers being exhausted of supplies. Under these circumstances I cannot send [illegible] when you telegraphed me that troops had left Helena and crossed the Mississippi. Not a soldier has left here, and it is stronger to-day than at any former time. But, in addition to this, if I was not threatened at all, I am distant from you 290 miles, with an intervening country almost destitute of supplies and forage, and the march would require too much time to enable me to be of service to you. I have ordered Sibley's brigade, now at Marshall, Tex., to be increased by two regiments, now at Clarksville, and under General [W. R.] Scurry, to report to you as soon as possible. I regret that I cannot tell you when to expect them.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. H. HOLMES,
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., November 26, 1862.
Lieutenant General T. H. HOLMES, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: This department is earnestly urged by Major General Sterling Price to transfer him, with his command of Missouri troops - consisting now of six regiments of infantry, one regiment and one battalion of dismounted cavalry, and seven light batteries, making an aggregate present of 3,283 - from the command of Lieutenant-general Pemberton to your department. The Department would be pleased to comply with the request, but is apprehensive that the safety of General Pemberton's command might be endangered by the withdrawal of troops from him at this time; but of a like or superior force could be exchanged from your department for General Price and his command, it might prove not disadvantageous to both. You would secure veteran troops and the influence of their commander, potent in the district of your expected operations, while General Pemberton might be compensated by fuller regiments and troops not pining for another sphere of action. You will, therefore, consider the feasibility and expediency of such substitution, and, if deemed by you compatible with the safety of your command, endeavor to accomplish it with General Pemberton. A copy of General Price's letter has been forwarded to General Pemberton, with a recommendation, of deemed by him expedient, to effect such exchange with you.*
Most respectfully, yours,
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
* For further correspondence on this subject, see Series I, Vol. XVII, Part II.