ROLLA, MO., May 7, 1863.
DEAR SIR: General Davidson not appearing within Arkansas, as anticipated at the time I last saw you, I did not join him in his operations in this State, as I understood you to wish me to serve within my own State, and, having arrived at this post in the last hour, I improve this the first opportunity of reporting to you. The conscription having been completed throughout the State, and the entire force gathered at a few points, I have very recently visited every point where they were assembled and find them about as follows: On the 26th ultimo I was at the headquarters of Lieutenant-General Holmes, at Little Rock. The forces there are mostly infantry of three brigades, comprising about 11,000 men, constituting Price's division. General Price is there, and is to head these forces in the field in person. At Pine Bluff there is a force of about 1,800 men. These have been employed in strengthening a position about 1 mile above the town, and another position 8 miles above, both on the right bank of the river. They have but four guns at the first named and six at the other position. I could not ascertain the size of the guns, but was told that all the large guns were lost at the Post of Arkansas, and inferred therefrom that these are only mounted with inferior pieces. No defenses have been made at the town of Pine Bluff, or at any other point on that river. I had, about the 5th ultimo, ascended the river as far as to Roseville (about 100 miles above Little Rock), where a force of 400 mounted men were posted. These, with a few hundred gathered in the counties immediately north of Clarksville, have since moved northward, and are probably the force recently in the vicinity of Fayetteville. Their entire number I have good reason to compute at not exceeding 1,000. A portion of these are commanded by Colonel Schnable, of Missouri. At the time of the departure of Marmaduke from White River, I visited nearly all of his command, and found it to consist of the forces which had been with him on his former raid into Missouri, augmented by three regiments of cavalry from Texas, and one regiment, under Colonel Porter, raised on Little Red and White Rivers, and two companies of artillery with nine guns, the whole comprising a force of about 7,500 men. All, except the two companies mentioned, are mounted and tolerably well armed. Another company, with four guns, was forwarded from the Rock, but are now detained south of Pocahontas by the floods of Strawberry and Springs Rivers.s The whole length of White River to its mouth, as far as I can learn, is clear of defensive works, nor can I hear of any forces thereon. The foregoing comprises the entire strength north of the Big Red River and west of the Mississippi, excepting a band, now under Coleman, collected at the mill at the head of Spring River, at the State line, and one other regiment, of 700 men (mounted),now posted at Wittsburg, or in its vicinity, on Crowley's Ridge, at least as far as I can ascertain. Of artillery I can discover none, except that referred to above, and about fifteen pieces at Little Rock. The small-arms are of good quality, but in every other feature of equipment the entire force is in sad condition. About one-half only are provided with tents, and everywhere men are seen without shoes or hats, and clothed in rags.
It is understood that General Price is to invade Missouri as soon as subsistence can be obtained on which to move his troops. Perhaps I need not inform you that this is only announced to keep up the enthusiasm of the people, and to create discontent and an outbreak in Missouri. The arrival of General Price has indeed to the field the entire strength of Arkansas. Every man under forty years of age (not