HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTHEASTERN ARKANSAS,
Batesville, Ark., December 31, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel OLIVER D. GREENE,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Missouri:
COLONEL: I have the honor to state that Captain Akard, Eighth Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavalry, in command of 96 men of his regiment, arrived here on the 29th instant, bearing dispatch from Brigadier-General Sanborn, of Springfield, Mo., inclosing and forwarding telegraphic communication from the major-general commanding the department, stating the time at which the increased bounties ceased to be paid, and urging the re-enlistment of volunteers in old regiments. I have also to acknowledge receipt of telegram, while on the road, notifying me that Major-General Steele's orders should be obeyed. I have here ready for shipment 125 bales of cotton, the property of loyal citizens, which has been secreted for two years. Forage and subsistence, with exception of fresh beef, are exceedingly scarce, and I make the attempt to-morrow to procure additional supplies from Devall's Bluff. My present supply will carry me to end of January at two-thirds ration. I have sent an expedition against Colonel Freeman's command of Confederates and freebooters. I will notify you of the results as soon as known. There are now in prison at this point 19 guerrillas and Confederate soldiers and 2 lieutenants of the Confederate army, the latter properly cared for according to rank. Colonel E. Baxter, of this place, has authority from Major-General Steele to raise a regiment of mounted infantry for twelve months or during the war, and has now 131 men. He expects many more, but he has been recruiting since October, and they do not rally around the flag with much enthusiasm.
I have prohibited the organization of Home Guards in this locality, for several reasons, among which are, that such service having great attractions, would obtain recruits more readily than the general service, while at the same time the country is so fearfully lawless, and murders are so common, that I considered it imprudent to involve a needless loss of life by such organizations, as I feel certain that many of the members could be murdered by guerrillas, and their arms taken from them. When a man commits himself to the Union now, he must stay with the Federal troops for safety, and date not go home.
I hope soon to change the complexion of matters here. A general expression of satisfaction with my proclamation is manifested by the citizens of Batesville. They fear guerrillas more than they do either army. I ordered Captain Kauffman, Eleventh Missouri Cavalry, with three squadrons of his regiment, to relieve Colonel Black, Third Missouri Cavalry, at Jacksonport, the latter having been instructed by Major-General Steele to fall back on Searcy. Jacksonport is an important point, but difficult to hold should the enemy concentrate a force sufficient to drive Kauffman, as Black River lies between it and this post, with very defective means of crossing, through a single flat-boat. Should the Eleventh be attacked, I can do but little to help him, and he must repulse the enemy or swim the river.
I find a great many safeguards here, nearly always with men who have large lots of corn and grain. I have, of course, respected them, but it is very awkward sometimes. I would respectfully suggest that Captain Lee P. Gillette be appointed mustering officer for this district, as the recruits we obtain should be mustered in to draw pay. His duties as inspector and chief of cavalry are not of a character to prevent the full and faithful discharge of the appointment I ask.