labors to arrive from the neighboring plantations, and desiring, before I commenced erecting works, to have the point to be fortified definitely determined upon. Some fifty-odd laborers are now here, lying idle, whilst I am awaiting instructions. I have not thought it advisable to commence work here, feeling assured that when the commanding general came to compare the merits of this point with those of Day's Bluff, he would at once give the preference to the latter place. This place can be turned by a march of 2 or 3 miles, whilst that would require a march of probably 15, with a difficult bayou to cross in order to attain its rear. The rear can there be easily strengthened, whilst here it would be impossible without great labor; in a word, there can be no just comparison made between the two points. This would be a slight impediment, that a serious obstacle, to an enemy's advance. If the large guns can be obtained from the Arkansas Post, they should be at once sent to Day's Bluff. With them, a force of 10,000 ought to stop 30,000 at that point. I trust that this subject will receive the attention of the general commanding at his earliest convenience.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. M. FROST,
Brigadier-General, Commanding First Brigade.
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., February 27, 1863.
General J. S. MARMADUKE:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I have considered your proposition relative to Missouri very carefully, and with an earnest desire to foster the plan. If Blunt or Herron is still at Forsyth, anything like a successful or permanent occupation of Missouri would require an infantry force to sustain you. If you go alone, and are forced to return, you would leave our friends there to a merciless foe, who would not hesitate to destroy every man, woman, or child that showed you sympathy. If the Federals have left Northwestern Arkansas, I should have no difficulty in raising you command to 6,000 but it would not do to leave them there, as all that part of the State is so perfectly demoralized that we should lose its allegiance in a short time, and, what is of still more importance, the Indians would desert us, and we should have an active enemy in our midst. If you could, after your men and horses are recruited, make a trial expedition, and take Fayetteville in reverse, if you cannot make a direct march, you would do us an infinite service. But please remember that you are intrusted with the entire defense of the northern frontier, and any disaster to you would be ruinous to us. In regard to our friends in Missouri, I think you overestimate their zeal, or rather you underestimate the effect of the iron and diabolical rule of the enemy over there. It is expecting too much of weak human nature to suppose that they will sacrifice all, unless we can give them at least a reasonable show of permanent protection. Without this, though they would sympathize with us in their hearts, they would raise no hand to help us, vide Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Consider this, and tell me what you think.
What will you do for a commander for [J. C.] Porter's brigade? Tell me what you wish, and also if a brigadier from another State would answer your purpose; if not, who from Missouri shall I recommend?
I am, general, very respectfully,
TH. H. HOLMES,