[S. M.] Noble, with Wier's squadron and [W. J.] Coggins' company, will be at Dardanelle. I regret the necessity of this course, but you know that troops cannot, nor can horses, live without food. I shall withdraw the troops at Clarksville and at this place as soon as I hear that the boats which are expected from below pass up, and also when I hear from you. I am firmly of the opinion that it is the proper policy for me to join General Steele, and force them to fight on the prairie instead of fighting within the limits of the State. There is nothing north of the mountains to subsist either men or horses; nothing growing and nothing remaining of their last year's crop; so we can expect nothing from that direction.
In your litter of the 16th, you labor under an error in supposing that I continued to send out small scouts. I had put a stop to that for the reason that there was no necessity for it, as I had driven all the jay hawkers and Federals that were in small parties out of the country south of the mountains and a considerable distance toward Fayetteville. But, sir, no man can concentrate mounted troops and keep them together when there is no forage, no horseshoes, nothing to make them efficient. I had all my troops together the day I left for Fayetteville, except three companies not more than half armed, which I left at Clarksville, and one company at Van Buren, to protect the citizens from the jayhawkers and Pin Indians. I did not have the day I left half forage for my command, and was compelled to move somewhere. I considered it necessary to find out by going myself to see if I could find any subsistence north of the mountains, as ordered to go there in one of your previous letters to me. My other reason was fully explained in my report sent you yesterday of the raid made on Fayetteville. I did not take the place, and if I had had with me every man I have on paper, armed as they are, I could have done no more. I made an honest effort to take the place, and have given them a severe blow, and one that will prove to be a good one in the end, as it will curb their utter lawlessness and will put a stop to [William A.] Phillips' farther progress in the Indian country, at least for the present. As soon as General Steele and myself unite, we can be more effective. What I have done since I came here will prove whether I have acted wisely or not; time will tell. When I assumed command, I had only 480 men for duty, and nearly one-fourth of them unarmed. Besides, I have had men taken from companies here, that were counted in my aggregate here, and sent to other regiments; saying nothing in the mean time of my being compelled to get all my meat from the country infested by the enemy and with a scanty supply of corn and breadstuffs. I hope that you will consider these things- the appeals made to me for assistance by males and females, brothers, wives, and sisters of men in our service, to prevent the small marauding parties from murdering their husbands, fathers, and brothers; also your orders to me when I left to put an end to this in the counties near Clarksville first- and you will agree with me that I have done right, and that I am willing to fight them whenever and wherever they may be found. I will write you when I do leave.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. CABELL,
Brigadier- General, Commanding Northwestern Arkansas.
[APRIL 22, 1863.-For Pemberton to E. Kirby Smith, see Series I, Vol. XV, p. 1049]