report sooner; have no stationery or candles. However, I send it by the courier. I stopped in Augusta long enough to sketch it off hurriedly.
I regret this, as General Holmes has, by his hasty remarks, done both my brigade and myself gross injustice, which requires at my hands a publication based upon my report, as under the circumstances, that course is unavoidable. Already it is stated that General Price was to carry Fort Gorman. If we were to do so, General Holmes did not mention the matter in the conference in which I was. We were to attack and take Graveyard Hill, and we did, it just as we would either of the others, if so ordered.
My men are sickening rapidly. Under directions from General Holmes, many of the men have been furloughed. I would suggest that General Price authorize me to halt somewhere near Little Red River, which is the center of the district where my command was raised, and refit and collect my furloughed and absent men. I believe this would be best for the service.
Your obedient servant,
Camp at Russell's Ferry, July 14, 1863
Major HENRY EWING,
MAJOR: My last dispatches gave it as my opinion that at that time General Davidson did not intend an advance in this direction, and that the threatening front presented was only to prevent an expected raid on our part, and that, as soon as he discovered that it was not our intention to advance, he, of course, abandoned it, and commenced the concentration of his whole force at Bloomfield, Mo. His object in so doing and the benefits arising from such a move are, in my opinion, twofold. He could not only from this point protect Ironton (that he had an eye to this, notice his bridging the Mingo and other small streams), but would also occupy such a position as would enable him to cover Cape Girardeau and New Madrid thereby rendering the navigation of the Mississippi above that point perfectly secure.
Again, from this point he could the more readily assume the offensive than from any other place, and, by bridging the Saint Francis, could throw his whole force upon Jacksonport or unite with those at Helena. Davidson's force is now undoubtedly superior to that of General Marmaduke, and, in the event of an advance, that force will be swelled by the troops now at Cape Girardeau and New Madrid, this advance superseding the necessity of their remaining any longer to protect those points. The design of such a movement would be either to force General Marmaduke to abandon this portion of Arkansas or to unite with the troops at Helena, and march upon Little Rock, and drive us south of the Arkansas River. Helena is now secure, and no reason exists who those troops may not engage in such an expedition. When Davidson does advance, I think he will cross at Chalk Bluff, that being his most accessible point. The above reasons induce me to think that it is the intention of General Davidson to advance, and that before long. Colonel Kitchen writes me that there are only 1,200 now at Bloomfield, but that there are several regiments on the way to that point. I think
59 R R-VOL XXII, PT II