gan's regiment being at Fort Smith. The force now here is about 1,200 stronger than that under General Cooper's command in his late action at Honey Springs. The enemy on that occasion displayed a larger force than he was supposed to be able to move.
I shall move back at once and occupy the ground from which General Cooper was driven, unless delayed by the Canadian, which was reported last night as rising. The morale of the troops is considerable affected by the bad quality of the powder which we have, which is so easily injured by the least dampness as to be worthless. This powder came from San Antonio. It is supposed by the men to have been sent to Mexico by the Yankees purposely to sell to us.
The campaign here is resolved into a defensive one, without an increase of force, and of artillery particularly. The artillery company with General Cooper, having lost one of their howitzers, have now but two howitzers and one rifled prairie gun. General Cabell has with his brigade four iron sixes.
From this you will see that I am in no condition to attempt the reduction of Fort Blunt (Fort Gibson), which has at least ten pieces of artillery some of it heavier than any I have. The two pieces which General Magruder turned over to me, and afterward took back, would be worth more than a thousand men. The Arkansas River is reported to have risen 10 feet, which would prevent any movement for several days.
Very respectfully, &c.
HEADQUARTERS PRICE'S DIVISION,
Des Arc, Ark., July 23, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH, Shreveport:
GENERAL: You will probably have received a communication addressed to me by Dr. Pearson, and by me forwarded to you this day, through district headquarters, with my indorsement upon it. That communication was intended to advise me that our friends in Saint Louis (from which city Dr. Pearson is just returning) believe that the enemy are about to send a force of 60,000 men into this State. The writer, who is known to me as very intelligent and trustworthy gentleman, states, in confirmation of this report, that twelve regiments had already left Saint Louis, for Rolla, in Southwestern Missouri, and six regiments for Helena, in this State. This last statement has been fully verified by reports from Helena. It has also been manifest, for three weeks past, that the enemy were concentrating near Ironton, in Missouri, a heavy force of cavalry and artillery (from 6,000 to 10,000 men), well equipped and supplied with pontoon teams, &c., and plainly intended to operate in this direction, and the latest intelligence shows that this force, the advance of which is even now within this State, is but the advance of a heavy force of infantry. Being myself fully convinced by these and other facts that the enemy is about to advance against us (probably in three columns; one army from Northwestern Arkansas, another down the White River Valley, and the third from the Mississippi) in numbers which we cannot even hope to withstand in the present scattered condition of the troops in this district and department, and believing also that our own forces cannot be concentrated north of the Arkansas either in sufficient numbers or in time to resist the enemy's advance without exposing ourselves to capture or annihila-