LITTLE ROCK, ARK., July 25, 1863.
His Excellency H. FLANAGIN,
Governor of Arkansas:
GOVERNOR: We have read and somewhat considered the letter and circular of General Smith, written after the fall of Vicksburg. As requested, we offer the following suggestions, and think it well for you to communicate with General Smith on a subject of so much importance, without delaying for the proposed meeting at Marshall.
We are opposed to any policy of abandoning Arkansas to the enemy,
and remonstrate against it as ruinous to our people and greatly injurious to the cause. It is less difficult to hold the country than it will be to regain it. If Arkansas is given up, we lose the Indian country, west, which must share the same fate.
Negro slavery exists in the Indian Territory, and is profitable and desirable there affording a practical issue of the right of expansion, for which the war began. Especially ought we to try and hold the capital of the State, and with it the valley of the Arkansas River. As long as we can do that, we may be said to hold the State politically and geographically. We think we have a force sufficient, if concentrated to check and defeat, whenever they leave the river, an invading army of 50,000 men and earnestly desire the effort the be made.
We call your attention to some of the disastrous consequence of Federal occupation of Arkansas:
1st. A bogus government would be inaugurated at Little Rock. The people, without arms or organization, would acquiesce in forced or sham elections, and settle down in helpless submission to a de jure civil as well as military government.
2nd. Her soldiers must rapidly disappear from our ranks by death, disability and by desertion to return for the protection of their suffering families.
3rd. The Indian Nations will inevitably follow the fate of Arkansas, as they always have done.
4th. Missouri, isolated, would become hopeless,cease her struggles, and become submissive to her fate.
5th. The enemy at Little Rock would have White River, with unfailing navigation for a base of operation and supply with the aid of the railroad from Devall's Bluff to Little Rock. From this place, where high lands for the first time, ascending, come in on both sides of the river, this State as well as the Indian country, and all of Northern Louisiana, are accessible over dry ridge roads. The Arkansas Valley is teeming with productions. If affords the only a available surplus, south of the line of White River, of provisions for the support of an army. When our army retires, the armies of the enemy will subsist upon the growing crops and our people will starve or purchase life by submission.
6th. If an effort is not made to defend and hold the Arkansas Valley and Little Rock, there is no line of defense south of it short of Red River. To abandon it would be to give up the entire State, involving its political organization and the prestige of governmental authority. If Arkansas is lost, all of Western Louisiana, would be overrun; the Indian country as well as Missouri, would be lost to us. We would thus lose not only a territorial area of conscription greater than all of France, but the enemy would be positively strengthened by additions to their armies, in volunteers, and forced levies of militia.
7th. The alluvial lands of Arkansas and Louisiana can be made to produce all the cotton of commerce, to say nothing of sugar. More than
60 R R-VOL XXII, PT II