5th. There ought to be immediate steps taken to enforce the Confederate conscription in this department, between forty and forty-five years; to gather up all the paroled men from Vicksburg and Port Hudson, and, if possible, and as a matter of simple justice, to have troops that went from this side of the Mississippi, and were captured over there, returned as organized regiments, upon their exchange to this department where they belong.
6th. In our opinion, Little Rock is naturally, centrally, and, because of its telegraphic communications, properly, and, in a strategic point of view, ought to be, the headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi Department. It ought to be so at least for the time being, and we earnestly desire the presence of General Smith.
7th. There should be such a concentration of our forces as would insure success. One substantial victory would restore confidence and save this whole country.
8th. Our friends in Missouri ought to be encouraged to keep the enemy occupied there by unceasing warfare and agitation. The people of Texas ought to be persuaded that it is to their advantage to have their battles fought in Arkansas, and come to our aid.
This department will have to be, in a great degree, self-sustaining. General Smith should bend all his energies to the manufacture of salt, shoes, and clothing; to make his own powder and dig his own lead; to establish shops for the repair, and,if possible, the making of small-arms and light artillery and of wagons for transportation. In the extraordinary circumstances that surround him, he must expect to assume and exercise extraordinary powers, and to do and have done what he sees and knows is for the best, without waiting upon the uncertainties and chances of orders from Richmond, where, as we apprehend, the wants and true condition, of this department, if not overlooked, have never been fully comprehended.
We pledge ourselves to General Smith that the patriotic, intelligent sentiment of our people shall sustain him in his exertions to save our country.
We have the honor to be, very respectfully,
GEO. C. WATKINS,
R. W. JOHNSON,
A. H. GARLAND,
C. C. DANLEY,
CAMP ON CACHE RIVER,
July 25, 1863-1 p.m.
Brigadier General J. S. MARMADUKE:
I have just returned, with my scout, from Crowley's Ridge. The enemy are advancing down the ridge on the east and west sides. A regiment camped at Dr. Cross', 4 miles above my house, last night, on the west side, and a regiment (800 strong) reached Jonesborough, on the east side, after dark last night. The main body was to camp last night at Gainesville. I have reliable information that nine regiments of cavalry and 200 infantry and ten pieces of artillery were all that came to Bloomfield. I left Osborne's, on the Ridge, after daylight this morning. I cannot yet ascertain about their artillery. The enemy are destroying all the corn and wheat, feeding it to their horses. I yet have two small scouts on the east side of Cache, under Captains Glenn and Cooper.