Little Rock with an imposing force. Your brave defenders confront him with a fixed determination to turn him back in confusion, and are confident of victory. Upon the result of the impending battles rest in great measure the fate of Arkansas, the inviolability of your homes, and the honor of your families.
You have not yet known the utter misery of being overridden by a merciless and vindictive foe, and either driven with your wives and daughters into a homeless exile or forced to crouch in servile and degrading submission at the feet of the conqueror, in order to purchase a fleeting exemption from poverty and imprisonment by a base surrender of your manhood and your honor. You have never yet been compelled to use for protection against evils like these, and worse than these, to men who command armies composed largely of your own slaves.
If you would avoid such misery and degradation, you must loiter no longer in ease and safety, but rush to the side of the undaunted men who crowd the intrenchments and eagerly await the coming of the foe. Your country, your views, yours daughters, your mothers, your own honor appeal to you to act at once.
I therefore invite you to volunteer without delay, in any company which you my prefer, or to organize yourselves to-night under the call of your Governor.
If there be any among you too cowardly or base to volunteer under these circumstances, he shall be compelled to share your dangers, though he cannot share your glory.
The commandant of this post will be directed to arrest every able-bodied man to-morrow who may be absent from his post, whether he be officer, man, or citizen,and whether he belong to commands elsewhere or not, and to place him wherever his services may be most required.
The commanding officers of the troops in front have been ordered to arrest, and to shot down, if necessary, every one who may be found attempting to pass toward the enemy under any pretext whatever, either with or without a pass.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, Shreveport, La., September 5, 1863.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
SIR: I have the honor to inclose to you a copy of my letter to Mr. Slidell, our commissioner in Paris. The condition of our affairs west of the Mississippi I believe warranted the step, and Mr. Slidell may find the facts useful in his negotiations with the French Government. The prospects of the department are presented in a gloomy light, but I do not think it a too exaggerated picture of what may occur.
All information received by me since the fall of Vicksburg indicates extensive preparations for the occupation of Arkansas, Louisiana, and, possibly,of Texas this fall and winter. The concentration of heavy columns on the Arkansas frontier, in Lower Louisiana, and on the Mississippi, the employment of a large portion of Grant's army in these dispositions,and the activity displayed by the enemy, point to an extensive and vigorous campaign in the States west of the Mississippi. The means at my disposal are utterly inadequate. Scarce 30,000 effective men can be found in the department. General Holmes, with about 10,000, 2,000 of whom are unarmed, has 20,000 of the enemy concentrated in his front; Steele, in the Indian country, has less than 5,000 ill-armed