CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,
September 26, 1863.
The attention of the lieutenant-general commanding has been called to the numerous depredations committed by the troops in the vicinity of Arkadelphia. This conduct is severely reprehended by the lieutenant-general commanding, and officers will be held to the strictest account for the conduct of the troops under their command. Under no circumstances will private property be taken for public use without authority from these headquarters.
By command of Lieutenant-Colonel Holmes:
GEO. A. GALLAGHER,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Arkadelphia, Ark., September 28, 1863.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
SIR: Colonel R. W. Johnson goes to Richmond to lay before Your Excellency the condition of this department.* My previous communications must have convinced you they were eminently critical. Events, as they crowd upon us, are fast realizing my worst anticipations. The despondency of our people, their listlessness, their anticipations. The despondency of our people, their listlessness, their deafness to the call of both the civil and military authorities, the desertions from our ranks, checked neither by vigor nor clemency, all indicate despair and abandonment. Unless a great change takes place, unless succor comes to us from abroad, or unless the providence of God is strikingly exhibited in our favor, this department will soon have but a nominal existence. Without men, without arms, with a people so demoralized by speculation that submission is preferred to resistance the immense efforts being made by the enemy must be crowned with success.
The force at Little rock, under General Steele, numbers, from all estimates, at least 25,000. They have been re-enforced, and are only awaiting supplies before advancing. Desertions and sickness have reduced General Hulmes' command to less than 7,000. General Taylor has under 10,000 effective men in his district. He reports General Grant in person superintending operations at Berwick's Bay. Two entire corps of his army, supposed too be Ord's and McPherson's, with Banks' army, were encamped on the west shore. Texas was openly declared their destination. The large amount of transportation accumulated by them indicates a campaign by land from Berwick's Bay. Sherman's pickets extend to Bayou Macon. He has been preparing for active operations, and, it is reported, will march, by Monroe, on Shreveport or Camden. When these columns move, the enemy will bring fully 80,000 men to operate within the department. I shall concentrate as soon as their plans are developed; but, under the most favorable circumstances, cannot expect to bring over 15,000 effectives together. A decisive blow struck by us may turn the tide of events; but assistance from without or successes within the department can alone prevent the occupation of Arkansas, Louisiana, and the Texas coast this winter. Cut off as we are, I know not what aid you can give us. Arms and money are our most pressing wants, to pay the troops and meet the current expenses. The
*See Smith to Johnson, October 2, p. 1029.