in case Banks had retreated, which could not be certainly ascertained until daylight, to take up the pursuit of the flying enemy. To my surprise and indignation General Bee's brigade was not in line of battle until at least a half hour by sun, by which time Colonels Baylor and Madison, with their cavalry regiments, had gotten five or six miles in pursuit and had sent back a number of prisoners. Of course I know nothing of General Bee's conduct subsequent to the period of which I have spoken, but give the above as the grounds of my objections to his being assigned to an important command. So far as this officer's personal character is concerned, his courage, honor, and integrity are universally conceded, and by none more fully than myself, but I would regard it as a public calamity to know of his being assigned to an important command.
I am, general very respectfully,
J. G. WALKER,
HDQRS. CONFEDERATE FORCES IN NORTH. ARKANSAS,
Camp Dobbin, August 15, 1864.
Colonel S. A. DOBBIN,
COLONEL: I am looking for a courier from Camden every day, and I think he will be here the 18th at farthest. This messenger will bring the explicit information whether I shall move north or south, and when my orders are received the rapidity with which I shall march will only be equaled by the desire to go forward. I wrote to you some time ago stating that you could cross White River below Clarendon and report to General Price in that direction. I now suggest that you form a connection with me, and if I should be ordered south you can take the same route. I mention this because the country through which I shall pass will afford you some recruits; there will be also some unattached companies which I can assign to you, and because I shall halt at Washington long enough for you to concentrate all your men. You had better have you entire command on the west side of Black River by the evening of the 20th of August, as I shall concentrate my whole force in the neighborhood lying between Batesville and Hookram, and anywhere there you will be in communication with me. One think is certain, we will have to leave this country, either north or south, in a very few days, for the wheat crop is entirely consumed, the growing corn taxed heavily both by drought and foraging, and the necessities of the citizens demand that they should be left before starvation is upon them. The Federals have left Searcy and gone went toward the military road leading from Little Rock to Batesville. I shall know to-night to what point they intend marching. Captain Redd, my aide-de-camp, will deliver this communication. Please write fully by him your intentions. I have high hopes of going to Missouri, but in the event of a failure I will leave the country immediately after the 20th. I have no other news worth your attention. The longer I remain here now the greater difficulty I will have in keeping the recruits together, and it is a matter of military necessity to leave for the regular army immediately or else march on a heavy expedition where they will be too far away from home to return when they desire to see "Sarah and the children." Let me know by Captain Redd whether you intend going with me or by