These cannot be taken from them, except by impressment. If it be attempted otherwise and the officers choose (as they probably will) to advise the men to resist, there is no court which could conscientiously with their oath punish the officers. I therefore propose to impress according to law the horses, arms, &.c., the private property of the men, to effect all of which Gano's cavalry is urgently needed.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. BANKHEAD MAGRUDER,
Major-General, Commanding District of Arkansas.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS,
Washington, December 15, 1864.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I would most respectfully represent that this army stands in the most urgent need of arms, and that unless the general commanding distributes to this district its proportion of arms received through Texas, the spring campaign will find it utterly unprepared to meet the enemy. A previous application to this effect was answered from department headquarters by giving me authority to obtain arms from Selma: but independently of the fact that there is no certainty of there being any arms there, I have since my last communication on this subject received information that the state of the roads on the other side of the Mississippi River forbids all idea of crossing them directly into this district. These roads are represented by Major Burton, chief quartermaster District of Arkansas, impassable at this season even for empty wagons. He informs me that the road leading from Jackson, Miss., to Saint Joe, La. is good, but this is probably in the hands of the enemy. The general commanding will therefore perceive that no practicable result can be obtained from this authority to procure arms from Selma in time for the next campaign, and that without his assistance in furnishing arms through Texas this army will force, when it should be provided with all that is necessary to act offensively should an opportunity occur. General Price's army, I am informed, lost some 5,000 or 6,000 arms on its retreat from Missouri, and of the comparatively small number of men of that army yet in hand it is reported by General Price and others of his officers that only one-third are armed. Under these circumstances, I hope that the wants of this army may not be ignored, and that the general commanding the department will at least order a pro rata distribution both in quality and quantity of all arms on hand or which may be received through Texas. Of the 1,360 arms which I was fortunate enough to obtain from Selma, 1,000 were issued to troops in this district and 360 went to the Texas or Louisiana cavalry. The Enfield rifles which I applied for in September last were issued, as I was informed from department headquarters, to Brigadier-General Thomas' brigade in Louisiana.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. B. MAGRUDER,