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[181] As I am not able to refer to any documents, I can only give you my recollections; and I hope, therefore, that any one who can correct my mistakes of omission, will do so, for after a lapse of so long a time, passed in events of such absorbing interest as those of our great war, one's memory loses many facts.

In January, 1862, General Earl Van Dorn was appointed commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, then a part of the great territorial command of your father, General Sydney Johnston. I was ordered from the Potomac to go with Van Dorn as chief of the staff of his Trans-Mississippi district.

In February we reached Jacksonport, Arkansas, on the White river, and soon after moved up to Pocahontas, in the northeastern part of Arkansas, and began to organize an expedition against Saint Louis. Van Dorn's plan was to carry Saint Louis by a coup de main, and then to throw his forces into Illinois and transfer the war into the enemy's country.

We had been busily occupied in preparing for this operation, when, late in February, Colonel Clay Taylor arrived at headquarters with dispatches from General Price, then in Boston mountains in northwest Arkansas. General Price related that after his victory at Springfield, or Oakhill, he had been forced by the reinforced enemy to retreat through Missouri down into Arkansas; that General McCulloch, commanding the Texans, was near him in Boston mountain; that the enemy, under Generals Curtis and Siegel, were lying only two marches distant, not over 18,000 strong, and might be overcome by a vigorous combined attack of all the forces of Mc-Culloch and Price — but that points of difference of opinion and precedence of rank had arisen between them, in consequence of which no co-operation could be efficiently conducted, and he prayed that Van Dorn, as their common superior, would come at once to Boston mountains, combine the forces of the discordant generals, and lead them to attack the enemy's army.

As our designed operations upon Saint Louis depended mainly upon these commands of Price and McCulloch for success, Van Dorn at once set out for Boston mountains, where he knew he would find a battle ready for him, and, should victory crown him, the success of his Saint Louis expedition would be assured.

We took a steamer for Jacksonport, whence, on February 23d, we mounted our horses and started upon our ride across the State to Van Buren. Our party consisted of Van Dorn, myself, Lieutenant Sullivan, who was nephew and aid de camp to General Van Dorn,

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