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[112] by President Davis, put in command of unattached forces by Van Dorn, and given a brigade in the army of the West. Though a man of great energy in business, and of gigantic stature, he lacked aptitude for commanding or inspiring men in military operations. Under General Hindman, he commanded the cavalry, led that arm in the first operations against Curtis, and now, Hindman having heard on June 24th that Curtis with his entire army was in motion down the east bank of White river, and almost destitute of supplies, Rust was ordered toward Jacksonport, intending there to cross White river, get in Curtis' front and dispute the passage of Black river, three miles above Jacksonport. Continuing his report, General Hindman says:
To delay the enemy and gain time for this movement, Sweet's Texas regiment was thrown across White river above Batesville and fell upon his rear, killing, wounding and capturing over 200 Federals and taking a number of wagons containing army stores and sutler's goods. He was compelled to retire, however, by the near approach of Washburn's cavalry brigade, marching from Missouri to reinforce Curtis. General Rust reported it impracticable to cross White river at or near Jacksonport. I then ordered him to Des Arc, 75 miles below, and afterward to cross White river and take position on Cache river, which Curtis must cross in his march southward. [Cache river heads at Chalk bluff, near the Missouri line, and runs south, parallel with White and Black rivers, not far to the east of them.] Rust's force was increased at Des Arc by the addition of Col. D. McRae's regiment of Arkansas infantry, which that indomitable officer had marched to him at the rate of 25 miles a day, arming his men by impressments and purchases on the route. I was unable to send him a six-gun battery, which just then arrived from General Pike's headquarters, commanded by Capt. W. E. Woodruff, an officer of tried bravery and skill.

The order for this battery was given on May 31st. It also directed General Pike to send me Dawson's regiment of Arkansas infantry, which might now have been extremely useful. He sent the men, but took away from

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