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[205] soldiers, and what arms it could spare. They have been sent to fight the battles of our country, east of the Mississippi; they went with promise of return; they have never been sent back; there is now little hope of that. They, as a general rule, comprised our best men, spirited and devoted to the cause. Those remaining are less reliable. The question is, Can Texas furnish men enough to defend herself and maintain her independence, much less reconquer the vast area that would separate her from the Mississippi and the Confederacy? The danger is, that Texas may seek to make terms for her own safety, in a revival of her favorite and ancient idea of separate nationality.

The thought of our being cut off from the Confederacy and our subjugation to Northern domination, degrading and ruinous, is insupportable. If any such army as the enemy can bring against us shall be permitted, quietly and without meeting resolute resistance, to march through and occupy so extensive a country as Arkansas, in view of the resources of this whole department, of which Arkansas is now the key, and involving such mighty and disastrous consequences, it must become a sad reflection upon those in authority.

In the way of advice, we offer the following suggestions, and hope General Smith will find something in them worthy of consideration: To make all our people and slaves retire from the banks of the Mississippi. Let that region become waste. To prevent all illicit traffic with the enemy at the various points on the river. That has been vastly injurious to us, and is what we have most to dread. To break up all planting operations attempted under Federal license or control. To allow no cotton to be raised, and destroy what is on hand. . . . Our opinion is against calling out the State militia. General Smith should rigidly enforce the Confederate conscription while and wherever he has an opportunity, throughout his department.

Thus they depended upon maintaining Little Rock as a strategic center; not upon ‘the best and spirited’ soldiers who had been sent to fight battles east of the Mississippi and would not return, but upon those ‘remaining and less reliable.’

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