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[430] Arkansas. Hughes and Quantrell, thus abandoned, saw their bands gradually dwindle away in small encounters, and by the end of August the whole country was again pacified.

The Confederates, however, were fully determined not to leave their adversaries in peaceful possession of Missouri. The unprotected frontier which had allowed them to penetrate into the State was still open, and Bragg's successes in Kentucky during the early part of September rendered this a propitious opportunity for a new invasion. They made active preparations to this effect. The forces of the secessionists in Arkansas were commanded by Hindman, a former member of Congress. This general, on the plea of military necessity, had arrogated to himself excessive power in this State. Under the name of governor ad interim, his despotism, according to the statements of Confederate historians themselves, knew no bounds.1 The crops were carried off by his agents; his soldiers plundered with impunity; the conscription law was applied in all its rigor, and confirmed by sanguinary executions. The whole of Arkansas was in a state of consternation, and loudly complained of so onerous a protection. This system, however, had enabled Hindman to assemble forty or fifty thousand men under his banners; these troops were well provisioned, but destitute of arms, the Federal gun-boats having seized on the Mississippi a large cargo intended for them. They were of no use in Arkansas, where not a Federal soldier could be found, and too numerous to be organized into a single army in those regions, so poor in subsistence. General J. Johnston, who had just been placed in command of the armies of the West, added his earnest solicitations to those of General Randolph, Secretary of War, to induce Mr. Davis to issue a formal order, directing Hindman to send twenty thousand men to the other side of the Mississippi to strengthen the army of Pemberton. This timely reinforcement might have changed the whole course of the war in the West; for, by preventing Bragg from weakening himself for the benefit of the army of the Mississippi, as we shall presently see, it would probably have enabled him to come off victorious at the battle of Murfreesborough. But Mr. Davis refused to issue an order which would have caused a great deal of

1 See Pollard's Lost Cause, p. 354.

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