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Chapter 5:

After the battle of Elkhorn, a considerable Federal force was collected at Fort Scott, under General Blunt, commanding the district of Kansas, for the occupation of Indian Territory; and General Curtis, with his army of the Southwest, advanced by way of White river toward northeastern Arkansas.

The military board of Arkansas had sent a party of miners and manufacturers to work the saltpeter caves on the south bank of White river, in north Arkansas, near Talbot's Ferry, guarded by a detachment from the command of Colonel Coleman. Curtis sent LieutenantCol-onel McCrillis from Forsyth, Mo., April 24th, to destroy the works. Notwithstanding their inferiority in numbers, the Confederates took position in the log cabins and resisted the crossing of the river by the enemy with great spirit, killing Lieutenant Heacock, Fourth Iowa, and one of his men, and wounding several others. The enemy finally secured the works, which were injured to some extent, but not destroyed. Then, the Confederates returning in force, the enemy hastily retreated.

April 21st, Curtis' advance was met in a skirmish at Pocahontas, Ark., by a small force of Confederates. May 4th, the Federal army reached Batesville, on White river, near its junction with the Black, the home of Elisha Baxter (brother of Judge John B. Baxter of Knoxville, [93] Tenn.), who had espoused the Union cause. Batesville is the seat of Independence county, one of the oldest in the State, and an important center of northeast Arkansas. A small force of Confederates under Colonel Coleman retired across the river as the Federals entered the town, and greeted the enemy with a galling fire of musketry, until Curtis ordered out his artillery. Curtis, in his report, says he captured ‘some hundred stands of arms and considerable contraband property.’ Coleman's men had another meeting with the enemy's cavalry at Cottonplant, May 14th, where his force was too small to make a decided stand; but on the 18th, west of the little town of Hardin, Mo., he captured wagons, trains, and some prisoners.

Detachments of Federal cavalry now penetrated at will into the region adjacent to Batesville, and into the counties bordering on Missouri, burning homes, carrying off slaves, destroying farming utensils, and leading old men and boys into captivity, or murdering them. Tories formed a Federal Arkansas regiment at Batesville, and a brigade in Madison, Carroll and Newton counties, and induced some leading citizens, former State officials, Lafayette Gregg and others, and a member of the secession convention (Isaac Murphy), to join their standard. Their influence was rapidly growing in the hill lands, extending southward and west of Little Rock.

Colonel Jeffers, May 16th, met the enemy at Chalk Bluff, on White river, and resisted the crossing, causing the Federals considerable loss. May 17th, a detachment of Federal Missouri cavalry, guided by a supposed tory named Van Metre, of White county, were foraging on Little Red river when they were attacked by Confederates under Captain Chrisman, who captured a large number of wagons and mules. It was afterward suspected to be an ambuscade, into which the enemy was led by Van Metre. The Confederates claimed 20 killed and many wounded.

Searcy landing is a point on Little Red river, only fifty miles from Little Rock, to which, at a high stage of [94] water, steamboats sometimes ascended, delivering freight for the town Searcy, seat of White county and a fertile country in the vicinity. On the 19th of May a detachment of Curtis' army was sent to impress forage on the south side of Little Red river, at Whitten's and Hopper's farms. The enemy's escort consisted of infantry, cavalry and artillery, about 300 men. Having loaded their train and started for the bridge across the river, they were attacked by Confederate mounted men, chiefly armed with shotguns, under Colonel McRae, Hicks and Captain Chrisman, who surrounded the train and killed 20 of the Federals and wounded 36, according to the report of General Osterhaus. About this time General Curtis reported:

A terrible rain, continuing for thirty-six hours, has created a flood, which is very inopportune to my movement. The ox-train had brought me a supply of seven or eight days, and on this I hoped to reach Little Rock. Now, dry creeks are impassable, and several days will transpire before I can cross streams, and during this time my bread supplies will probably run short. The country here and below cannot furnish flour and I must depend mainly on the trains for bread. Since writing the foregoing a scout comes directly from Little Rock. The rebels have burned the cotton (100,000 bales) in my advance: also bridges across Des Arc and Cypress [bayous].

On May 26th there was a skirmish between Hicks' men and a detachment of Federals; and on the 27th, at West Point, the enemy's cavalry was met and repulsed by a body of Confederates, after a skirmish of an hour. This was followed by a skirmish at Cache river bridge, on the 28th. On the 2d of June, Colonel Brackett, Ninth Illinois cavalry, retreated from his camp at Jacksonport upon the approach up White river of Commander Joseph Fry, of the old navy, with the Confederate gunboat Maurepas.

On the 27th of May, General Carr reported a severe skirmish by Confederates with the escort of one of his forage trains, and added: ‘Men of mine, who were with the Germans today foraging, report great excesses on their [95] part, going into the private apartments of ladies and opening trunks and drawers and ransacking everything and taking away what they wanted. If these excesses are permitted, we cannot wonder at guerrilla warfare.’

Henry Cabot Lodge, of Massachusetts, says, in his recent ‘Story of the Revolution,’ of the employment of the Hessians by King George in 1776: ‘George meant to be a king, and the idea of resistance to his wishes was intolerable to him. It was something to be crushed, not reasoned with. To carry out his plans, ships, expeditions and armaments were being prepared, and the king, in order to get men, sent his agents over Europe to buy soldiers from the wretched German princelings, who lived by selling their subjects, or from any one else who was ready to traffic in flesh and blood. It was not a pretty business, nor overcreditable to a great fighting people like the English, but it unquestionably meant business.’ He also writes that the English ministry ‘resorted to the inhuman scheme’ of intriguing with Indians to ‘incite this savage warfare’ against the colonists, and in the North their Indian allies fought for them diligently, and damaged their cause irreparably.

In the war of 1861-65 the Pin Indians were the first to be turned loose upon our frontier by the Federal government. The Germans in the Federal army were purely mercenaries, as much so as those hired by King George to overrun and pillage the colonies in the earlier struggle for independence. The bounties paid them upon enlistment, the gross favoritism and extenuation granted their errors and breaches, promotions to high military positions of waiters and bartenders to conciliate the German emigrants, constituted them a distinct and privileged element in the army of the Union, without restraint and yielding to the degraded instincts of an insolent hireling soldiery. They were hardly more accountable to the rules of civilized warfare than the Indian savages enlisted by Blunt and Herron under Canby. [96]

Meanwhile the command of General Van Dorn had been moved east of the Mississippi, by order of General Johnston. The Arkansas troops reported by Van Dorn in his organization, at Memphis, Tenn., April 29, 1862, of the ‘Army of the West,’ were as follows:

In Gen. Samuel Jones' division: First brigade, Brig.-Gen. A. Rust—Eighteenth Arkansas, Col. D. W. Carroll; Twenty-second Arkansas, Col. George King; Colonel Smead's Arkansas regiment; Bat. Jones Arkansas battalion; McCarver's Arkansas battalion. Second brigade, Brig.-Gen. Dabney H. Maury—Twenty-first Arkansas, Col. D. McRae; Adams' Arkansas battalion; and Garland's and Moore's Texas cavalry. Third brigade, Brig.-Gen. J. S. Roane—Third Arkansas cavalry, dismounted, Col. Solon Borland; Brooks' Arkansas battalion: Williamson's Arkansas battalion; Arkansas battery, Capt. J. J. Gaines, and Stone's and Sims' Texas regiments.

In Gen. Sterling Price's division: First brigade, Brig.-Gen. Henry Little—Sixteenth Arkansas, Colonel Hill, with several Missouri regiments. Second brigade, Col. Louis Hebert—Fourteenth Arkansas, Colonel Mitchell; Seventeenth Arkansas, Col. Frank Rector; with the Third Louisiana, and Greer's and Whitfield's Texans.

In Gen. J. P. McCown's division: First brigade, Brig.-Gen. J. L. HoggMcCray's Arkansas battalion, with Texas regiments Second brigade, Brig.-Gen. T. J. Churchill—First Arkansas cavalry, dismounted, Col. R. W. Harper; Second Arkansas cavalry, dismounted, Col. Ben Embry; Fourth Arkansas, Col. Evander McNair; Turnbull's (formerly Terry's) battalion; Provence's battery.

General Van Dorn had recommended for promotion to the rank of brigadier-general, Col. W. N. R. Beall, Col. D. H. Maury, Maj. W. L. Cabell, Lieutenant-Colonel Phifer, Colonel Hebert, and Col. Tom P. Dockery, and assigned them to command as such. Brig.-Gen. W. N. R. Beall, of Arkansas, was assigned to the command of cavalry forces which had been under General Gardner, of Alabama, relieved. Shoup's, Clarkson's, Roberts', Lieutenant Thrall's section of Hubbard's, and Trigg's batteries [97] (the latter half under command of Governor Rector) had been transferred already, and assigned to Cleburne's and Hindman's divisions—not heretofore mentioned. By special orders, at Memphis, April 24th, the brigade noted above as Roane's, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Danley, Third cavalry, was ordered to march to Corinth with five days cooked rations.

On his departure, General Van Dorn, having tendered to Gen. J. S. Roane a brigade in the army of the West, which the latter declined, assigned him to command of the forces for the defense of Arkansas, with instructions to organize and put in the field all troops raised under the conscript law, and all cavalry from Texas and north Louisiana who might come into the State to report to Van Dorn. Any infantry troops that might be in the State destined for the army of the West were to be forwarded as rapidly as possible.

General Curtis, from Batesville, May 16th, wrote, ‘Rector's call for militia force is likely to cause me trouble in Arkansas.’ There were some regiments in process of formation, but without arms, which were assembling at the call of Governor Rector. And they, if they had been organized, would also have been transferred, pursuant to orders to Generals Rust and Roane, so urgent were the demands by Gen. A. S. Johnston and the officers associated with him, Generals Beauregard and Polk, for an increase of their forces, to save Corinth and Memphis from the threatened advance of Halleck and Grant from Pittsburg landing.

Gen. J. A. McClernand reported to Mr. Lincoln, after the battle at Pittsburg landing, that Van Dorn and Price had reinforced the enemy with 10,000 or 15,000 men; but only a few of troops transferred, of the first sent with Van Dorn's command, arrived at Corinth in time to take part in the battle of Shiloh.

At this period the forces under Brig.-Gen. Albert Pike, commander of the department of Indian Territory, as he [98] persisted in styling it, formed a considerable part of the troops apparently available. His return for May, 1862, showed an aggregate present of 3,453, out of an enrollment of about, 10,000. At Fort McCulloch, his intrenched headquarters, in a prairie on Red river, he had Colonel Alexander's Texas cavalry, Colonel Taylor's Texas cavalry, Captain Witt's Texas cavalry, Captain Corley's Arkansas cavalry, Colonel Dawson's Nineteenth Arkansas infantry, and Major Woodruff's battalion Arkansas artillery, fourteen guns. At Fort Washita was Captain Marshall's company. His further statement of troops was as follows: Choctaw nation—Colonel Cooper's First Choctaw and Chickasaw regiment, Colonel Fulsom's First Choctaw regiment, Major Fulsom's First Choctaw battalion; Creek nation—Col. D. N. McIntosh's First Creek regiment, Lieut.-Col. Chilly McIntosh's Creek battalion, Captain McSmith's Independence company; Chickasaw nation-Lieutenant-Colonel Harris' First Chickasaw battalion; Seminole country—Lieutenant-Colonel Juniper's First battalion; Cherokee country —Col. Stand Watie's First Cherokee regiment, Colonel Drew's Second Cherokee regiment.

Pike was ordered to send to General Roane all the troops, not Indians, that he could spare, but this was not done. His ‘Texas cavalry,’ mounted on ponies very similar to those rode by Indians, and armed as poorly, were little better than the Indian troops—perhaps a little better disciplined. By another order, General Roane was authorized to appoint partisan officers, subject to the approval of the President, to call on the State for troops for its defense and to purchase all necessary supplies. It was hinted that, being isolated, he might exercise plenary powers. He was admonished to act promptly in resisting invasion, to endeavor to harass the enemy ‘in his flanks and rear, to cut off his trains, and destroy his supplies,’ and ‘defend the crossings of the Arkansas river to the last extremit.’ [99]

These were pregnant suggestions to occupy the mind of the genial general, suddenly promoted to an empty honor —former governor of the State, but for some time in retirement on his plantation near Pine Bluff—when he looked about him for the material, the men and munitions for these energetic operations. He had commanded a regiment at Buena Vista, and had fought a duel with Capt. Albert Pike, then commanding a ‘squadron,’ the result of a controversy which grew out of an incident of that battle. General Roane, with mettle aroused somewhat, responded that, ‘Curtis' command, reported at 22,000 strong (in my opinion not more than half that number) is at Batesville and Jacksonport, moving to this place and valley of Arkansas river.’ He said he was holding four companies of Parsons' Texas cavalry, and ‘thought with the Texas troops and such others as I could raise in the State, I could hold the enemy in check until you could whip the Federals at Corinth.’ But the situation was too serious for joking.

The people of the State did not at first realize that the commander of the district was depriving the State of every armed man, and all the materials of war he could possibly procure, to take them to distant fields, while their own homes, the safety of their families and all they possessed were to be left at the mercy of the robber-bands in Missouri, as well as the merciless Indians and Kansas jayhawkers.

April 15th, R. W. Johnson, Chas. B. Mitchell, G. D. Royston, T. B. Hanley and Felix I. Batson addressed an earnest communication to the President, describing the havoc which Van Dorn had caused already, and that which he contemplated and had ordered. They stated ‘that Little Rock was to be abandoned as a depot, its public works at the arsenal torn down, arms carried off, and, in obedience to orders of generals east of the Mississippi, the State, having furnished her quota, was now to be stripped of her remaining troops, until she was [100] left defenseless and open to the invasion of Yankees and the incursions of savages and Kansans so completely that 10,000 men could march from one end of the State to the other in the midst of plenty and wholly unopposed.’ They urged that a department be established west of the river; that General Bragg or General Price be assigned there speedily; that supplies taken to Napoleon and Vicksburg be ordered back to Little Rock; that the telegraph lines destroyed be reconstructed; that troops yet in Arkansas be ordered to remain; and that the President order them a goodly supply of arms, ammunition and military stores, before the Mississippi be closed against them.

The signers were two former United States senators, two Supreme court judges, all of them trusted and honored citizens, all supporters and friends of the President, and two of them members of the Provisional Congress. Their appeal was startling and pathetic. If the President made any answer, it was not made public. The extremity which was supposed to demand that the State be denuded of its defense, may have forbidden an immediate reply. The historian of a war of any magnitude becomes familiar with frantic cries of military commanders for ‘reinforcements.’ McClellan called for them when he did not need them. Van Dorn gathered men from all quarters, until they were in the way of each other. Curtis was begging for men and supplies when he could have marched to Little Rock from Searcy with one-half of his army, ‘in the midst of plenty, and unopposed.’ These appeals are often purely selfish. Incompetency cannot win victories with the ‘nations’ of Xerxes or the hordes of Cetowaya.

Governor Rector about the same time issued a proclamation, describing the unarmed and defenseless condition of the State, complaining of the destruction and reckless disregard of the people's property and safety displayed by Van Dorn's operations. He protested against the further withdrawal of troops from the State, [101] and called out the militia, ordering the organization of companies and regiments for defense. He said that if the Southwestern States were abandoned by the government, they must organize to defend themselves, ‘build a new ark,’ and ‘seek their own destiny.’

Having his attention called by Mr. Davis to the complaints contained in the proclamation of Governor Rector, also to General Pike's complaints of the stoppage of clothing and munitions in transitu for the Indians, General Van Dorn, June 9, 1862, wrote a letter from Priceville, Miss., to the President, of which the following relates to events now in narration:

His Excellency, the President:
Dear General: The movements of the army from Corinth to Tupelo have occupied my attention so exclusively, that I have found it impossible until to-day to answer your letter in regard to Governor Rector's proclamation. Before doing so now, I must express to you my appreciation of your kindness in making me suggestions as to the propriety of making a reply to the people of the Trans-Mississippi department on the subject of that proclamation. I had previously thought of replying to Governor Rector, but found upon diligent inquiry, that his people indignantly repudiated his pernicious opinions, and that he stood almost alone with them. I had concluded, therefore, to act in the matter by sending some one to Arkansas, during, my absence, in my stead, to organize the troops from Arkansas, from Louisiana, Texas and Missouri, already assembling there in considerable force, and to put them in the field against the common enemy. This I conceived would be a sufficient antidote to the poison of the governor's proclamation and a refutation of his statement that the government had sacrificed the States west of the Mississippi river. General Hindman was therefore ordered to Little Rock to assume command, and was provided with all the ammunition, etc., that could be spared from this army. There were five or six regiments already in Arkansas from Texas alone, and about fifteen regiments in the Confederate service on the march from that State to Little Rock to join them. Two gunboats were also sent up White and Arkansas rivers. . . . These [102] facts will be sufficient, I think, to set Governor Rector at rest and to assure his people that the arteries of the Confederate government do extend across the Mississippi river. I was a little surprised at this proclamation of the governor, as I had, previous to leaving Arkansas, taken particular pains to explain to him the military necessity of the army of the West joining General Beauregard at Corinth, and the advantages that would accrue thereby to the Confederacy as a whole, of which Arkansas would reap her share, of course. He professed to understand them, and gave his hearty concurrence to the measure. Why he has changed since in his views I cannot imagine, unless the dunghill policy of fighting at every State's threshold was too alluringly pressed upon him by shallow politicians, too weak to see beyond the door and too cramped in patriotism to go beyond it. I think the matter is now at rest, and that his proclamation is buried with the unwise things of the past and has left no sting behind.

The forcible protestation of citizens against the withdrawal of all the fighting men of the State to distant fields was none too early. Major-General Hindman heard it and accepted the assignment, in the latter days of May, with Price to be his lieutenant. It caused troops to be hurried forward to Hindman, from Texas

It may have been that the heroic methods of General Hindman, made apparent in the sequel, were those only which could have saved the State, but it is easy to believe that a kindlier course might have resulted more happily. It is singular that he should have yielded to any ‘solicitations’ to accept this assignment to duty. He was at the time in command of the largest division in the army at Corinth, composed of veteran troops, who, as he says, ‘were certain to win distinction for their commander.’ He had proved himself, in action, one of the most capable, daring, reliant officers in high command, without previous military training. While other measures than those adopted by him might have succeeded better, the fact remains, that he suppressed a growing spirit of discord in the State, which threatened to make it the arena of a war [103] of neighbor against neighbor; and that while he commanded, there was established a unity of sentiment that was immediately felt, and has exerted an influence upon the State's destinies that will not soon, if ever, be destroyed.

A congressional inquiry into the operations under Hindman was ordered; but it appeared that his course was in accordance with the law the Congress had enacted. If it were felt that the voluntary service and sacrifices of the people were no longer expected, Hindman merely supplied machinery suited to the law. If it be said the means were unworthy of the end, the reply is, that whatever the end desired by the Federal authorities, they adopted the same means and succeeded.

The order by which Hindman was assigned to duty in Arkansas by General Beauregard, dated at Corinth, May 26, 1862, gave him ‘command of the forces in that State and the Indian country.’ He was charged with their defense, ‘and fully authorized and empowered to organize their troops under the act of April 16, 1862, entitled, an act to further provide for the public defense.’ General Beauregard further said, ‘The general commanding parts with this gallant officer, whose actions in the field have been so valuably rendered, with sincere regret. He does so at the urgent request of his own people, who so greatly need and justly value his services at this juncture.’ A second order designated his command as the TransMis-sissippi district, comprising the States of Missouri and Arkansas, Louisiana north of Red river, and the Indian Territory.

General Hindman acted promptly. On his way, at Memphis, he managed to obtain, as that city was evacuated, 35 Enfield rifles, 400 damaged shotguns and squirrel rifles, with a few hundred rounds of shot and shell for artillery. He also ‘impressed’ a quantity of percussion caps, some blankets, boots and shoes and camp equipage, and purchased a small quantity of medicines for his prospective [104] army. By permission obtained, as he stated, from General Beauregard, he also impressed from the banks of Memphis $1,000,000 in Confederate currency. At Helena, Ark., his own place of residence, he seized all the ammunition, shoes, blankets and medicines on sale, fit for the army, and at Napoleon, from the government hospital there, he appropriated all the medicines he could find. He appointed Surg. J. M. Keller his medical director, and put him in charge of the medicines and surgical implements appropriated. On his way down the river he stopped all steamboats ascending, because he was certain they would fall into the hands of the enemy, to be used against him, and caused them to be run into the Arkansas river, where they proved valuable in transporting subsistence, troops and munitions. He also, on his way down the Mississippi river, caused thousands of bales of cotton to be burned, under the general order of the war department, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy, and on the way up the Arkansas made contracts for the delivery of large numbers of cattle for furnishing beef to the camps of his recruits, yet to be collected.

Fortunately, several regiments of Texas cavalry, on the way to Corinth, had been permitted to remain at Little Rock, with General Roane, who, in command at Pine Bluff and Little Rock, had eight unarmed companies at Little Rock, and a six-gun battery without artillerymen. General Roane was the embodiment of good nature, and would not, to become generalissimo of the armies, have ordered one of his ‘citizen soldiers’ out of bed. He beheld the measures adopted by General Hindman with consternation, but had great confidence that Hindman would vindicate himself, and gave them his approval.

On the arrival of General Hindman at Little Rock, he formally assumed command, May 31st, of the TransMis-sissippi district, ‘and of all the forces which now are or may be therein;’ and the same day issued an address, [105] which seems couched in a strain not different from the public utterances of other distinguished officers. It read as follows:

To the Soldiers and Citizens of the District: I have come here to drive out the invaders or perish in the attempt. To achieve success, it is essential that the soldier and the citizen each shall do his duty. In the army, a discipline must prevail unexcelled among the troops of any government; every officer executing the orders given him, with promptness, fidelity and courage; every soldier obeying the orders he receives, without question and without murmur, whatever the hardships involved. In one word, there must be efficiency among officers of every rank, and obedience among soldiers under all circumstances. Among citizens, a determination must be evinced to contribute to the army's support, even to the last dollar which they possess; to adhere to the Confederate cause under every difficulty; to sustain the Confederate currency; to crush out the spirit of extortion and speculation, and to sacrifice for freedom's sake all property valuable to the enemy which may possibly fall into his hands. My purpose is to assume every responsibility necessary in the premises, relying upon the Great Arbiter of Nations, and the earnest and active support of every patriot.

There was no want of precision in that language. It had been well conned. If the thought seemed unduly exalted, that also was matured and accurate, and foreshadowed the course he immediately pursued to the letter.

A year later, at Richmond, General Hindman, after the congressional inquiry had concluded, made a report to the adjutant-general, which furnishes an able explanation of the course of his administration. After reciting the orders assigning him to duty, and describing the condition of Arkansas as already mentioned, he said:

In the situation in which I was placed, it was necessary to do many important acts with promptness. Any hesitation or serious error would result in the capture of Little Rock, and the loss of the remainder of Arkansas to the Confederacy. That would involve the loss of the [106] Indian country, and destroy all hope of recovering Missouri, besides exposing Texas and Louisiana to the greatest misfortunes. Such calamities could not be averted without an army. I had no army, and had not been authorized to raise one, the instructions of General Beauregard limiting me to the enforcement of the conscript act, which prohibited new regiments. To wait until the necessary authority could be applied for and received from Richmond, would be nothing else than the surrender to the enemy of the very country from which the troops must be obtained. I therefore resolved to accept the responsibility, which the situation imposed, of raising and organizing a force without authority of law, and that I would do all acts to make that determination effective. In coming to that conclusion, I considered that the main object of all law is the public safety; and that the evident necessity of departing from the letter of the law in order to accomplish its object, would more than justify me in the eyes of my superiors, and of intelligent patriots everywhere.

The first difficulty to be met in the execution of this purpose, was the attempt of the governor of Arkansas to raise a State force, on the basis of his formal pledge not to transfer it to the Confederate service. Under the most favorable circumstances, two different organizations would antagonize rather than help each other. I had witnessed this result in Arkansas at the commencement of the war. . . Warned by this experience, and remembering the governor's late threat of secession, I represented to him that I should feel constrained to apply the provisions of the conscript act to his troops, and to impress whatever stores he might have accumulated. He abandoned the attempt, and transferred to the Confederacy the few troops already raised, together with all military property of the State. I now directed the enrollment. . . . of all men in Arkansas, subject to conscription. Absentees from commands east of the Mississippi [invalid officers and men also] were to be included, but with a memorandum stating their proper companies and regiments. Substitution was prohibited, because I regarded it as certain to increase the difficulties, already too great, that were in my way. . . .

Laying off the State into convenient districts, I appointed a commander over each, giving him control of the enrolling [107] officers within his district, authorizing him to purchase or impress arms, ammunition and the necessary supplies, and assigning to him a quartermaster and commissary. Of these staff officers, bonds were required in the penalty and according to the form prescribed by law. Military posts were established. . . . Measures were also adopted for manufacturing many important articles for army use. . . . Machinery was made for manufacturing percussion caps and small arms. . . . Lead mines were opened and worked; a chemical laboratory was established and successfully operated in aid of the ordnance department, and in the manufacture of calomel, castor oil, spirits of niter, the various tinctures of iron and other valuable medicines. Most of these works were located at or near Arkadelphia, on the Ouachita river, 75 miles south of Little Rock. . . .

Being made responsible for the defense of north Louisiana, I assigned Brigadier-General Roane to that command, with instructions to enroll and organize the men subject to conscription. He found at Monroe two regiments and a battalion of unarmed infantry, and an artillery company without guns. Steps had been taken by me to render these troops efficient and to add to them, when without any notice to me, Brigadier-General Blanchard was placed in command of the conscripts of north Louisiana by the secretary of war. . . .

With the view to revive the hopes of loyal men in Missouri, and to get troops from that State, I gave authority to various persons to raise companies and regiments there, and operate as guerrillas. They soon became exceedingly active. . . Missourians in Arkansas, belonging to the old State Guard, were strongly desirous to revive that organization. Embarrassment on that score was prevented by accepting their general officers—Brigadier-Generals McBride and Rains—into the Confederate service, conditioned upon the approval of the secretary of war. . . .

Being apprised that there were large bodies of troops in Texas unemployed, I applied to Brigadier-Generals Hebert and [H. E.] McCulloch to send or, if practicable, bring them to me. The action of both these officers was prompt, liberal, and patriotic, and I take this opportunity to acknowledge my obligation to them. They sent me many fine regiments, some of which came armed, and others were armed by me. [108]

In view of the dangers which threatened to overwhelm my district, I decided that all cotton in Arkansas and north Louisiana was in imminent danger of falling into the hands of the enemy. Being of that opinion, it was my duty, under the act of Congress, March 17, 1862, and the order of the war department thereon, to take such steps as would put this property out of the enemy's reach. To defer taking it into possession until the enemy should get in the immediate vicinity and then rely upon the owners to destroy it would be puerile. Wherever that had been tried, the enemy got at least five bales out of every ten. . . . I determined to dispose of the matter differently and effectually. An order was issued seizing all the cotton which I regarded as in danger, and directing receipts to be given for it by the agents appointed for that purpose. The same order directed that all cotton adjacent to the enemy's lines should be burned immediately; that the remainder should be removed 20 miles inland and burned upon the approach of the enemy; but that out of all, as far as practicable, 10 pounds to each member of every family should be issued as a gratuity. The distribution of the 10-pound parcels was as certain a mode of keeping the cotton out of the enemy's hands as to destroy it, while, in fact, it extorted from misfortune a great public benefit. Many planters complained-those nearest the enemy most loudly. The enemy also expressed great indignation and denounced the penalty of death against all cotton burners; but, on the other hand, the object of the law was accomplished . . . and the wives and children of soldiers, and other necessitous persons, were provided with the materials for clothing themselves and their relations in the army. . . .

Meanwhile, Gen. Samuel R. Curtis, with headquarters at Batesville, head of the army of the Southwest and by authority of General Halleck military governor of Arkansas, with power to depose civil officers and create others who would swear allegiance, was watching the operations of his active antagonist. He had by his own returns in May, 6,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry and 1,000 artillery in the field. On June 1st he reported: [109]

. . . . Great efforts are making to collect an army at Little Rock. Galveston and Houston forces are ordered up, and 10 Texan regiments have arrived with artillery. Hindman was to start from Corinth on the 28th, and all the Arkansas and Missouri troops were to come with him. If the Corinth hive swarms this way, I must concentrate on this side of White river and be reinforced immediately. . . . The enemy is moving; we must be on the alert. I have spread my force to hold my lines of communication, which have been cut for ten days. . . .

Hindman's organization was progressing rapidly, and although deficient in arms, his new levies amounted to several regiments, which, added to the Texas forces arriving daily, began to form a respectable army. Their increasing numbers caused the enemy to believe he had received reinforcements from Corinth, which belief was industriously encouraged by rumors to that effect, and exaggerated estimates of the number of his forces, intended to be conveyed to Curtis by disloyal informers. The news that Van Dorn had arrived with 30,000 men, told by a citizen to Colonel Brackett, was a feature of this invention circulated through every channel likely to reach Curtis. General Hindman, in his report, mentions his initiatory operations with forcible brevity:

On June 5th I pushed my cavalry boldly against Curtis' advance, which outnumbered them as three to one. I had previously endeavored to impress Curtis with the belief that a large force came with me from Corinth, and that heavy reinforcements had reached me from Texas. After a very feeble resistance, the Federal cavalry fell back beyond Bayou Des Arc. I then ordered the Maurepas gunboat up White river to capture or destroy the supplies collected at Grand Glaize and Jacksonport, and to alarm the enemy by threatening his communications with Batesville. Capt. Joseph Fry executed these orders with admirable promptness and complete success. [It was this gallant Captain Fry, who, in 1873, was butchered by the Spaniards at Santiago, as the leader of the Virginius expedition for the relief of the Cubans.] At the same time the enemy was attacked in front. He retired in confusion to [110] Little Red river, and thence marched to Batesville. These operations gave me a good line of defense—that of White river and its tributary, the Little Red. . . . Skirmishing was now almost continuous, and our troops were uniformly successful. . . .Major Chrisman, commanding an Arkansas squadron, was bold and active. Captain Rutherford, of his command, passed entirely around the Federal army, crossing White river, destroying a supply train from Missouri, and capturing a telegraph station a few miles north of Batesville, with the telegraphic correspondence of Curtis and Halleck. . . .

Memphis had long since fallen, and the enemy controlled the Mississippi from St. Louis to Vicksburg, securing access for his gunboats into White river. That stream afforded 10 feet of water to Devall's Bluff, 175 miles from the mouth, and 60 miles east of Little Rock, with which place there is railway communication. On June 16th a Federal fleet appeared in White river, near St. Charles. It consisted of the ironclad gunboats St. Louis and Mound City, each mounting thirteen guns; the Lexington and Conestoga, partially ironclad, each carrying seven guns; the tug Tiger, carrying one 34-pounder howitzer, and three transports with between 1,000 and 1,500 infantry, under Col. G. N. Fitch. The Maurepas was at St. Charles, but would have been useless against the enemy's ironclad vessels. The obstructions being incomplete, she was sunk across the channel, together with two steamboats. Two rifled 32-pounders, and four field pieces were put in battery on the bluff, manned by 79 men of the crews of the Maurepas and Ponchartrain, under Captain Dunnington, of the latter vessel. Captain Williams' armed men, 35 in number, were disposed as sharpshooters below; those not armed were sent to the rear. Captain Fry was placed in chief command.

The Federal gunboats attacked about 9 a. m., on the 17th. After an engagement of nearly three hours duration, the Mound City was blown up by a shot from our batteries, and the rest retired out of range. The infantry [111] then landed and carried the position, our little force spiking the guns and retiring up the river. Our loss was 6 killed, 1 wounded and 8 missing. That of the enemy was over 200. On the Mound City alone, 180 perished. Captain Fry, the last to retreat, was severely wounded and made a prisoner.

A short time before this battle, Col. Allison Nelson arrived at Little Rock with an excellent Texas regiment, but could not advance to St. Charles until too late. Being apprised of the loss of that post when within 15 miles of it, he returned to Devall's Bluff and fortified that place, putting three heavy guns from Ponchartrain in position, and obstructing the river. A regiment and battalion of Arkansas infantry, fresh troops, armed with shotguns, sporting rifles, pikes and lances, joined Colonel Nelson, and were brigaded under him.

Meanwhile, Fitch was joined on the 17th and 18th by an additional gunboat, and six transports carrying troops, increasing his land forces to about 4,000 men. Made cautious by the resistance met at St. Charles, he moved very slowly up stream, fired upon from the banks by Confederate cavalry and citizens. Reaching Clarendon, 25 miles below Devall's Bluff, he landed a regiment of infantry and moved it forward on the west side to reconnoiter, escorted by the tug Tiger, but this force was met by Morgan's squadron of Texans, four companies of Arkansans under Capt. P. H. Wheat, assisted by several independent companies of conscripts, and defeated with a loss of 55 killed and captured.

In the latter part of May, Van Dorn had ordered Brigadier-General Rust to report to Hindman. General Rust represented the southern district of Arkansas in Congress at the time of the secession of the State, and raised the Third Arkansas infantry, which he commanded in Virginia, until he let the command devolve upon Lieutenant-Colonel Van Manning, a most meritorious officer, and coming to Arkansas, had been promoted to brigadiergeneral [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 [113] them their arms. Upon learning this fact, I halted them upon the march until arms could be procured by purchase or impressment, Three regiments of infantry were being raised east of White river, mounted, to admit of their withdrawal upon any sudden emergency. They were concentrated at Cottonplant, about 15 miles east of Des Arc, and added to General Rust's command. His force amounted to about 5,000 effectives. His instructions were to resist the enemy to the last extremity, blockading roads, burning bridges, destroying all supplies, growing crops included, and polluting the water by killing cattle, ripping the carcasses and throwing them in. In that country at this season the streams are few and sluggish. No army could march through it so opposed. The only remaining route would be immediately along the bank of White river and crossing the Cache at Clarendon. To oppose the march along White river a gunboat was improvised by Captain Dunnington by lining the steamer Tom Sugg with cotton bales and mounting an 8-inch Columbia at her bow. I proceeded to Devall's Bluff, where the danger seemed greatest, the enemy below on the river making serious demonstrations by land and water daily, the skirmishing being almost incessant. But, after inspecting the work and observing the spirit of the men, I directed that a garrison of 500 strong could hold out against Fitch, and that I would lead the remainder—about 1,500—to General Rust as soon as shotguns and rifles could be obtained from Little Rock. Two days elapsed before the arms could be obtained. In that interval Curtis advanced across Cache river and attacked General Rust, whose command, after an engagement of about thirty minutes, retreated in great disorder across White river. Many of his men deserted, both Texans and Arkansans. No report of this affair was ever received, though often called for, consequently I am not able to give any of the details. My instructions for devastating the country were not executed.

The Federal reports of the affair with Rust show that if a McIntosh, a Cleburne or a McNair had been in command of the Confederates, the enemy would have received a disastrous blow. His advance detachments were surrounded, and ‘a charge into the cornfield,’ where [114] Hovey's brigade was crouching and apprehensive, would have captured 2,000 prisoners, and rifles and steel guns of the finest quality. The Confederates could have armed themselves with the best improved arms. It was for them only to advance and take them. It was not because they were conscripts that they failed, as most of them were Texas volunteers.

There were no conscripts in the true sense of the word, since there were very few who had not served as volunteers, and having been captured and exchanged, or their term of enlistment having expired, without pay for their services, were driven by the necessity of feeding their families, all other resources being exhausted, to stay out of the army and make a crop. Taken from their plows, if they had been wanting in patriotism, there were the Federal recruiting officers, tempting them with large bounties, with pay, food and clothing, which they scorned to accept, but remained, the great body of them, in the Confederate army without either. For this reason no distinction is made between Confederate soldiers. All who fought for their State against the invader are honored, while those who went to the enemy are mistrusted and avoided. General Hindman continues:

No longer able to prevent the junction of Curtis and Fitch, I withdrew my infantry from White river, evacuating Devall's Bluff without loss of any kind and taking up a new line, that of the Bayou Metoe, 12 miles from Little Rock, by which the enemy's difficulties of supplying himself would be increased and his employment of the gunboats rendered impossible, should he move against me. White river was falling rapidly; the gunboats and transports dropped down and went into the Mississippi, fired upon to the last moment from the west bank. Curtis, at the same time, moved eastward to the Mississippi and established himself at Helena. A portion of my cavalry, under Col. W. H. Parsons, was thrown forward in that direction and many successful atacks were made upon the enemy. The most important of these was at Hughes' Ferry on L'Anguille river, 30 miles from Helena, August [115] 3d. A Federal cavalry regiment, with about 200 armed negroes and as many unarmed, was surprised in camp, and, in effect, cut to pieces, losing over 400 killed, wounded and prisoners, with all its baggage. Colonel Parsons and Lieut.--Col. A. B. Burleson of his regiment highly distinguished themselves. Our loss was 30 killed and 58 wounded.

Not to discredit General Hindman's report, but in order to give basis for a conservative estimate of the results of the affair at L'Anguille, reference may be made to the report of the Federal commander, Gen. S. E. Eggleston, who said that he arrived at the ferry with ‘a train of 27 wagons, 130 men, and about 100 contraband horses and mules,’ and about daylight next morning was ‘attacked by 600 Texan Rangers, and, after a severe fight of about 30 minutes,’ was obliged to abandon his camp, losing all his wagons, horses and mules, and 14 men killed, 40 wounded, and about 25 taken prisoners. The few who escaped made their way to the old camp near the ferry, to Marianna, and to Helena.

After this affair Curtis' forces were confined within narrow limits around Helena, watched by Parsons, while the remainder of Hindman's troops were encamped at Little Rock for organization and instruction. Now Hindman was confronted with new and serious difficulties. The scarcity of supplies caused great distress, with the corn crop two months off. Dismounting four regiments to save corn caused many of the men to desert The ravages of disease caused the loss of many more. To these embarrassments was added the lack of money. Said General Hindman:

The men became clamorous for pay. I prevailed upon the State authorities to turn over to me the war tax due the Confederacy, amounting to upward of $400,000, and caused it to be disbursed as pay funds, $100,000 to the troops in the Indian country, and the residue to those in Arkansas; but the unavoidable delay in doing so gave [116] occasion to many desertions. In a word, desertions took place upon every conceivable pretext.

Frequent arrests were made, but in many instances the offenders were at first pardoned and returned to duty on promises of better conduct in future. Forgiveness was extended for different considerations. Many were extremely ignorant and had probably been misled. Others had wives and children suffering for food. Lastly, the regimental organizations made by me were not authorized by law, and under the circumstances I shrank from inflicting the death penalty. This leniency brought forth evil fruits; mercy was mistaken for timidity, and desertions increased. My command seemed likely to dwindle to nothing. The raising of additional troops was paralyzed. At length, Col. A. Nelson discovered and reported to me a widespread conspiracy to disband and go home. He ascertained that there was a regular organization for that purpose, and that a badge was adopted by the members for distinguishing each other. Within a few hours after this discovery a signal gun was fired in the camp of an Arkansas regiment, and sixty men, headed by two lieutenants, deliberately marched away, with their arms and accouterments. Orders to arrest them were not executed.

For the salvation of the country I had taken the responsibility to compel enrollment of troops. I was now resolved, for the same object, to compel them to remain. An order was issued convening a military commission of three officers. Four prisoners were ordered before it for trial. They were found guilty of double desertion, cutting the telegraph wire, and burning a tannery in government employ. Each confessed his guilt. I ordered them shot to death in presence of the troops, and saw the order executed. Five other men—four deserters and one citizen, guilty of inciting desertion, all of whom had been captured with arms in their hands fighting in the Federal ranks at the battle of L'Anguille—were tried, found guilty, and put to death. Two deserters were similarly dealt with at Fort Smith, and one at Batesville. These summary measures had the intended effect. The spirit of desertion was crushed. It did not again manifest itself while I commanded in the Trans-Mississippi district.

In consequence of the virtual abdication of the civil authorities, I believed it my duty, as the only man having [117] the requisite force, to institute a government ad interim. I considered this incumbent on me, alike for preserving society and for creating and maintaining an army. Hence, on June 30th, I proclaimed martial law. To make this declaration effective a provost-marshal was appointed in each county, and all the independent companies therein were placed under his control. Over these were appointed provost-marshals of districts, which included several counties. The provost-marshal-general at my headquarters had command over all. It was my intention still further to improve and strengthen the organization by forming independent companies into regiments and brigades, as reserve forces for future contingencies. Martial law, and the regulations enforcing it, put an end to the anarchy by which the loyal population had been so long afflicted. They exercised the spirit of extortion which was torturing soldiers into desertion by starving their wives and children; they restored the credit of Confederate currency and saved the army from starvation. They broke up trading with the enemy, and destroyed or removed out of his reach thousands of bales of cotton that selfish and venal planters were ready to sell for Federal gold; they insured the exclusion of spies, the arrest of traitors, stragglers and deserters, and the enforcement of the conscription. . . .

The opposition to martial law never embraced many persons other than tories, speculators and deserters. . . . Before resorting to this alternative, I not only satisfied myself that the circumstances made it necessary, but that it was demanded as a necessity by the loyal population. During all of June, letters and petitions to that effect came to me continually. Prominent citizens urged it at personal interviews. The editors of the two leading exponents of public opinion, the Gazette and True Democrat, strongly advised it. The State military board approved it. Not a single State officer, not a member of Congress, at any time, indicated to me a different opinion. [He then gave precedents for the declaration of martial aw in orders of Beauregard, Van Dorn, Hebert, Pike, Bragg, and by himself in Tennesses sustained by Gen. A. S. Johnston.]

In the latter part of July alarming news was coming in from the Indian country. The Federal expedition [118] from Fort Scott crossed the Cherokee border, and though Stand Watie and Boudinot made a gallant fight, they were compelled to fall back behind the Arkansas river. The Pin Indians rose in rebellion, and committed horrid excesses, causing between 1,000 and 2,000 helpless Cherokees to flee across the line into Arkansas, where they were subsisted at government expense. In regard to his doings in this matter it was stated in General Hindman's report:

Looking forward to this invasion, I had, on May 31st, the day of taking command, ordered General Pike to advance his force to the Kansas border for the protection of the Indian country. He was then at Fort McCulloch, about 25 miles from the extreme south line of that country, fortifying in an open prairie, with the Red river just in his rear. The order reached him June 8th. Receiving no information that it had been obeyed, I repeated it on June 17th, directing him to move at once to or near Fort Gibson, in the Cherokee nation. . . . On July 8th, he being still at Fort McCulloch, I again ordered him forward, instructing him to go by the way of Fort Smith, assume command of the troops in northwestern Arkansas, in addition to his own. . . . On July 21st he had succeeded in getting as far as Boggy Depot, a distance of 25 miles. In the meantime he had forwarded his resignation as brigadier-general, and applied to me to relieve him from duty. . . . I forwarded his resignation to Richmond, with my approval, and at the same time relieved him from duty. On the receipt of my order to that effect he issued and distributed a printed circular, addressed to the Indians, and equally likely to reach the enemy, in which, under pretense of defending the Confederate government, he evidently sought to excite prejudice against it. . . . Col. D. H. Cooper, who was next in rank and had succeeded to the command, deemed it his duty to place General Pike in arrest, and so informed me. . . . I approved his action and ordered General Pike sent to Little Rock in custody. . . . After his resignation had been accepted, Mr. Pike appeared at Fort McCulloch, issued an order as brigadier-general commanding, and prevented the march of troops. . .I again ordered him taken in custody. . . .


Before this incident was closed, the administration of General Hindman as chief, practically, of the Trans-Mississippi region, though subject nominally to the commander of Department No. 2, came to an end, and the Trans-Mississippi department was created, with a new commander. Gen. J. B. Magruder had been first selected for this duty, while General Hindman was yet engaged in his White river operations.

General Van Dorn, in his letter of June 9th to President Davis, previously quoted from, also wrote:

I learned a day or two since, that General Magruder had been ordered to the command of the Trans-Mississippi district, and immediately telegraphed you not to send any one at present, as it would have a bad effect. General Price goes to-morrow to see you, and will explain all on the subject. I wish here to suggest to you, General, that the love of the people of Missouri is strong for General Price, and his prestige as a commander there so great, that wisdom would seem to dictate that he be put at the head of affairs in the West. I see the alluring bait to my ambition—the fall of St. Louis, the reclamation of a rich segment of our beloved South from the grip of the enemy, and the glory of that might be mine. But I shut all this out from me, because I think it is to the best interest of the country to do so. I willingly drop whatever glory there may be in it on the brow of General Price, than whom there is no one more worthy to wear it, and than by whom I should rather see it worn.

General Price learned, on reaching Richmond, that General Magruder had been appointed to the command, and he was informed that as soon as his troops could be spared from Mississippi, he would be returned west as subordinate to Magruder. On July 16th, however, to secure ‘prompt action,’ as President Davis said, Maj.-Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes was assigned to command of the Trans-Mississippi department. General Hindman, on August 5th, yet unadvised of the change, wrote to Adjutant-General Cooper:

I am rejoiced to hear that a separate department has [120] been created out of the country west of the Mississippi, and that General Magruder is coming to assume command. . . I have now in camp at this place [Little Rock] and Pine Bluff, about 18,000 effective men, well armed. I have in camps of instruction between 6,000 and 8,000 men, either wholly unarmed or else armed with guns that are of little value. . . I have six batteries containing 40 brass pieces, and one battery of iron guns. . . . I have on the other side of and along White river a force of about 3,100 cavalry; near Brownsville I have 500; at and near this place, 500; south of this place and along Arkansas river, and between that and Ouachita, about 2,000. . . When I advance at all, it will be with the intention of making Arkansas river secure, and then pushing forward into Missouri. My present armed force is sufficient for the latter purpose, if the other object can be attained, which it will be if Curtis [at Helena] is crushed and destroyed.

Meanwhile, General Holmes had reached Vicksburg, where he issued a general order, July 30th, assuming command of the department of the Trans-Mississippi. On August 12th, his second general order fixed his headquarters at Little Rock, where he had arrived, and continued General Hindman in command of the troops in the neighborhood of Little Rock and on the Arkansas river. On the 20th, the new department commander divided his territory into districts, assigning Hindman to the district of Arkansas, including Arkansas, Missouri, and the Indian country west.

On July 13th, General Bragg had relieved Gen. Monroe Parsons and the men under him, at Tupelo, Miss., from further service east of the Mississippi, and ordered them to report to General Hindman. General Price was transferred later, also Generals Churchill, Tappan, Cabell, McRae and Dockery, some of whose promotions were not yet confirmed by the President, but were eventually approved. Cols. Chas. W. Adams and J. S. Marmaduke were likewise transferred. Organization went on rapidly; supplies of clothing, money and munitions were received from the East, and the spirits of the people of Arkansas [121] rose perceptibly. Curtis was making no demonstrations beyond occasional scouts on the west bank of White river, which would be quickly attacked and driven back to the east.

In his reports General Hindman made mention of the officers to whom he was ‘most indebted for assistance in the work of organization,’ saying:

In raising troops in Arkansas, Col. Charles A. Carroll was more successful than any other officer, and is entitled to high credit. He was valuably assisted by Cols. W. H. Brooks and H. D. King, Lieutenant-Colonels Gunter and McCord, Major Dillard and others, and put in the service three full regiments of infantry and one of cavalry. Col. H. L. Grinsted raised two regiments of infantry; Cols. D. McRae, J. C. Pleasants, A. J. McNeill and C. H. Matlock each raised a regiment. In raising Arkansas troops, and afterward in their organization, important services were rendered by the following, among other officers: Cols. J. F. Fagan, Shaler, Shaver, Morgan, Glenn and Johnson; Lieutenant-Colonels Geoghegan, Magenis, Polk, McMillan, Wright, Hart, Young and Crawford; Majors Bell, Gause, Cocke, Baber, Yell, Hicks, Chrisman and Crenshaw, and Captains Johnson, Ringo, Martin, Home, Blackmer and Biscoe.

In Arkansas there were raised and organized, under my orders, thirteen regiments and one battalion of infantry, two regiments and one battalion of cavalry, and four batteries—all war troops—besides upward of 5,000 irregulars of the independent companies, and not including the Arkansas troops drawn from the Indian country. [This increased the Arkansas regiments in Confederate service from twenty-nine to forty-five.] From Missouri there were raised and organized under my orders, five regiments of infantry, seven of cavalry, and three batteries. . . . In addition, I drew from Texas twenty-one regiments of infantry and dismounted cavalry, four regiments of cavalry and three batteries, raising the number of Texan regiments in my district to twenty-eight, with five batteries.

A considerable part of the report of General Hindman was devoted to the subject of the arrest of General Pike. [122] Amidst his cares, and with the impetuosity of his character, he had, unintentionally perhaps, greatly trenched upon the military rights of General Pike, who had been early intrusted with the charge of Indian Territory, first as embassador to make treaties, and then as military commander. He was unceremoniously ordered by Hindman to make a march and take responsibility outside his territory, for which he felt his unfitness with the material he had. Because he did not move when ordered, he was censured, and, as has been noted, his resignation was abruptly accepted. Then Pike imprudently issued an address to his Indian friends, and gave expression to his complaints, which was regarded as traitorous by Hindman, also by Holmes. When General Hindman ordered Pike arrested and brought to Little Rock, the order was couched in terms of deadly earnestness. In fact, there were two orders, the latter giving more explicit instructions and requiring a larger force, with thirty rounds of ammunition, under a field officer, ‘one who is brave and determined and who will execute your orders faithfully.’ General Roane, to whom the order was directed, was too goodnatured not to let Pike get wind of the impending blow. At any rate, Pike went to Little Rock before it was executed.

It appears that it was not intended that Pike should make active soldiers of the Indians, and be depended upon to lead them in a campaign. His appointment was intended to protect them from temptation to invade the borders of Arkansas and Texas as instruments of the enemy, who sought aid from every source. The Confederate cause was scandalized by taking them to battle at Elkhorn, where they were charged with barbarous mutilation of the killed. They had little knowledge of or interest in the subject of the contention, and were destitute of any experience in civilized war. And if General Pike, ‘at Fort McCulloch, only twenty-five miles from the extreme south line of the Indian country, was fortifying in the open [123] prairie with Red river in his rear,’ it was all the more likely to amuse his unsophisticated followers.

So much of the report of General Hindman as tells the story of his operations under Beauregard's order, and is embodied in this history, is quoted from himself, since no historian would be given credit for fairness who should utter it without such authentication. Those who knew him well can recognize the dauntless will of the man, his tireless energy and his unmistakable ability. . . . In his political campaign immediately preceding the war, by the exercise of the same qualities he had revolutionized the politics of the State and, aiding in the election of Governor Rector, had overthrown an ancient organization of his party, of which Robert W. Johnson, United States senator at the time of the secession of the States, was the head. But Colonel Johnson, in the reaction brought about by the proclamation of Mr. Lincoln calling for troops, and the secession of the State, secured a seat in the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, and Hindman lost no time in making peace with him as an indispensable friend or patron at the Confederate capital, to vindicate his acts, when necessary, with the President and before the Congress and elsewhere. It was not Johnson who instituted the congressional inquiry upon the protests that went up from Arkansas against the alleged usurpations of Hindman. General Holmes, whom Hindman greatly influenced and humored, understood the new friendship of Johnson and Hindman, when he wrote, November 10, 1862: ‘Colonel Johnson is just elected senator over Garland, 46 to 41. He made a long speech to the legislature, in which, I am told, he sustained you thoroughly and unconditionally. He has offered me his services, and I am going to send him to Richmond for arms and money.’ Senator Johnson occupied a seat in the old Senate, when Jefferson Davis represented Mississippi in that body. He was a member of the same school of politics, and had the confidence and esteem of the Confederate President. [124] Yet he could not save Hindman from the censure and check of the orders of the secretary of war.

The address issued by General Pike, in July, 1862, which was so severely censured, began with these words:

To the Chief and People of the Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, Chickasaws and Choctaws: I have resigned the command of the Indian Territory, and am relieved of that command. I have done this because I received, on the 11th of the month, an order to go out of your country to Fort Smith and northwestern Arkansas, there to remain and organize troops and defend that country, instead of remaining in your country, where the President had placed me; a duty which would have kept me out of your country for months. When I made treaties with you, I promised you protection by a sufficient force of white troops, and I consented to take command here to give you that protection. The President gave me all I asked. I procured infantry soldiers, enough arms, ammunition, clothing, shoes, cannon, and everything necessary for my troops.

General Van Dorn, in March, took from me, at Fort Smith and Little Rock, two regiments of my infantry, six of my cannon, all of my cannon powder and many rifles, and let his soldiers take nearly all the coats, pantaloons, shirts, socks, and shoes I had procured for you. By other orders, all the rest of my infantry and all the artillery, except one company with six guns, have been taken away, and that company, with its six guns, has been ordered to Fort Smith with the last armed man from Arkansas. [He then contended that he would have been false to his charge if he had gone into Arkansas to take command of troops there.] I tried in vain to get men enough from Arkansas and Texas to prevent an invasion of the Cherokee country. You can see now, at Cantonment Davis, all the white troops I was allowed to have. You will plainly see that with them, if they had been in the Cherokee country, 2,000 or 3,000 of the enemy could at any time have driven them away. And while they were there, if I could have kept them there, what would have kept the northern troops and hostile Creeks and other Indians from coming down to the Deep fork and North fork of the Canadian, and driving out our friends from the Creek and Seminole country? . . . The President and government are not [125] to blame for this, nor am I; nor am I to blame because your troops have not been paid. Moneys have been sent to us long ago and stopped on the way, just as your clothing has, and the arms and ammunition I provided for you. By and by these things will all be remedied. To make it certain that this shall be done, and that you shall have justice done you and your rights, I have resigned, in order to go to Richmond and make known to the President the manner in which you have been treated. As far as it is in my power, every dollar due your troops and to the people shall be paid. . . . Remain true, I earnestly advise you, to the Confederate States and yourselves. Do not listen to any men who tell you that the Southern States will abandon you. They will not do it.

The comment of General Holmes upon this proclamation was that, ‘Under the plausible pretext of sustaining the government, he has led them (the Indians) to believe that they have been betrayed and deserted by the general in command.’ Is it not rather an apology to those people, with whom the author had made treaties, for the seeming reckless disregard of them by the generals in command? General Pike doubtless thought that Van Dorn and Hindman were to be held responsible for the discontent, if any existed, instead of the Confederacy.

Hindman's rules were iron, his commands were steel, to which he could admit no exceptions or modifications. Pike was a ‘Confederate general,’ with troops, arms and munition, and he ordered him to the front. The order was not obeyed. Therefore, he would strip him of the arms which he refused to employ in the common cause, and accept his resignation; all of which he did with utmost abruptness. He seemed not to be able to grasp the thought, pronounced everywhere through Pike's address, that the Indians were children or wards, and their supposed ‘general’ only a suzerain or diplomat, who employed the arms as toys to keep them amused. As soldiers they could not use them, as was shown at Elkhorn tavern.

Hindman's motto was, ‘Salus populi est suprema lex’ [126] —if the ship were sinking, everybody to the pumps. Pike, the poet and dreamer, believed that his Indians might still fare sumptuously in the salon while the sailors were throwing over cargo to keep the vessel afloat. He smoked his meerschaum and wrote his address to explain that it was not he, but General Hindman, who disturbed their repose. Albert Pike had an established reputation as a poet and lawyer—had long served the Indians as their attorney at Washington. Six feet three in height, with hair that floated over his shoulders, and handsome features, convivial and profuse with money, he was a picturesque character at all times.

General Pike, as has been stated, went to Little Rock and reported in person to General Holmes. Thus this unpleasant occurrence ended. He subsequently withdrew entirely from the Indian country and went to Washington, in Hempstead county, the temporary State capital after the fall of Little Rock. There being a vacancy on the bench of the State Supreme court, he was elected associate justice. General Pike's letters in vindication of his course are numerous and lengthy, challenging Hindman's authority to command in matters not strictly military, and reiterating complaints of arms, ammunition and supplies misappropriated. Hindman's acknowledgment to the President that he acted without authority, that he had found the State without officers or law, and, having the requisite force, had instituted a government ad interim, avoided these complaints against him.

President Davis, in answer to a letter from Governor Rector, in which the latter was joined by the governors of Texas, Missouri and Louisiana, wrote, September 15th, a communication, from which the leading paragraphs are here quoted:

The delay which occurred in making arrangements for the proper organization of the Trans-Mississippi department arose from causes, some of which are too obvious to require mention, and others of a nature which cannot now [127] be divulged. . . . Immediately after the defeat and dispersion of the enemy by our gallant soldiers, in the battles of the Chickahominy, I selected officers possessing my highest confidence for the command and administrative duties of the department and districts composing it. By the assignment of Major-General Holmes to command the department, and Major-Generals Taylor, Hindman and Price to the districts of Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri, aided by a competent staff, I feel assured that the proper military skill, vigor and administrative ability will not be found wanting. Large supplies of funds have been sent and will continue to be furnished as the exigencies of the service require; and although not able togive all the aid in arms and munitions of war that would be desirable, a supply has been sent about equal to that asked for in your letter. . . . In conclusion, be assured that your friendly counsel will always be received with satisfaction and treated with the deference and consideration to which, both personally and officially, you are so well entitled.

On September 25th the secretary of war notified General Holmes that ‘all requisitions for the TransMissis-sippi department have been promptly met, and over $33,000,000 has been sent to the department. Upward of 20,000 stands of arms have been ordered to the department, and 16,000 actually forwarded; 5,000 will go under charge of Major Alexander.’

Special orders from headquarters Trans-Mississippi department, Little Rock, September 28 and 30, 1862, give valuable information regarding the available forces at that time.

Colonel McRae with his brigade, consisting of McRae's, Matlock's, Johnson's, Pleasants', McNeill's and Morgan's regiments of Arkansas infantry, and Woodruff's Arkansas battery, was ordered to take post at Des Arc and report to General Hindman.

Buford's regiment of Texas cavalry and Etter's Arkansas battery were ordered to Elkhorn to report to General Rains.

Grinsted's Arkansas infantry and the infantry of General [128] McBride's command were to move to Yellville and report to Brig.-Gen. M. M. Parsons.

Col. R. G. Shaver was relieved of the command of Shaver's brigade, Roane's division, and ordered to his regiment at Pocahontas. Brig.-Gen. J. S. Roane, in command of troops at Pine Bluff, was ordered to Clarendon. Cols. J. S. Marmaduke and A. Nelson were also assigned to duty as brigadier-generals.

Cols. James Deshler and F. A. Shoup were relieved from staff duty, to be assigned to command of brigades.

Gen. H. E. McCulloch, with his division of Texas troops —infantry brigades of Young and Randal, and cavalry brigade of E. H. Parsons—was ordered to Devall's Bluff, to report by telegraph to General Hindman. General Nelson, with the other Texas division—brigades of Flournoy and his own—was to report at Clarendon to General Roane. Colonel Garland was directed to concentrate his Texas brigade at some point near the Arkansas post, and was made responsible for the defense of the fortifications against any land attack of the enemy.

Col. J. W. Dunnington was assigned to the command of the river defenses of Arkansas, with orders to erect fortifications at suitable points on the Arkansas and White rivers. Colonel Dawson's regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Crawford's battalion, Captains Fitzhugh's and Williams' corps of engineers, and Captain Clarkson's company of sappers and miners, were ordered to report to Colonel Dunnington.

By orders of the secretary of war, September 29th, Brig.-Gen. D. H. Cooper was assigned to duty as superintendent of Indian affairs. [129]

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