Today in History:

32 Series I Volume XIII- Serial 19 - Missouri - Arkansas Campaign

Page 32 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.

cases the field and staff officers, would be appointed. Under the conscript law these men were to be distributed among the old regiments, depriving them of all right to elect officers of any grade. I enlarged, instead of curtailing, their privileges.

Laying off the State into convenient districts, I appointed a commander over each, giving him control of the enrolling 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.

The various district commanders and enrolling officers were instructed to report in detail upon the agricultural and mineral resources of each county and its condition in respect of transportation and other matters important to be known. Their reports were subsequently abstracted by Major (now Brigadier General) F. A. Shoup, of my staff, and forwarded to Richmond.

Military posts were established at those points at which troops were to be concentrated and at other points where it was deemed expedient to place supplies in reserve or for troops on the march. For these posts officers of the several staff departments were appointed and the accumulation of supplies commenced.

Measures were also adopted for manufacturing many important articles for army use. Among these articles were salt, leather, shoes, wagons, harness, gun-carriages, and caissons, powder, shot and shell, and accouterments, all of which were soon produced in considerable quantities. Preparations were made for mining and smelting iron, with the view to cast field and heavy artillery, and molds, furnaces, and lathes were constructed for this purpose. Machinery was made for manufacturing percussion caps and small-arms, and both were turned out in small quantity, but of excellent quality. Lead mines were opened and worked, a chemical laboratory was established and successfully operated in aid of the Ordnance of niter, the various tinctures of iron, and other valuable medicines. Most of these works were located at and near Arkadelphia, on the Ouachita River, 75 miles south from Little Rock. The tools, machinery, and material were gathered piece-meal or else made by hand labor. Nothing of this sort had been before attempted on Government account in Arkansas to my knowledge, except the manufacture of small-arms, the machinery for which was taken away by General Van Dorn, and there was neither capital nor sufficient enterprise among the citizens to engage in such undertakings. Considering the isolation of my district and the virtual impossibility of supplying it from east of the Mississippi, my purpose was to make it completely self-sustaining. With a reasonable amount of money I should have accomplished this design if left to my discretion in its execution. The natural resources of that country are truly wonderful in their abundance and variety. Energy and a liberal foresight might develop them to an immensely valuable extent.

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 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. Upon the receipt from

Page 32 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXV.