I don't believe that we are far apart at all. That is the beauty of a forum like this is that we can discuss the various elements to the smallest detail and make some sence of these activities.
The understanding of what was going on in late April and May of 1862 is to say the least very confusing. That is one of the MAJOR reasons that few have tried to sort them out before. Especially without the help of others. To describe the situation as I see events and orders issued, was like Granny use to say everybody was running around "like chickens with their heads chopped off". Or more maybe to our understand a Chinese Fire Drill.
Why the order for the companies were issued to Captain Tom McSwine at Pine Bluff may have simple been a matter of expediency, or he may have been the senior company commander available. But for whatever reason the order did make him responcible for that information getting to the other company commanders in the area. So in that context it did in defacto manner make him a "Battalion Commander".
The shuffling of companies once they reach Little Rock again was like the Little Dutch boy plugging hole in the dikes. In June of 1862 the 37th Arkansas wasn't organized either, because some of the infantry who fought at St. Charles on June 17th and sank the Mound City were to become part of Pleasents 37th Arkansas. So there was much swapping and moving of these companies from one group to another before they actually settled down to a "permanate assignment".
As for Majors commanding, there is no mention of a Major Platosz until these companies reach Little Rock and quickly is changed and finally Captain F. P. Yell is promoted to the position by June 14th (actually afterwards to be backdated to June 14th). I wonder if politics had anything to do with all of this since Captain Yell was the son of the Commanding General of the Arkansas State Militia.
It is well documented of all the politics which were going on during this time. Take for example a Lieutenant in the 1st Arkansas, Asa Morgan, being promoted to Lt. Col and given the command of a regiment. The same with William Crawford. Yes, these men had experience with the 1st Arkansas in Virginia and Tennessee, But that is still quite a jump for promotions.
Still all in all, I feel confident that given the situation as outlined in Gen Roanes report in late May 1862 that these Companies at Pine Bluff where a major portion of the Infantry troops that he had been able to gather in the period of time that he commanded before Hindman's arrival to take over the command situation. Roane was operating out of Pine Bluff during that time and Hindman moved his operations to little Rock. Another reason why I contend that this was a "battalion organization" even if some of the Companies were diverted to other units later.