There is no doubt that Holmes wanted to formally organize a second corps. But, he says he did not have a suitable commander. [see below]
And, there were the distinct possibilities I have mentioned of having to detach troops east of the Mississippi, and to reinforce Hindman. These detached troops would have reduced the intended 2nd Corps to a mixed command of only a few brigades.
OR Vol 13
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Little Rock, Ark., October 26, 1862. (Received November 14.)
Adjutant and Inspector General:
On my arrival here I found a strong feeling of discontent toward the Government, consequent on the withdrawal of the all the troops to the east of the Mississippi and the absolute abandonment of the State; and though it was materially softened by the energy and industry of General Hindman in organizing regiments after his arrival in June, still the sore is too green and the necessity for all the troops that are here too apparent not to make withdrawal of seven regiments most painfully felt. This feeling of abandonment was made a handle of by one of the political parties of the State, and though it may be rebuked by the good sense and patriotism of the people and the party defeated it would be a dangerous experiment to be repeated, particularly as the enemy's forces that are now threatening Arkansas are much superior to our own. I inclose a list* of brigades and divisions, which make a very respectable show on paper, but with the exception of McCulloch's division and McRae's brigade, which are partially drilled, they are a crude mass of undisciplined material 7,000 of whom are without arms of any kind, and a large part of the remainder have only the shot-guns and rifles of the country. You will readily see that it is only the moral force of numbers, whose condition is carefully concealed, that has kept the enemy in check. This state of affairs I hope will soon be changed, as I expect soon to receive arms for my unarmed men and offices able to instruct and discipline them. At present the only generals I have are Major-General Hindman and Brigadier-General Roane and McCulloch, with two Missouri brigadier-generals (Parsons and Rains.) Roane is useless as a commander, and I have sent him to take care of the Indians. Generals Steele and Scurry have reported to me by letter. The former has gone to San Antonio to settle his business and the latter is sick. My hope is that others have been appointed and will soon come on. All the brigades are now commanded by colonels, most of whom are not qualified to command a regiment. My presence is really much needed in Texas, and yet I cannot leave here until a general is sent me to whom I can trust the command of the army corps stationed near Whiter River for the defense of the Arkansas Valley. Such an officer would Pettigrew be if he was made a major-general, though I believe a better arrangement would be to send General J. E. Johnson or Beauregard to command the department, while I would take the corps. General Hindman I think fully competent to command the corps in the northwest, where he now is. A report has just reached me that the enemy are advancing from Springfield into Arkansas. I have no fear, as Hindman will be able to sustain himself in the mountains south of Fayetteville, and when my arms arrive, if the army at Helena, which is 12,000 strong, makes no advance, I will join the two corps and fight them in the northwest. Colonel White C. S. Artillery, has reported to me for duty, but the painful disease with which he is afflicted disqualifies him for any trust at all commensurate with his rank. His mind, I think, is seriously impaired. I have appointed Major G. H. Hill chief of ordnance and artillery, Colonel White assuring me that his health would not permit him to act in that capacity.
From-Major General Holmes