I have not been able to uncover any orders that would have formally provided for the Second Army Corps, Army of the West, during the time period being discussed.
We know that special order #39 of Sept. 28, provided for Hindman to organize the First Army Corps, Army of the West. And, that this same order provided for the "arrangement" of troops not included in the First Army Corps.
Holmes followed this order with special order #42:
SPECIAL ORDERS, HDQRS. TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT, No. 42. Little Rock, Ark., September 30,
I. Special Orders, No. 39, from these headquarters, is hereby suspended so far as the same relates to relieving Major-General Hindman from command of the District of Arkansas, and Brigadier-General Roane of the command of the troops at Pine Bluff, including Garland's brigade.
II. Brigadier-General Roane will immediately proceed with his command toward Clarendon, and take post on the highlands near that place.
III. Brigadier-General McCulloch, with his entire infantry force, Haldeman's and Edgar's batteries, and the cavalry of his division, will move immediately to Devall's Bluff, take post near that place, and report by telegraph to Major-General Hindman for further instructions.
IV. Brigadier-General Nelson, with his entire infantry force and Daniel's battery, will proceed immediately to Clarendon, and report to Brigadier-General Roane.
V. Colonel McRae, with his entire infantry force and Woodruff's battery, will proceed immediately to Des Are, and take post near that place. He will assume command of Pratt's battery, and report to Major-General Hindman for further instructions.
VI. Colonel Parsons' cavalry brigade is placed under the orders of Brigadier-Gen McCulloch.
By order of Major General T. H. Holmes
Oct 2- Holmes to operator at Des Arc-
Nelson's division camped near Hickory Plain last night. Send courier to Col Sweet commanding division to halt there till Hindman reaches there. he is en route
So, rather than allowing Hindman to get to work organizing his 1st Corps proper in the North West, Holmes seems to be relying on Hindman to help him with those troops that presumably would have comprised the intended 2nd Corps.. This seems to support Holmes' contention that he had no suitable commander for these troops [probably including himself].
Hindman was finally able to leave Holmes and reached Fort Smith on October 15, to attend to the organization of his own fledgling 1st Corps.
It is interesting to note that subsequently, Holmes addressed his communications to Hindman variously as :
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., Oct 18, 1862. Gen HINDMAN, Commanding First Corps, Trans-Miss Army
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., November 14, 1862. General T. C. HINDMAN, Commanding Army of the Northwest:
Soon after Holmes finally permitted Hindman to attend to the organization of the 1st Corps, Holmes is telling Richmond of sending a division [of the defacto 2nd Corps] to Hindman, and going there himself to take command. He also is planning to send Garland's brigade to Virginia. [see next] As mentioned, these detachments would render any intended 2nd Corps nothing more than a few widely separated brigades--at this time.
HQ TRANS-MISS DEPARTMENT, Little Rock, Ark., October 19, 1862. (Received Nov 22.) Gen COOPER,
Your telegraphic order to send seven Texas regiments to the Army in Virginia is received. I will order Garland's brigade of three regiments, now at the Post of Arkansas [Arkansas Post], and Sibley's brigade of four regiments, believed to be now reassembled at Marshall, Tex................. Colonel Garland will move with his brigade as soon as the guns are mounted in the fort now being erected at the Post of Arkansas; say in ten days. The enemy have quietly collected a large force in Northwestern Missouri. I have sent General Hindman to take command and aggregate all our forces in that direction. It may be that he will require the division that is now in front of Helena; if so, I will accompany it and direct the operations in person. T. H. HOLMES
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., November 1, 1862. HINDMAN, Commanding First Corps:
.................. I cannot think the enemy will attack Fort Smith until they have beaten you, but I have directed the troops at Austin to be ready to move it they are necessary to you. I must leave the lower Arkansas very weak, though I do not think the enemy will attempt to advance from Helena unless they are re-enforced. Magruder has been ordered to Texas and Frost and Hebert here. I will send you Fagan in a few days. .............. Allen has a fine regiment, well drilled, which must be armed. .............. I will come up as soon as it is certain that you will want the forces at Austin
Only after Holmes determined not to detach Garland's brigade, and not to send Hindman one of his Texas divisions, was Holmes left with enough troops to organize a 2nd Corps.
The arrival of General Churchill to command Arkansas Post--
OR Vol 22 SPECIAL ORDERS, ~ ADJT. AND INSPECTOR GENERALíS OFFICE, No. 289. f Richmond, Va., December 10, 1862. * * * * * * * XIII. Brig. Gen. T. J. Churchill is assigned to duty in the Trans. Mississippi Department. He will repair to Little Rock, Ark., and re- port for duty to Lient. Gen. T. H. Holmes.
--and the pending arrival of General J. G. Walker to replace McCulloch in command the Texas brigades, may have given Holmes the commanders he needed to finally list a 2nd Corps [but with no commander] in his December 12th table of organization.
However, the roles were now reversed, and what was left of the 1st Corps was now being called to Little Rock due to the Arkansas Post operation.