HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF ARKANSAS,
Little Rock, Ark., March 18, 1865.
Lieut. Col. C. T. Christensen, Assistant Adjutant-General.
Colonel—I forward herewith two communications from Brigadier-General Bussey, commanding at Fort Smith, which will give an idea of the condition of affairs in that vicinity. General Bussey is carrying out my instructions, and, as I understand it, the wishes of the major-general commanding the military division, in affording aid and encouragement to the people to go to work. They have been plundered by the rebels and by our men to such an extent as to deprive them of all heart, but every arrival now adds to the evidence of their confidence in the disposition of the present officers in command to do for them all that can be done. Whether they will be able to mature their crops will of course depend upon many things that cannot now be foreseen. We have sent North from this department since 22d December, 1864, the date of my assuming command, about 2,000 (1,932) persons. We are now issuing rations here to about 700 destitute women and children, most of them directly or indirectly dependent upon men who are now in our service or who have lost their lives in it. These persons are very much indisposed to leave the State. A farm near Little Rock, formerly the property of an absent rebel, has been seized for their use, and they are now being put upon it. They will be furnished with facilities for making gardens, &c., by which it is hoped they will become partly self-sustaining. With the changes recently made in commanders and troops at Fort Smith, the depredations which heretofore disgraced us have been discontinued. There are now some fifteen men, officers and soldiers, confined here awaiting trial for robbery, fleet burning, &c., committed in the neighborhood of Fort Smith.
Very respectfully, yours.
J. J. REYNOLDS,