HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE WEST,
Saint Lous, Mo., april 11, 1861.
Lieutenant Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND, A. A. G., U. S. Army,
Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th instant, directing the movement of six companies of artillery-three from Fort Ridgely and three from Fort randall. The order for the movement from Fort Randall has been sent by telegraph to Council Bluffs, to be forwarded thence by special messenger. The steamer Omaha has been chartered by the assistant quartermaster here to convey the troops from Fort Randall to Saint Joseph, the terminus of the railroad. The Omaha is now at Saint Joseph, and instructions have been sent to that point by telegraph for her to leave for Fort Randal without delay.
The orders for the movements from Forts Ridgely, Ripley, and Abercrombie were transmitted by telegraph to Saint Paul, to be forwarded thence by special messengers to the several posts concerned; but since they were issued I have received a copy of your dispatch of the 6th instant to Major Morris, commanding at Fort Ridgely, requiring him to proceed at once with his command, save a small detachment, to the city of New York, instead of waiting to be relied by a company of the Second Infantry, as at first directed. I have therefore recalled by telegraph my own order to Major Morris.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. S. HARNEY,
FORT SMITH, April 13, 1861.
Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters U. S. Army:
SIR: Before starting to Washita, and preliminary to a request, I desire to give a brief account of what has been done. I found the infantry already at Washita, and the cavalry from Arbuckle on the move to the same point. Upon the earnest appeal of the Indian agent, and the objection which it is understood would be made by the Choctaws and Chickasaws to bringing the Cobb Indians to Fort Washita, within their territory, from which all persons are excluded by treaty, I have suspended the invitation to them to follow the troops to Fort Washita, and have let two companies instead of one at Cobb. On an appeal from the same quarter, I have suggested to the department commander that two companies of cavalry from Fort Wise might be usefully employed by passing the summer near Fort Cobb, where there is a large depot of corn not easily removed. The usual supply of ammunition for this post, Cobb, Arbuckle, and Washita has been reported seized at Napoleon, and I have suggested to the department commander to send a supply overland. There are but two company officers with the four companies of cavalry concentrating at Washita, and I have asked that officers be sent forthwith to those companies, particularly the newly-appointed captains.
I have communicated so much of the General-in-Chief's instructions to the commander of this post as refers to it, and directed him, as soon as this State (Arkansas) secedes, to retire within the Indians county to the point n the Arkansas River where the high road from Fort Washita to Fort Scott, Kans., crosses it.