War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0428 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter XVIII.

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These instruction will be read to the commanding officer of the expedition, but not communicated to any other person.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Fort Leavenworth, Kans., December 11, 1861.

[Brigadier General LORENZO THOMAS:]

GENERAL: Your letter of the 26th ultimo, in consequence of the destruction by the enemy of railroad bridges, was delayed a number of days. In reply I have the honor to report that I thik the expedition proposed by the General-in-Chief altogether impracticable. We have a hostile Indian force, estimated at 10,000, on the south, and Price's command, some 20,000, on our east and north. To cope with this force we have only about 3,000 effective men, scattered over an extended frontier. So far from being able to make successful expeditions into the enemy's country with our present force, I think we shall be very fortunate if we prevent his having possession of the whole of Kansas. The guns necessary for the defense of this post were taken away by order of General Fremont, and have not been replaced. The possession of Levenworth would be a great feather in the enemy's cap, and really there is nothing to prevent his having it any day he may see fit.

We will give him a hard fight, but he will have ten to our one.

In my humble opinion the division of the Western Department was not for the good of the service.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding.


Washington, December 11, 1861.

Major General D. HUNTER,

Commanding Department of Kansas:

GENERAL: Your telegram to General Thomas* surprised me exceedingly. Realizing as I do the very trying nature of the circumstances in which you are placed, I have attributed it to momentary irritation, which your cooler judgment will at least leady you to regard as unnecessary.

In regard to placing General Halleck in command of the Department of Missouri, that step was taken from the evident necessity of placing some one there who was in no manner connected, for or against, with the unfortunate state of affairs previously existing in that department. Immediately after you were assigned to your present department I requested the Adjutant-General to inform you that it was deemed expedient to organize an expedition under you ocmmand to secure the Indian territory west of Arkansas, as well as to make a descent upon Northern Texas, in connection with one to strike at Western Texas from the Gulf. The general was to invite your prompt attention.


* Probably dispatch of same date, above.