at different points; had to be kept many days at a time on hand; there was no corn for them; they starved and died, and every pound of beef we used of what was so furnished cost the Government from 10 to 15 cents. Not a pound of bacon ever was furnished, and in February the contractor gave notice he would furnish no more beef until May. In the mean time, under his contract to furnish fresh beef on the hoof, he induced Major Pearce to let him kill and salt down a quantity at Alburty's, above Fort Gibson, where it rotted and spoiled. We were not bound to receive it, and I would not have allowed it to be received even if my commissary had been notified about it in time.
In February, when the Arkansas River was not navigable above Dardanelle, and hardly to that point, I approved the price, 10 cents a pound, proposed to be paid by Major Pearce for a quantity of sugar. He made the purchase of a Hebrew speculator-I do not know whether before or after the river rose-and got a hundred hogshead of filthy, wet black sugar, not worth 3 cents a pound. When General Van Dorn halted at Van Buren on his retreat from Elkhorn he ordered all the supplies at Fort Smith including mine, to be sent to Little Rock. My assistant adjutant-general fortunately went there soon after, and found my ammunition going off to Little Rock, and the sugar, under a very precise order from Major Pearce, being shipped to me. He reversed the matter, sent me the ammunition, and the sugar down-stream to Major Pearce.
Major-General Hindman has now ordered me to Fort Gibson, 65 miles from Fort Smith, where I can with difficulty get supplies from Texas, and shall be forced in some degree to have resort to Fort Smith; and he advises me that "Major N. B. Pearce is assigned to duty as chief of the quartermaster and commissary departments within my district and that of Northwest Arkansas," and he will proceed to Fort Smith, instructed to make arrangements for subsistence and forage and has funds, and that I must advise him by courier, as promptly as I can, of my resources on hand, strength, &c. And simultaneously with this an agent of White makes his appearance here and demands to be allowed to enter again on the performance of his contract. I have given him a certificate that it has been violated from the first and he shall not go on with it. I struggled for a good while before I got rid of the curse of dependence for subsistence, transportation, and forage on officers at Fort Smith. I cannot even get from that place the supplies I provide myself and hardly my own private stores. My department quartermaster and commissary are fully competent to purchase what we need, and I mean they shall do it. I have set my face against all rascality and swindling and keep contractors in wholesome fear, and have made it publicly known by advertisement that I prefer to purchase of the farmer and producer and do not want any contractors interposed between me and them. My own officers will continue to purchase subsistence, transportation, forage, and whatever else I need until I am ordered to the contrary by you, and when that order comes it will be answered by my resignation. Mr. White's contract will not be acted under here. I have beef enough on hand and engaged, and do not want any from him. I have had to buy bacon at 20 to 26 cents, and he and 15 cents. I also strenuously object to receiving mules or anything else purchased at Fort Smith. I could get up a mule factory now with the skeletons I have, and there are a few miles from here 600 or 800 sent up by Major Clark in even a worse plight.
I know nothing about Major Pearce as a quartermaster nor of any