War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0961

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CHAP. XXV.] CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE. 961

sent to have any white officers, and they only so far as to the colonel. 1 have found that it does not answer to put them and white troops close together. You cannot use the same hospital for both. It will not do to have a white company in an Indian regiment. In fact, the organization by regiments is all nonsense. They ought to go by towns, in bands of different numbers, under their chiefs and captains; and I have sent the Secretary of War a draught of a bill covering that and other points.

I believe I will be able to hold this country. But I must be able to reach out my arm and bring men from Texas, in a few days notice, if the enemy enter it in force. I want field works, but not too near him, or too far from Texas. My intention has been to place works here first, and then at Frozen Rock, and on the south side of the Canadian, at Rock Creek, a very strong point. The Texans would not have lifted a spade or touched a wheelbarrow anywhere north of this point. It was a hard matter to get them to do it here; but they have done more work than any one would have believed possible. The Choctaws are about, I think, to furnish me 100 hands, and I shall get from 50 to 100 from Texas. At Frozen Rock I can hire from the Creeks and Cherokees and Seminoles.

I am not writing at this length because this is an agreeable or easy command, and therefore desired by me; on the contrary, I would gladly give it into other hands. Neither my habits nor tastes incline me to a military life; and I think I could have served the country much more effectually in some civil capacity, and this particular command is for many reasons especially disagreeable, embarrassing, and laborious. If I had Indian troops alone I should not have any trouble. They pester me very little, and what I say is law and gospel, even among the Reserve Indians and wild tribes. One white regiment makes more fuss, grumbles more, hatches out more lies, and is more trouble in one day than all the Indian troops and people in a year. With the exception of five or six companies, I sincerely wish they were all at home. I inclose a copy of a singular letter received a day or two since by me from Colonel Charles A. Carroll. Of course, I have not replied to it. I was about to send it to the Secretary of War, but, after receiving your letter, I transmit it to you, finding it hard to believe that you would have directed a colonel to urge upon me the necessity of a forward movement; or that orders have gone from yourself to a junior colonel in my department, placing him in command of a large part of it, over three of his seniors. As I have placed Colonel Cooper in command of them all, and he ranks them all, that matter Is, of course, settled.

You will see by my orders that I have laid my hands on the wandering companies of which your letter of the 23d speaks. I shall show as little respect as possible to their commissaries and their accounts.

Purchasing agents will not be permitted to traverse the Indian country, raising the price of supplies upon us. They are as great an evil and plague of Egypt as contractors are, the two together making everything cost twice what it ought to. Yesterday an officer wanted my department quartermaster to pay him $10 a head on some mules he had purchased, as purchasing agent. I told the quartermaster to pay him, and then tell the officer I should send him before a court-martial. Plenty of horses and mules were purchased last year by purchasing agents at Fort Smith at $100 or so a piece, and turned over to Major Clarke at $175 or so.

As to debts due in this country, a special act of Congress provides

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