War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0029 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

Search Civil War Official Records

bering about 150 men, this being the entire number present for duty in a regiment originally consisting of fourteenth full companies. This regiment had not a change of clothing nor an average of a blanket to the man. About 1,500 inmates, in a wretched condition, were officially reported in the numerous hospitals in the place. The quartermaster and commissary departments throughout the Territory were found in the utmost confusion. The officers serving in those departments, as a general rule had derived their appointments from General Hindman or General Pike, were without legal commissions, and, in many cases, had executed no bonds. To have displaced these would have stopped all operations; therefore, having no others to replace them, I was compelled to continue them on duty. Many of these staff officers were incompetent and negligent. Orders were issued and reissued demanding that their returns should be forwarded to headquarters without attaining the object sought. From Majors [Israel G.] Vore and [N. B.] Breedlove, quartermaster and commissary of subsistence, respectively, of Cooper's brigade, of some 6,00 men, on paper, returns were repeatedly called for, but never received. I may here also mention that I was unable to procure a single paper (nor did I ever receive one) in the way of a record, either in reference to previous military operations or the Indian superintendency.

The few stores left by General Hindman on his retreat had been stolen and scattered to all parts of country. In the quartermaster's department there was neither transportation nor forage. The best efforts of the officer in charge of the commissary department were only productive of a very limited supply of poor beef and corn meal. Of the latter, there was but a few days' supply on hand, and, to obtain the necessary supply for the subsistence of the troops mentioned, and the hospitals, it became imperatively necessary to reopen the navigation of the Arkansas River.

I ascertained, on inquiry, that a considerable supply of flour, for the use of the Indian Department, had been purchased in Northern Texas by an agent sent by General Hindman for that purpose, but the deficiency in transportation and the condition of the roads forbade the hope of an adequate supply of breadstuffs from that quarter. The Arkansas River was, therefore, the only avenue for a supply left open to me, and this of corn. the territory on the northern side of the stream for a considerable distance was virtually in the possession of the enemy, whilst jayhawkers in considerable numbers were boldly depredating on both sides of the river between Little Rock and Fort Smith. Under these circumstances, I besought the lieutenant-general commanding to so dispose a sufficient force of cavalry along the north side of the river as to afford protection to such boats as might be employed in the transportation of corn. After no little delay and embarrassment, a sufficient through absolute want of subsistence, to send to Red River Speight's brigade, with a battery attached. The scarcity of forage and subsistence, together with the destitute condition of the command, involved the necessity, also, of ordering the remnant of Lane's regiment to a point at which there was a probability of subsistence, recruiting, re-equipping, &c. Bass' [Texas] regiment, os Speight's brigade, numbering some 200 men, was kept at Fort Smith for police duty, &c. This regiment, as was the case with most of the other regiments composing Speight's brigade, was found to be greatly demoralized, and in a very short time after being put on duty exhibited an effective strength of less than 100 men, this depletion arising, in the main, from desertion.

The necessity of sending Speight's infantry brigade to the Red River,