though deeply regretted at the time, was, nevertheless, imperative. Could I have retained that brigade at Fort Smith, I should have been enabled, in all probability, to have inaugurated the spring campaign from the line of the Arkansas River, and thus, perhaps, have materially changed the fortunes of war in that section of country. All of these many difficulties and embarrassments will be seen by reference to my official correspondence, to which I would most respectfully refer.
Prior to my arrival at Fort Smith, General Hindman had directed Brigadier-General Cooper, in command of the Indian Brigade, to adopt availed themselves of this privilege. There, however, remained quite a number who refused to accept furloughs, and whose subsistence, &c., added greatly to the then existing difficulties. Brigadier-General Cooper's official reports represented the troops under his command as being almost destitute of clothing; miserably equipped in all respects; poorly armed (many being without arms) and, that it was impossible to subsist them on the line of the Arkansas River; hence I was under the necessity, also, of ordering this force of the southward. the alternative was thus presented to me either to proceed with the troops that had been ordered southward, and abandon the line of the Upper Arkansas, or remain in person at Fort Smith, and attempt, with the small force in garrison at that point, to hold possession of the place and, to some extent,t he line indicated, until such time as I should have it in my power to subsist such troops as were then int he country or as might be sent from other points. I determined, believing, as I did, that Fort Smith was the true strategic key to the Indian Territory, to adopt the latter course, trusting to the inclemency of the season and the waters of the Arkansas to shield me from an attack. During the winter the enemy made frequent raids, penetrating as far southward as the Arkansas, doing little other mischief than annoying and interrupting the river transportation. I became satisfied, however, that he had no design of attempting the permanent occupation of any point south of the Arkansas so long as our forces held possession of, and controlled, the navigation of the Lower Arkansas. Thus impressed, I ordered the main body of the troops in the Territory to encamp as near Red River as was convenient, in order, first, that they might be more readily subsisted, recruited, and equipped; and, second, that the available transportation might be used in accumulating supplies in the depots near the line of the Arkansas. I thus hoped to accumulate an ample supply of bread-stuffs for the commencement of the spring campaign at the earliest day, the artillery and cavalry horses being meanwhile recruited on Red River, where an abundance of forage had been placed, under my direction, by Major A. S. Cabell, chief quartermaster.
In order to distract the attention of the enemy from na insight into these plans and operations, I resolved to have the enemy, then at Fayetteville, Ark., 55 miles northwest from Fort Smith, annoyed as much as possible, and to this end I gave every encouragement in my power to the formation of partisan companies. Colonel Monroe's First Arkansas Cavalry, about 400 strong, having been sent to my aid, I caused as frequent scouts to be made as it was possible for man and horse to endure. The greater portion of this cavalry was constantly employed watching over and defeating the operations of the numerous bands of jayhawkers who were committing daily deeds of violence and bloodshed.
The full force of the enemy in Northwestern Arkansas and the Cherokee country during the winter and early spring did not exceed 3,000, inclusive of Pin Indians. Of the latter, some 1,200 or 1,500 were in the