War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0034 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

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parties of the enemy. General Cooper, with his brigade, was, as soon as possible, advanced upon the line we had retired upon.

At this time I left General Cooper in command, for the purpose of having an interview with the commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department. On my return, if found that all the troops had been concentrated near North Fork Town, on the Canadian, and immediately after my arrival, and without consulting my wishes, General Cooper moved the whole slowly in the direction of Fort Smith, halting about 35 miles from that place, where I overtook him. The statements in regard to the enemy's force and position, sent to me during the few days previous to my arrival at his camp, had varied so much from day to day that I was in great uncertainty as to the best course to pursue. The troops had moved down with the expectation of a battle. I determined to attempt a surprise, upon learning that, owing to the annoyance given by the Choctaws, the enemy had no pickets on one road leading through the Arkansas Bottom, and gave orders accordingly, when General Cooper represented to me that he could not bring up his brigade of Indians to take the part assigned to them. I then thought of making the attack from another direction, where a prairie, with several roads leading from it to the enemy's position, would obviate the objection urged. to this plan General Cooper demurred, on the ground that the ponies of his Indians, having been without forage for several days, could not make the march in time. The distance was estimated at about 35 miles, to be traveled between 12 m. and daylight the next morning. Wishing to remove every objection, I moved my camp farther around to the south of Fort Smith, and to within 20 miles of that place, where I arrived ont he 31st of October, having been delayed by a storm of rain and snow, and in cutting out a road through the Poteau Bottom. During this storm the various commanders of the regiments of Texas troops, composing the Second Brigade, came in a body to inform me of the suffering condition of their men from the want of proper clothing, and of their inability to keep the men together much longer under such circumstances. My force on the 31st of October, as I derived from inspectors' reports, was: Seminoles, 106; Chickasaws, 208; Creeks, 305; Choctaws, 1,024; Choctaw militia, 200, and whites, 999. Of the Indians, all but one regiment were armed with any kind of guns that could be obtained. Some were entirely without arms. The whole force was cavalry and artillery. General Gano arrived the next day with his escort and a portion of Howell's battery, making my whole force nearly 3,000, about two-thirds of which was composed of at least three different nations, speaking different languages, and under no kind of discipline. The enemy's scouts had discovered us, consequently all hope of a surprise was at an end. General McNeil had arrived at Fort Smith with re-enforcements. I believe that to have made an attack would only have ended in disaster. Under these circumstances, I withdrew the white troops, and directed General Cooper to keep up, with his Indian brigade, a desultory warfare, to prevent the enemy from foraging or moving about at will. The Texas brigade, Brigadier-General Gano commanding, was withdrawn, and found its clothing at Boggy Depot, from which point it was moved at once eastward near the Arkansas State line. At the time of withdrawing the Texas brigade, the whole command was out of flour or other breadstuffs; 4 small wagon loads only arrived just as we were retiring.

One of the most fruitful sources of embarrassment experienced in the command of the Indian country, and one which, instead of being repressed, constantly increased, was that of feeding the indigent Indians