HDQRS. 8TH AND 9TH DISTS., DEPT. OF THE MISSOURI,
In the Field, Camp at Bentonville, Ark., March 9, 1863.
Major- General CURTIS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
SIR: The small pox has gained no further headway. There are fourteen cases at quarantine hospital,1\2 miles distant. Strict sanitary regulations have been adopted, although it is somewhat difficult to regulate Indian habits.
Major Maynard, surgeon First Arkansas Cavalry, was appointed medical director of the District of Western Arkansas, by Special Orders, No. 12. It was necessary to place some person in the position, and I deemed it best to take a man from the Arkansas command, as I learned that he was competent.
I visited and reviewed the Arkansas troops three days ago. I was, in the main, pleased with their appearance, but the disposition to go home is too general, and I found it necessary to check it. This has given me a good deal of trouble in the Indian command, but I find the Arkansas command worse than they are.
I desire to secure for the First Arkansas Cavalry a couple of 12 pounder mountain howitzers. Will your order them sent to Springfield, so that they can be properly drawn and sent forward as early as possible! I find a much better sentiment in Arkansas than I expected. The infantry regiment of Colonel Johnson will be filled up whenever we can go forward to the river, and one other regiment. Perhaps Johnson may get his regiment. Perhaps Johnson may get his regiment full before.
Their are a number of outside companies, numbering from 20 to 50, that are stationed around at different points, as outlying posts or scouts.
Unless your order, I have forbidden the enrollment of any militia, but most of these men had fully committed themselves prior to that time, and have to keep up these volunteer organizations. When armed, it has only been by arms taken from the enemy and given with caution. This is, of course, a matter of the utmost delicacy, and I felt the greatest apprehensions about it; but, with proper care, these may be made good schools for the volunteer service, and all they get is rations. It happens in this way: Some men, long desiring to be loyal, when a scout or party goes forward, believing the day come, do not hesitate to make unequivocal demonstrations. For protection, they have then to join the service, or, if reluctant to take that step, they are compelled thus to organize to protect their families, and being thus in service without pay is not easy done; they drift into the volunteer service, and in the mean time are good scouts.
The lack of funds in this district is very embarrassing. All forage has to be paid for in vouchers. I desire to have a number of good scouts and spies, as I deem it of the first importance to keep posted as to the whereabouts of the enemy. Quartermasters and commissaries have made the necessary estimates for funds, but I prefer to have a disbursing officer sent here. This will save me a great deal of trouble, watching that everything runs honestly. I need a mustering officer for the two new Indian regiments ordered. He ought to be here and muster the men as received into the Indian and Arkansas regiments. I understand that General Schofield appointed a mustering officer from the volunteer service, who has been carrying on business at Fayetteville. I do not understand it, but, out of respect to General Schofield, refer the matter to you, and at the same time earnestly urge that a lieutenant of