War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0261 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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of the Army of the Frontier last fall against an army greatly superior in numbers was conducted on my own responsibility and against the advice of my superiors. I could, with much more propriety in compliance with your views, have fallen back to Fort Scott or Springfield, as other would-be heroes did, without ever firing a gun. Had I failed, the responsibility of the failure would have rested upon me, yet I have never heard that others were not willing to avail themselves of my success. During that campaign a formidable rebel army was defeated, broken up, and dispersed and the country occupied to the Arkansas River, and with the few troops that were left me has ever since been held under many discouraging circumstances. To give it up now would be extremely fatal. The Indians have been promised protection, and the loyal citizens of Western Arkansas expect it. They are now organizing for the defense of their homes, and every encouragement should be held out to them. The refugee Indians have been taken back to their own country, and are now putting in their crops, feeling much encouraged for the future. The Creeks and Choctaws, who have heretofore been allied with the rebel cause, are making overtures to join our forces and look to the Federal Government for protection. If we continue to hold the country, the two new Indian regiments can be speedily raised and organized, and the Union element in Western Arkansas and Northern Texas will have an opportunity to develop itself; but if the country is to be abandoned for the want of a few troops to strengthen the small force now there, then the labor of last fall is all lost, and the blood of our gallant men has been shed in vain. The Indians will lose confidence in the Government, or its ability to protect them, and will become completely demoralized, and many whom we might have with us will be fighting against us. The loyal people of Western Arkansas and Northern Texas will become disheartened, and rebel enthusiasm will be increased in proportion. I address you frankly and plainly upon the matter, because I feel its importance. In vain have I asked for troops. There are not sufficient in the whole district for a brigadier's command, and they are mostly negroes and Indians; yet I am willing to lay aside all personal feelings and take command of those in the field in person, and contest for every foot of ground this side of the Arkansas River. I am willing to take the responsibility of attempting to hold the country; but if it is to be given up, and a retrograde movement made, others must take the responsibility of ordering it, and shoulder the disastrous consequences that will follow.

Until otherwise ordered by my superiors, I shall direct Colonel Phillips and Colonel Harrison to hold the country to the Arkansas River until they are driven from it by an overwhelming force. If you desire any other policy pursued, please give me instructions, direct and positive and they will be carried out.

I have the honor to be, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,




Houston, Mo., April 29, 1863.


Orders from General Herron having arrived, which require a thorough reconnaissance of the region lying upon the waters of Current River,