used, owing to the entire absence of either forage or grass between this and Red River.
Under these circumstances, Speight's brigade was ordered to Red River, where it was supposed sufficient supplies could be obtained and the disorganized skeleton regiments recruited. One of the regiments, having a force of about 200 men, was detained as a guard to the hospitals at this place. A greater force was not sent, for the reason assigned. With even this small force, our supply of breadstuffs has several times been at a very low ebb. After a short time, when a rise in the river secured to us a better supply of provisions, and becoming more thoroughly aware of the importance of Fort Smith as a point necessary to the preservation of that portion of the Indian Territory south of the Arkansas, I brought up the eight companies of Colonel Monroe's regiment of Arkansas cavalry, which had been placed under my control, for the purpose of keeping open the navigation of the river. I also brought to this vicinity the greater part of the two Cherokee regiments, they being the most available force at hand.
The troops under my command have been, and still are, widely scattered, owing to the necessity of frontier protection from incursions of hostile prairie Indians, as well as those of the Nation directly in the service of the enemy. Communication being necessarily conducted by means of couriers, has rendered it difficult to obtain a knowledge of the true condition of the various commands in the Territory. The officers are very generally ignorant of military forms and usages, are without stationery of any description, and their requisitions, &c., when made, are usually defective. I have not yet been able to make requisitions, based upon the proper data, for funds, supplies of ordnance, &c., and if, at this late date, I am held by the formal and circumlocutory system of obtaining funds, arms, and ammunition, the Indian country will be lost before the lapse of one-half the time usually required to obtain anything for which requisitions are made. I forwarded not long since a requisition for funds to carry on a work-shop for the repair of guns, &c., at Fort McCulloch, and received in reply notice that it was necessary to forward it to Richmond. This system will not answer at the present momentous juncture. Much preparation is necessary yet to be made, and in order to make these preparations money is necessary; certified vouchers will not do. The country is already flooded with them. The money brought by Major Quesenbury is reported to be far short of the amount necessary to the extinguishment of Government liabilities.
I had designed before this to have gone over the Indian country, and endeavor to obtain from personal inspection a knowledge of the condition of affairs, but as yet have found no time when I could leave this point with safety. The frequent raids of the enemy from Fayetteville, in connection with the repeated murders and robberies committed by bands of outlaws who infest both sides of the river, and the absence of any officer of experience to intrust with the command, has debarred me from an exercise of my wishes in this respect. Much of the time which I should otherwise have devoted to organizing and preparing for a spring campaign has been occupied in the details of local affairs. I write these things in order to place clearly before the commanding general the true state of affairs in this branch of his department, and as it will become necessary, should there be an advance of the enemy, to meet him with other forces than those under my command at this time, which force I believe only to have been designed for the present protection of the people of the Indian Nation, though, as I have before stated, the relations between Western Arkansas and the Indian Territory are closely