identified, a very large amount of transportation will be necessary in this department, as the bulk of the supplies necessary for the subsistence of the troops must come from Texas. In view of this necessity, I have instructed Captain Cabell, assistant quartermaster, to spare no time or energy in supplying this almost totally exhausted desideratum, advising the purchase of ox-teams for general use in transporting to depots. I fear, however, that the absence of funds in the quartermaster's department will greatly embarrass if in does not render the efforts of Captain Cabell wholly nugatory. It appears to my mind that the better plan for providing the necessary funds for this department would be through a general estimate, rendered by the proper disbursing officer of my staff. This, of course, would be, in a great measure, a mere matter of guess-work, owing, as before stated, to the impossibility of procuring the usual estimates from the various commands in the department.
I am earnestly and anxiously looking forward to the rising of grass, that I may have it in my power to move forward my available force. I hold the Indians firm in their allegiance. A decided and strenuous struggle must be made to relieve them of the cruel and relentless oppression to which they are now subjected. There is scarcely a day that I am not in receipt of some sad tale of murder and outrage. This, in connection with their starving condition, has been quite sufficient to drive them to the enemy. I wonder at their firmness and loyalty under circumstances so truly discouraging. I am of the opinion that the enemy will concentrate his forces, and collect his supplies at Forts Scott and Leavenworth, and other points bordering the Indian country, preparatory to a move southward when the season shall justify it. To offer a successful resistance to this advance, I have much to do, and shall stand in need of every assistance that can be afforded me. Isolated as this country comparatively is, together with our weakness in a military point of view (patent to every one), seems to dispirit the troops and depress the minds of the people. I do not, however, by any means despair of ultimate success if I am aided, as I hope and believe I shall be.
The commanding general is, no doubt, already aware that the department at this time affords supplies of no kind except a little beef and salt. Supplies of other kinds must come from elsewhere. Ordnance stores particularly should be sent me. They can probably be more readily and certainly drawn from Texas than any other section, that branch of the department having had greater facilities for procuring and having less demand made for them than any other portion of the Trans-Mississippi Department.
I regret the necessity of communicating at so great a length. The vital importance of the subject, and a proper understanding of my position in any future contingency that may arise, has impelled me to it.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
LITTLE ROCK, ARK., March 6, 1863.
His Excellency the PRESIDENT:
MY DEAR SIR: The situation of affairs here renders it necessary that I should ask your advice. I think it very doubtful whether I shall be able to subsist my command until another crop is made on the Arkansas River. I would move to Missouri, except that there is the same desolation there that exists in Arkansas, unless I went far into the interior, say, within 100 miles of the Missouri River. General Steele,