for the removal of the hospital at Cane Hill. In obedience to this order, the sick have been removed as rapidly as their condition would admit. It is the object and earnest desire of the general in command to remove the inmates of the Cane Hill Hospital as fast as he is notified that their condition will justify their removal. According to your report, received at headquarters yesterday, many of the patients under your charge cannot be removed without resulting in all probability fatally to the patient. As the hospital in question was established under a specific convention between Generals Hindman and Blunt, and as your report shows that it would be inhuman to undertake the removal of the sick and wounded at this time (and especially with so limited a notice), the general commanding, regarding the principles of humanity and justice, cannot consent to a compliance on your part with the cruel, unjust, and inhuman order which the commander of the United States forces has seen proper to issue. The commanding general is unaware of the existence of any just cause of blame or complaint to which the Cane Hill Hospital is amenable. He cannot believe for a moment that either the officer in charge of the inmates have been, directly or indirectly, guilty of any violation of good faith, and of the rules and usages of war. Certainly no such accusation has been made at these headquarters. Should the commander of the United States forces persist in the execution of his unprecedented order, the general commanding directs that you will assume no responsibility in connection therewith, other than rendering any assistance in your power in mitigation of the suffering which it is believed must necessarily ensue therefrom.
By order of Brigadier General William Steele:
J. F. CROSBY,
HDQRS. TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Alexandria, La., March 7, 1863.
I. In conformity with instructions from the War Department at Richmond, Va., dated February 9, 1863, the undersigned hereby assumes command of the Confederate forces west of the Mississippi.
II. Until further orders the department headquarters are established at Alexandria, La.
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,
Fort Smith, Ark., March 8, 1863.
Colonel S. S. ANDERSON, Adjutant-General, Little Rock, Ark.:
COLONEL: I received, day before yesterday, a letter from the surgeon in charge of the Cane Hill Hospital, informing me that he had received an order purporting to come from Colonel Phillips, a Federal commander, to remove the sick, attendants, and medical stores pertaining to his hospital, within the period of seven days, to the south side of the Arkansas River. Copies of the correspondence upon the subject I inclose herewith.* This Colonel Phillips I understand to be in command of a brigade of Indians, and now stationed at Maysville.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
*See pp. 138, 139, 154.