HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,
Fort Smith, Ark., March 12, 1863.
Colonel CHARLES DE MORSE,
Commanding Regiment, Texas Cavalry:
COLONEL: I am directed by Brigadier- General Steele to state that he confidently expects you to hasten with your regiment to the protection of the northern frontier of Texas, in accordance with orders received by you from Brigadier General D. H. Cooper. From the reports received from that section at these headquarters, there is an urgent necessity of immediate aid. You will, therefore, move with all dispatch to the point indicated in the orders of General Cooper.
By command of Brigadier- General Steele:
J. F. CROSBY,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., March 18, 1863.
Lieutenant General E. KIRBY SMITH, Commanding, &c.:
GENERAL: I avail myself of the opportunity of a gentleman's proceeding directly to your vicinity to make a few suggestions, which very possibly your superior knowledge of the circumstances surrounding you may have led you to anticipate or may cause you to modify. When we conferred here, previous to your departure, we coincided in thinking that the most important operations in your department for some time would be directed to aiding in the defense of the Lower Mississippi, and keeping that great artery of the West effectually closed to Northern occupation or trade. It was not, therefore, expected that, until the great object of repelling the Federal attacks threatened against Vicksburg and Port Hudson had been accomplished, you would be required to give much of your time and personal attention to the affairs of the upper portion of your department. I still retain my full conviction of the primary importance of maintaining our command of the Lower Mississippi, and repelling the formidable armaments of our enemies in that direction; but, unfortunately, I fear an even more pressing necessity requires your personal presence and influence at an early day in the State of Arkansas.
From a variety of sources, many of which I cannot doubt, the most deplorable accounts reach the department of the disorder, confusion, and demoralization everywhere prevalent, both with the armies and people of that State. The commanding general seems, while esteemed for his virtues, to have lost the confidence and attachment of all; and his next in command, General Hindman, who is admitted to have shown energy and ability, has rendered himself, by alleged acts of violence and tyranny, perfectly odious. The consequences, as depicted, are fearful. The army is stated to have dwindled, by desertion, sickness, and death, from 40,000 or 50,000 men to some 15,000 or 18,000, who are disaffected and hopeless, and are threatened with positive starvation from deficiency of mere necessaries. The people are represented as in a state of consternation, multitudes suffering for means of subsistence, and yet exposed, from gangs of lawless marauders and deserters, to being plundered of the little they have. I trust the picture has been over-colored by the fears or passions of those who have submitted such representations, and I can by no means credit the adverse judgments which are pronounced against the experienced and able generals we