War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0804 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T., AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,

Fort Smith, Ark., March 19, 18963.

General D. H. COOPER,

Commanding First Brigade:

GENERAL: I have been waiting for a time, with anxiety,when I could leave this place for the purpose of urging forward preparations for the opening spring campaign. The great difficulty now in my way is the want of an officer to take charge of this vitally important point during my absence. I wish you, therefore, general, to move your headquarters to this point, or near it, as soon as you can practically do so. Our condition is anything but flattering. We are reduced to a very low ebb in the way of corn, and a poor prospect of getting more. I am afraid that we shall have to depend upon Texas for the necessary transportation to bring forward the supplies we now have there.

There is nothing yet indicating positively whether the enemy intends advancing in force on this line. If you can see the means of bringing subsistence from below, I wish all your available force brought forward at the earliest moment to the Arkansas River. Colonel Speight's brigade I intend to move forward as rapidly as it can be supplied.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. STEELE,

Brigadier- General.

RICHMOND, VA., March 20, 1863.

General B. HUGER,

Care of General Beauregard, Charleston, S. C.:

GENERAL: You will proceed, with as little delay as possible, to the Trans- Mississippi Department, and make a through inspection of the artillery and ordnance stores in that department; also of the means and facilities for the manufacture of ordnance and ordnance stores in that department, giving such advice and assistance as your enlarged experience may enable you to suggest. For the purpose of carrying out this order, you will report to Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith, commanding Trans- Mississippi Department, at Alexandria, La.

You will report the result of your inspection, from time to time, through the Ordnance Bureau.

Very respectfully, &c.,

S. COOPER,

Adjutant and Inspector General.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,

March 20, 1863.

Colonel [A. M.] ALEXANDER,

Commanding Second Brigade:

COLONEL: I have written to Captain Cabell, chief quartermaster, to strain every nerve to forward the brigade under your command to the vicinity of the Arkansas River. I wish you to send forward as soon as possible Speight's regiment and West's battery, to be followed by other regiments. The enemy is beginning to move down, and the river is fordable at many points. They outnumber us largely, and the only reasons they have not forced us from this point have been the condition of their stock and their ignorance of the exact condition and posi