War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0805 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.- CONFEDERATE.

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tion of our forces. These difficulties are being overcome, and they are even now gradually approaching our lines. How long they may delay a move for this place it is impossible to state. This point I regard, in a military point of view, as the key to all the intervening country between this and the Texas frontier. It must be held, if we are to hold in check an invasion of Northern Texas. Do, colonel, push on the battery and the first regiment with all the energy you possess, and try to impress upon officers and men the imperious necessity of activity, spirit, and energy.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. STEELE,

Brigadier- General.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,

Fort Smith, Ark., March 23, 1863.

Major General J. B. MAGRUDER:

GENERAL: I send my adjutant- general, Captain Crosby, to see you in reference to affairs in the Indian country and Northern Texas. I have no military authority to call on you for anything, but to convince you of my necessities, to obtain at your hands all the assistance you may be able to render me, acting, as I am sure you will do, upon your judgment as to what is necessary for the common good.

The regiments and battalions under my command would, I think, be sufficient to at least hold the enemy at bay in this section were they what they should be. Unfortunately such is not the case. All the Texas regiments under my command, with but one exception (Speight's), when turned over to me were utterly demoralized, and their ranks so much reduced by desertion that five regiments (including Speight's) report but an aggregate of 1432 present. This force, with an inferior four- gun battery, constitutes the chief body of my army. I have, besides, some companies of partisan Indians, and one artillery company without guns. I am almost destitute of ammunition of every description, and really don't know where to get any, unless supplied by or through you.

The enemy is already feeling his way in this direction, and, if I am driven from the line of the Arkansas, there is presented no intermediate line proper for defense until Red River is reached. To say nothing of the loss of the Indian country and some thousands of warriors, who would, in all probability, be turned against us, it would put in imminent jeopardy the grain growing region of Texas. The importance of holding the enemy as far away from that section as possible is no doubt fully apparent to you. There is also in the northern region of Texas a very unsound element, which will develop itself the moment a Federal force approaches it. For these and many other important reason which will strike you it is vitally important to hold every foot of territory on this line. After this somewhat brief exposition of the state of affairs in this part of the country, I will state, as succinctly as possible, my wants, leaving much of the detail to Captain Crosby, who is fully aware of my views and wants. I wish every assistance that can be given in forcing absentees who are in your district back to their commands. I have written also to Governor Lubbock on this subject. I am greatly in want of a speedy supply of ammunition. If you can possibly spare them, I wish to have sent me a few pieces of artillery of the heaviest caliber that can be used in the field; even two pieces will be of great service. The field batteries of the enemy are very superior to the one