gent Indians. I am directed by Lieutenant-General Smith to request you will, at the earliest moment, furnish him such information as will enable him to have a correct understanding of the case, such as the reasons making it necessary they should be fed by the Government, under what orders and restrictions they are subsisted, and any other information that will enable him to understand the subject correctly before forwarding to Richmond estimates for funds for the subsistence department.
I am, general, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
S. S. ANDERSON,
CAMP RYBURN, June 17, 1863.
Major General STERLING PRICE, P. A. C. S.,
DEAR GENERAL: I reached camp yesterday, and find the command in good health and spirits. Many are home, cutting wheat. It is generally understood that Colonel Clark will return with an order for the election of colonel, and that the election will come off on next Monday. It has been generally understood that I am to be the colonel, but I find as undercurrent at work which makes the matter not so sure. There are several of the captains who are ambitious, and they think by promoting Lieutenant-Colonel Kitchen that they may stand a chance to fill the vacancy, some trusting to election and others to promotion. (Hence I have written an official letter upon this subject.) The old fable that tells of the mouse releasing a lion might have said that the silk-worm could have spun the fiber that confined him, and I may be defeated by the small axes that others may want grind. I do not know that Colonel Kitchen will lend himself to this matter, but human nature is mighty strong in him, and he may think that I may not be promoted as rapidly as I expect to be.
The Iowa troops have left New Madrid for Vicksburg, and the place is now garrisoned by 400 of the Fourth Missouri Militia. If I could have Jeffers' regiment next week, the two regiments (about five hundred guns for both) can take Madrid in a few minutes, and we can get their guns and outfit for our command. I will make all the inquiries necessary, and, should you allow us to go next week, I will be ready for the order whether I am in command or not.
I have heard of the Republican of the 11th, but there was nothing interesting from Vicksburg.
We have received rumors of the reorganization of the cavalry, but no orders on the subject have been received here yet. Should I be elected colonel of this regiment, I would prefer not to be brigaded, as I am sure that I can soon recruit it up to a brigade. There are already several new companies forming of Missourians and also of Arkansians, who express a desire to serve under me, and I am sure that I can recruit further for myself than for any other officer that I know of. I am, however, willing to serve under anybody, and always prompt in my obedience. I used to except [C. W.] Phifer and Marmaduke, but I will except none now.
With my best respects to Captain and Mrs. Cole, I remain, your obedient servant,
M. JEFF. THOMPSON.