War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0883 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records


Fort Smith, June 23, 1863.

Captain [W. H.] SHANNON,

Commanding Company near Evansville, Ark.:

CAPTAIN: I am directed by the general commanding to write to you in regard to certain complaints of the conduct of some of your men, which have reached his ears from various quarters, but more particularly from Mr. Ewing, who states that a conspiracy has been entered into between some of your men to murder and rob him. This utter disregard of person and property by men in the Confederate service must and shall be put an end to; and I am instructed by General Steele to say that you will be held personally and strictly accountable for any outrages committed by your men. The question as to whether a man is "Union" or not is not one which should be considered at all, provided he is at home attending to his business, and not violating any of the laws of the country or the Rules and Articles of War. What a man's sentiments or opinions may be is not a sufficient cause for punishment, particularly by irresponsible parties, who, if permitted to judge as to who is or who is not "Union," would rob friend or foe. The general commanding directs that you at once collect all the men belonging to your company, and any stragglers from other companies, and report without delay to your regiment.

Very respectfully,


Lieutenant and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

FORT SMITH, ARK., June 24, 1863.

Lieutenant-General SMITH:

GENERAL: I have, after some thought, determined to write you a minute letter, for the purpose of giving you an insight into affairs in this portion of your command - an insight which I have obtained only after months' service. I take the liberty without, perhaps, an acquaintance to justify it, but relying upon the character you, in common with most officers of the old army, have borne. Should it not correspond with your ideas of propriety, send it back; only give me credit for a desire to serve the cause we are engaged in. I have been placed in a command not sought by me, and which had been declined by others to whom it had been offered by General Holmes, as it was thought to be a graveyard for reputations. I came here a stranger, with troops terribly demoralized and without supplies or transportation. I have had many difficulties to surmount, which, when overcome, show nothing except to the close and experienced observer, and not the least of the difficulties I have had to contend with has been the want of competent and reliable officers in the staff department. The country under my command contains a number of stations which are too remote for my personal control, and in many of them I fear there has been great irregularity; if not knowing, every day convinces me more and more that knavery is predominant, and I have lately been confirmed in the opinion that there is an extensive combination to control the purchases in Northern Texas. It is a fact of common notoriety that fortunes have been made during this war, not only by speculators, but by some of the disbursing officers. This fact is not sufficient to ground charges upon, but it is a sufficient cause for distrust and for the desire to have nothing to do with these officers. For these reasons I dislike to have the quartermasters and