War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0884 MO., ARK., KANS., IND. T. AND DEPT. N. W. Chapter XXXIV.

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commissaries, most of them, who have been operating here and on Red

River, under former commanders. Major [N. B.] Pearce, chief commissary of Texas, former commanders. Major [Thomas] Lanigan, now on duty in Northern Texas, have both of them, according to report, been too intimate with certain speculators from this place, now in Northern Texas. Both of the officers referred to are strangers to me, as well as the speculators referred to. These speculators control large sums of money, and have some political influence. All has been, or will be, brought to bear to bring or keep here such agents of Government as are useful to them.

The delegate from the Nation brought a scheme, approved by the President, for a separate and permanent command in the Indian country. The exact nature of his instructions I do not know, not having seen them, but it has had the effect to set to work all the machinery that could be brought to bear by each, in force, of the two brigades who are now under my command. Promotion and command for some and money for others will be the mainsprings of action in the changes that may be urged to be made in this country. Major Lee, commissary, is now engaged in following up some of the rascally indications. I shall dislike very much to lose Major Lee's services. I think they are of more importance here now than they ever have been in any new field of operations.

The Indian command is a large one to feel. The indigent loyal Indians have been supported at the expense of the Government supplies. This has been a matter of necessity, and is still, thought to a less extent.

The Cherokee refuges will refuse assistance much longer than others. Indian troops you are familiar with. Colonel Stand Watie is the only one of the command, as far as I know, who is above the ordinary mark.

The Creeks appear to be especially unreliable. With these troops, and without proper artillery, it would be foolish to attempt to take Fort Gibson. I am, therefore, attempting to force the enemy out by cutting off his supplies, with a good prospect of success.

Your obedient servant,

WM. STEELE,

Brigadier-General.

HEADQUARTERS MISSOURI CAVALRY REGIMENT,

Camp at Russell's Ferry, June 25, 1863.

Major HENRY EWING,

Assistant Adjutant-General, in the Field:

MAJOR: No news from the enemy to-day. A Federal scout of 250 men crossed Little Black at Ponder's Mill on last Sunday. I pursued them with about 300, when they retreated toward Patterson. Colonel Campbell and Captain Reves are certainly mistaken about the number of the enemy at Ironton. They have between 3,000 or 4,000 men. There is no doubt that the enemy have sent a great many men to Vicksburg from the vicinity of Ironton. Three thousand men were shipped at one time. It is absurd to think that the enemy were preparing to move in this direction with their present force. When they hear that our army has left Jacksonport and gone in the direction of Helena, they will move in this direction, and not until then. I will use every effort to prevent them receiving that information.

I am, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. Q. BURBRIDGE,

Colonel, Commanding Outposts.