War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 1013 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

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my own after a very long and tedious march over one of the worst roads imaginable. Why General C. did not retire, as specially ordered, on this road, I am unable to say. It is possible that the enemy, having possession of this road in his rear, may have drive him to the necessity of crossing the Poteau and adopting the road he is now on as his line of retreat. Anticipating the ultimate necessity of a retrograde movement from Fort Smith toward Red River (unless provided against by a speedy re-enforcement), I had caused supplies to be placed on this road for the subsistence of the troops under General Cabell.

Should a junction have been effected between Generals Cabell and Bankhead, I feel confident the enemy may be held in check, at least until I am able to bring the balance of the command to their support. I am in anticipation of more definite information from the commands referred to momentarily.

As I have ever feared, the Indian troops, except one regiment of Choctaws, were no service whatever. The greater part of the Cherokees were absent, and the Creeks utterly reused to leave their country after the occupation of their country by the enemy. The commander of the United States forces addressed a communication to one of their leading men, tendering the assurance of the protection of his Government, the restoration of their rights, property, &c., What number have gone to the enemy I am unable to say. The troops of that Nation are, however, still remaining in the Nation, and my be safely considered of no further service to our cause, unless we should repossess ourselves of that country. My losses, except in Indian troops, during the late movements of this force have been so slight as not to justify enumeration. I am now subjected to great inconvenience, owing to the manner in which my supplies of breadstuffs are furnished. The requisitions made by my staff officers upon the chief commissary of the Northern Sub-District of Texas are far from being me in due time, and my forces are literally subsisting from hand to mouth. With the superabundance of grain in Northern Texas, a short distance, over good roads, to transport my breadstuffs, I should always have on hand a surplus, over and above my daily necessities, as would enable me to move to any desirable point without embarrassment. Being of the opinion some time since that I should be forced to the abandonment of Fort Smith, I gave orders for the removal of all public stores of value from that point. I therefore infer that in the capture of that place by the enemy no loss in this respect was sustained. Sundry reports have reached me of re-enforcements being en route from Texas. I am in possession of no official information on this subject. I have received the assurance of Lieutenant General E. Kirby Smith, commanding Trans-Mississippi Department, through Colonel S. S. Scott, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, that my force should be strengthened, and a supply of arms forwarded at an early day. This assurance has been communicated to the Indians by Colonel Scott, who left my headquarters to-day.

In conclusion, I would respectfully suggest that there is now eight months' pay due the troops of this command, and that my disbursing officers are very nearly out of funds.

My communication being interrupted, as stated, in now to Bonham, Tex., to which point I have a pony express, and from there to General Smith's headquarters there is a similar express.

Very respectfully,

WM. STEELE,

Brigadier-General.