a murmur, and have been ever ready to perform their duty as good soldiers, and now, forsooth, because they are sick and unable to perform service, they must labor under suspicion and obloquy. So far as depredations are concerned, there have been, perhaps, as few committed as by any command of the same size in the army. Little or no complaint has been made to me, and wherever complaint has been made I have made restitution or given satisfaction to the parties. And here I will take occasion to say that, while traveling through the country where these complaints have been made, it has been next to impossible to obtain supplies; we have had to impress almost everything, and where these citizens refused to sell meat and forage they thought it enough to say that "they did not want to sell it," or "that they had more Confederate money than they wanted." That a few hogs were killed and some fodder taken, I do not doubt, but that we deserve the name they made for us is not true. I have used various measures to stop it, and I believe I have almost, if not quite, succeeded; and without adequate guards, which I have not the men to furnish, it is no easy matter. In fact, there are mitigating circumstances that the citizens here (who have never seen much of soldiers) do not understand. On the Missouri raid and in the Mississippi bottoms, where they had liberty from citizens to take what they wanted, they got very confused notions about the rights of property,and it is difficult to set them right.
So far as details are concerned, we had the day previous to our leaving Arkadelphia 75 men present for duty, and enough detached to make in all 106 men for duty. The day we left we were called on by General Price for 32 men to establish a courier line to Shreveport; on the 29th, for 60 men for a scout to report to Lieutenant [William M.] Walton; and on the 30th, for 15 men more for the courier line. This last order for a detail for 15 men I did not furnish, but stated on it that I had only 33 men in camp well enough for duty, and that I had 235 sick of my own command, besides 100 sick infantry, and the general would see that it was impossible to furnish the detail. On the 2nd, we received an order placing us under your command, and, on the 3rd, General Holmes sends to Major Morgan an order to cause (a copy of which is hereto annexed, marked C)* the detail of 15 men to be made, and censures me for disobeying his order.
Now, general, I should like to know who I am to bey. My instructions place me under orders of the medical director and inspector of hospitals. He directs me to go to a certain place; the general wants to know why I went there. You are placed in command of us, and direct us to use diligence in collecting all our men together as quickly as possible. The next day General Holmes sends and order to scatter them. In his order to Major Morgan to cause the 15 men to be detailed, the general says "that guards for the camp must be furnished from the convalescents." He seems to forget that we are cavalry; that we have to go 3, 4, and 5 miles, and go into the fields and gather corn, and haul it, and that we have to have commissary details. We have 500 horses to forage, and 33 men barely furnish details for one day, and it is very hard to put men on fatigue duty every day, and these men are only convalescents themselves for we put every day, and these men are only convalescents themselves, for we put every man on duty who has not a surgeon's certificate, and one who has I cannot put on duty. They seem to have and idea at headquarters that we are not as sick as we represent. I know it is difficult to believe that a regiment could get into such a condition, but it is, I am sorry to say, to true. The men are not shirking duty; they have always preferred active service to lying in camps.