Major-General Price's division, as a body, are not such soldiers as they should be, when the advantages they have had are considered. Taken in comparison with the other troops of the district, they are the best I have inspected, but are not what they might be. Their drill is good; Parsons' and Fagan's brigades very good. In point of discipline I do not consider that they have nearly reached that state which is so necessary to render them efficient under all and any circumstances. One of the strongest evidences of this is the great number of desertions which have occurred and are daily taking place, particularly in the case of Fagan's and McRae's brigades. (See field returns and muster-rolls of these commands.) This state of affairs could not exist if field and company officers did their duty in using their energies and being vigilant. With few exceptions, there is too little pride and effort at soldierly bearing among the officers, and too much familiarity between them and their men. It is true they had but recently returned from a fatiguing and harassing march, but before the expedition to Helena they had been stationary for some time, and in their permanent camp had every opportunity of perfecting themselves in all the duties of soldiers. The general officers of the command are zealous nd competent, but are in a measure paralyzed in their endeavors by a lack of hearty co-operation from their subordinate officers. The field officers, and the company officers to even a greater extent, allow themselves to become too easily discouraged and disheartened at reverses. The exhibition of this feeling to the men-the result of intimacy between officers and men-makes the men dissatisfied; they lose interest, disaffection follows, and they desert. A lethargy seems to have fallen on the troops of the command which has been and will be productive of much evil. This can only be removed by keeping them constantly employed with drills, the enforcement of riding discipline, and a requirement of minute attention to all military exercises and duties. Petty crimes pass unnoticed, while greater ones go unpunished, or the punishment inflicted is so slight as to do no good as an example, and possible only makes the individual resentful. I think that they are past appreciating leniency, and moral suasion is lost upon them. As far as I know, no officer has as yet been held accountable for the desertions of his men-whether company officer of the day, or guard-and yet most of the desertions occur at night, when, by the order in force, no man is allowed to pass the lines without the countersing. Some excuse may be made for the men, but none for the officers.
I know that the department is not very fruitful of supplies, but I think that with proper energy the condition of these troops could be much ameliorated. They are poorly clad, very poorly, and are almost destitute of shoes. In comparison to these men, a portion of the troops of the Indian Territory (Bankhead's brigade) are finely provided for with clothing and shoes. there is an inequality in the distribution of clothing, which may be unavoidable, but why it is so I cannot tell. Their arms are of a good character, and generally well kept. Fagan's brigade do not pay as much attention to their arms and accouterments as other portions of the command. The staff departments of the division are, as far as can be ascertained by a general inspection, in tolerably good order. The adjutants-general are the most efficient. The quartermasters and commissaries of subsistence do not, I think, fully appreciate the responsibility resting on them. This is shown in a few instances by their papers. Major [Thomas] Monroe, quartermaster of Parsons' brigade, is $811.49 short. Major C. B. Moore, quartermaster of McRae's brigade, has an excess of $134.98. Major [John B.] Ruthven, commissary of Parsons' brigade, has an excess of $175.75. Mew inspec-