confirmed, is forwarded by the first safe opportunity to Richmond for approval.
One of the cause of disorganization in the troops serving west of the Mississippi is the absence of bonded officers on the regimental and brigade staff. Commands going back to the first year of the war are without disbursing officers, or, if they have them, they are acting under illegal and invalid appointments. Scores of officers in the several districts in both the quartermaster and commissary departments have been acting and drawing pay without the least legal claim to their positions. Under the working of the bureaus, the status of those officers was being gradually but surely determined. When holding positions provided for by law, when their services are absolutely necessary, and when recommended by the proper persons, their appointments have been made and their bonds received and forwarded; otherwise they have been dropped, or, if trusty or efficient and their services needed, have been made bonded agents of the Government.
In connection with this subject, I would respectfully state that unless our successes east of the river cause the enemy to draw largely for re-enforcements upon their commands operating in this department, the Government must expect and provide for an entire interruption of communication this winter. Controlling the Mississippi with their naval superiority, they will occupy and hold the line of Atchafalaya and Washita, and effectually close communication until the fall of the rivers next summer.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. KIRBY SMITH,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,
Boggy Depot, November 7, 1863.
Brigadier-General [R. M.] GANO,
Commanding Texas Brigade:
GENERAL: I learn that the clothing for your command is here; consequently, you will proceed without delay to Doaksville, and establish your camp in that vicinity. The mere indications are that we will not be idle this winter. I am informed from Shreveport that the enemy are at Arkadelphia, and will probably continue to advance. The force at Fort Smith will, no doubt, act in conjunction with the others; my opinion is, by the Line road to the mouth of Mill Creek (above Lanesport). In view of such a movement, I wish you at the earliest moment to make yourself acquainted with the roads leading in the direction of Fort Smith, both in the Indian country and the adjoining portion of Arkansas. An engineer has been ordered to report to me, but has not yet done so. When he arrives he will be charged with this reconnaissance. In the mean time, parties under intelligent officers must be sent out to learn as much as possible of the roads, and they must keep notes of such roads, for defenses. The quartermaster and commissary at Doaksville have been expressed in relation to supplies, of which, I think, there will be no want, the whole tax in kind of Red River County having been turned over to the quartermaster at Doaksville. The men of your brigade must be made acquainted with the state of affairs, and that no time can be spared from headquarters for a vigorous resistance to the invasion of Texas.
Your obedient servant,