War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 1065 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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two is it impossible to make any upon military principles. The clothing for Gano's brigade had been left at Bonham, and the want of transportation had detained it beyond the season when it was required. It has now reached that command, which is en route to Doaksville, where forage and other supplies are more abundant, and where it will be in a better position to oppose a movement down the Line road to Red River, which, I think, will be the one used should the Federal force at Fort Smith advance this winter. That force had been augmented, before I left my position near there, by the arrival of the notorious General McNeil and a force represented by some at 3,000. This does not indicate a sufficient force for any separate operations. It can, therefore, be intended only as a garrison for the points on the Arkansas River, or to act as a flanking party to the force moving from Little Rock, the routes converging on Red River; this latter I think the object. A move of that kind would give them control of a rich portion of Red River, where they can get abundant supplies and interfere much with the subsistence of the entire Trans-Mississippi Department. I regret to learn that all of the troops from the Northern Sub-District of Texas had been ordered south, as my force is not sufficient to keep the force now at Fort Smith from moving to Red River. On the 31st ultimo, General Cooper's inspector-general reported his brigade at 1,643 Indians and 409 whites in ranks and on other duty; Colonel Hardeman, then commanding brigade (General Gano arrived next day), at 590 for duty, making a white force of 999 and 1,643 Indians. To this has been added Howell's battery and a company which came with General GaNumbers Some Indians have come in and others have left; some of the men not armed, and most had independent arms. Colonel Stand Watie has been operating about Fort Gibson, with what force it is impossible to say. His men are scattered over the country in every direction. I doubt the propriety of organizing a brigade for Colonel Watie. He appears to exercise no restraint over his men in keeping them together, and his requisitions upon the depots seem to be made with utter disregard of the numbers present or even on his rolls.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. STEELE,

Brigadier-General.

HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN SUB-DISTRICT,

Bonham, Tex., November 9, 1863.

Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,

Assistant Adjutant-General:

CAPTAIN: I have just received a letter from General Steele, dated at Sugar Loaf Creek, within 25 or 30 miles of Fort Smith, in which he says:

The force at Fort Smith has been re-enforced by a force from Missouri, commanded by the murdered McNeil. General Gano has arrived and taken command of General Bankhead's brigade. His command is in a bad condition. * * * I have transferred De Morse's regiment to Gano's brigade, and am withdrawing it to the vicinity of Red River, where it can be supplied. * * At muster, 31st ultimo, Cooper's force for service was, Indians, 1543; whites, 409; Gano's brigade, 590. Some Choctaw militia are coming and going constantly, so that it is impossible to say what the Indian force is any day.

From this you will see the true condition of affairs in the Indian country, which is even worse than I had thought it; and as you know that I have but four companies of infantry and two of cavalry of State troops, one company of cavalry and Colonel Martin's regiment sent to