HEADQUARTERS LEFT WING,
June 30, 1863.
MAJOR: About 80 men of the Eighteenth Arkansas are still in the trenches on this line. I have ordered them to move at once to the right, and join their regiment. They are under command of a lieutenant. I have sent the order by Captain [W. F.] Owen (the best officer in the regiment). I have ordered that a complete list of those who disobey the order be sent in immediately. I think, and sincerely hope, that they may go. But, major, assure the general that, if they continue in this disobedience, our safety demands an immediate trial and execution of this spirit is spreading, and, unless arrested, will lose Port Hudson to us on the first vigorous attack the enemy.
When the regiment reached their position designated in the order last night, they could find no one to report to, and remained there for three hours without a position.
Your communication of last night (saying that this regiment should be returned as soon as the emergency passed) was forwarded to them. Your communication of this morning says the change must be permanent, and cooks must be moved, &c. I fear the results. I have given the order to move cooks, &c. I would suggest that if there is any safe position in which the regiment could be held in reserve, where they could be comfortable, &c., it might prevent trouble . I learn that there is serious prejudice in the Eighteenth against Colonel Lyles. Perhaps an intimation to the colonel to be cautious in his orders to them might avoid difficulties. But, major, some Arkansas soldier will have to be shot by court-martial before they are convinced that they have to obey orders irrespective of their own feelings. I have lost confidence in their reliability in emergencies. They are under no discipline.
In case any of those men refuse to go this morning, I will forward the list of names at once, and ask that a general court-martial be called immediately.
I am, captain, very respectfully, &c.,
I. G. W. STEEDMAN,
Colonel, Commanding Left Wing.
P. S.-What damage and loss on the right yesterday and last night, and how do matters stand down there?
HEADQUARTERS LEFT WING,
July 3, 1863.
MAJOR: The enemy opened a new gun upon our battery at Bennett's house this afternoon. The gun is located in the edge of the bull-pen, about 250 or 300 yards from our battery. It fired a number of shots at our siege gun.
Our gun opened, and at the third fire silenced the enemy's gun. We cannot say whether it was dismounted or simply ceased firing. The sharpshooting was directed mainly on the batteries, and caused by the artillery fire. Unless we can silence the gun, it will annoy us very seriously, and cripple the battery in an assault.
I visited Colonel [B. W.] Johnson's camp last night. The enemy have run a zigzag ditch to within 75 yards of his parapet. I see no way of