HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN SUB-DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Bonham, September 13, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston, Tex.:
CAPTAIN: Your favor of the 9th is just received by express, directing me by return of express to inform the major-general commanding of the movements of the enemy, whether they have fallen back, are at a stand or advancing, and their present position and force. Had any of this information been in my possession, I hope the major-general feels assured it would have been promptly furnished to him. Since General Bankhead has left this side for the river, I have received only a single slip, written in pencil, dated the 4th, of a private nature, in which he states that he has not been able to ascertain either the position, force, or movements of the enemy; that he is bout to advance along the Fort Smith road, and will send an express as soon as he can give any information.
By yesterday's express I received a letter from Genera Steele, equally unsatisfactory. The letter relates solely to business of the quartermaster's department. The postscript, a copy of which is inclosed, relates somewhat to the points inquired of by you.
This is all I have received from officers in the Indian Territory. I give so little heed to rumors that I never think of repeating much less of embodying them in an official letter, but from a great variety of sources I gather enough to feel satisfied that the great want in the Indian Territory is arms and more white troops.
General Cooper's command is not over half armed; that, with the miserable powder served out to the, and with which they have fought in their recent brushes with the enemy, has considerably demoralized them.
While I write, a gentleman for whom I vouch has handed me a memorandum made by him on the 9th, while he was in General Cooper's camp, which was then 12 miles north of Boggy Depot, on Fort Smith road:
Bankhead's command at or near Riddle's, on Fort Smith road; Steele's command with Cooper. Cooper says his scouts report without doubt that Quantrill had entirely destroyed both Fort Scott and Leavenworth, with large amounts of military stores; that many Missouri militia were joining Quantrill. On the 2nd instant Cabell was at Waldron, on his way to Red River, in the direction of Lanesport.
So for the memorandum.
My information also states that he heard after leaving the camp that General Steele had ordered Cabell to return into the Indian Territory.
This, captain, is all that has reached me in a shape to be at all relied on. The great want here is arms. Except those sent up to General Bankhead's command for Terrell's regiment, and which he has been ordered to retain, we have none. The country was pretty well stripped of everything to arm the first regiments that were organized. The best were all taken then. The officers of State troops are calling on me daily to know if, in case of their taking the field, they can be armed. I evade an answer as much as possible, not wishing it to be known how destitute we are.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAML' A. ROBERTS,
15 R R-VOL XXVI, PT II