HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN SUB-MILITARY DISTRICT,
Bonham, September 18, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER,
CAPTAIN: I have scarcely been here long enough to look around me, but at a causal glance me forced to report things in bad condition generally. No district quartermaster nor commissary has yet reported, although I learn the major-general has assigned some to duty in this district; if he had no done so, I could transact the business of the district through the staff officers of this post. There are no funds in the quartermaster's or commissary departments, and certified accounts have been given out until the people are sick of them, and unless funds are sent there very soon, everything we obtain for man or beast will have to be impressed except that received from the tax in kind. The quartermaster has abut 150 detailed teamsters employed, and no negroes to fill their laces, and, under orders "not to interfere with the labor bureau;"I could not have them employed if I could find them; they might possibly be hired here; if not, they could be impressed, I presume.
From all I have yet been able to learn, not a quartermaster or commissary in the district has army funds, and those at this post have not only to provide for the troops that may be ordered here, but for those in the Indian Territory. There seems also to be a conflict among quartermasters about transportation, caused by orders for some to send all that they can obtain in one direction, while others feel that they have the right to call on them for a portion. This can be avoided by doing everything in this district through the officers assigned to duty here.
I have received most pressing letters already from different portions of the district, urging me to take steps to arrest deserters and conscripts that have gone into the brush in large numbers in some portions of the district. These men live off the property and produce of the people near their camps, and are a terror to the country about them, and in many instances the lives of our best friends are in danger from them. This is an evil that should be corrected at once, but I have no troops to send after them. Some of the militia will be here in a few days, but they are very poorly armed, when armed at all, and you will see from the report of Captain [W. G. M.] Samuels, ordnance officer at this post, that I have only a meager supply of either on hand. In short, there is nothing here, comparatively speaking, to defend the country with, and if both men and means are not supplied, I cannot do it, nor will I be held responsible for this defense. There are no tents on hand, nor any other camp and garrison equipage for troops in the field, nor is there any means of obtaining them in this section. I shall direct estimates to be made by the staff officers at this post for supplies of all kinds for 10,000 men, and the major-general can order them for such number of troops as he may know will have to be supplied from here.
The only surgeon here is a hired citizen, and the hospital needs both hospital stores and medicines. I have selected a citizen whom I shall recommend for the appointment of surgeon, and put him on duty as medical director and purveyor of this district.
I learn from General Steele that he has very little artillery, and I have none. Ask the major-general to send up one or two batteries as early as practicable.
Most respectfully, &c.,
H. E. McCULLOCH,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Northern Sub-District.