HDQRS. NORTHERN SUB-DIST., Bonham, Tex., November 9, 1863.
Captain EDMUND P. TURNER, Assistant Adjutant-General:
CAPTAIN: After much trouble, on the 5th instant the deserters and absentees came out of the brush in a body, and reported 303 strong. In order to place them in a condition to control them, I directed them to be organized with sergeants and corporals, the sergeants to command them until I could get officers to place over them. In order to get these men out of the brush without force, I agreed to place them on the frontier, and, as they wee destitute of shoes, blankets, and clothing, and we had none to furnish them, I permitted them to be furloughed for fifteen days, in order that they might return prepared to go into the field for the winter, and, although these men have acted badly, it is believed that they will all be at the place of rendezvous on the 22nd day of this month, at which time I respectfully request the major-general to supply me with one good field officer and the necessary company officers for four companies. The officers selected for this purpose should be men of firmness and kindness, who would keep sober and attend to their duties properly, and the field officer should, if possible, understand frontier service.
These men are from the regiments of Colonels Terrell, Lane, Stevens, Alexander, Martin, Hubbard, Hawpe, and nearly all others, but chiefly from those named. There are also among them conscripts and militiamen.
Besides the 303 who came in a body, 335 have reported t the office, through the influence of many of the leading men of this section, who have labored faithfully in getting them to come and report. Most of these have been assigned to different commands, but several of them have been furloughed to report here as soon as they could get blankets, shoes, &c., to keep them from suffering in camp. Most of these men, it is believed, will return when their furloughs expire, though it is reported that some of them have left the country, and, if that should be true, it is much better than having them here in the brush.
These men occupied positions from which it would have been difficult to have routed them by force without leaving enough of them behind to have divested a good deal of this country in part, and I have no doubt that the use of force would have driven them to acts of outrage upon our friends, and involved us in a domestic war, which, though small in proportions, would have been so magnified by our enemies as to have invited and caused an invasion of our State from Fort Smith. As it is, I think no one thing could have done more toward uniting this people if any agreement with these men is carried out, and, if this is not done, it will have done harm instead of good, and I must insist upon its being done fully.
I have had to make concessions to these men that they did not deserve at the hands of any man, but I have done it for the good of the country, and if I have gone too far, I am to blame, not they, and I must be held accountable for any wrong, while they must be treated as I promised.
Pleas lay this matter before the major-general commanding immediately, that I may know as early as practicable his views and wishes on the subject.
H. E. MCULLOCH,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Northern Sub-District.
P. S.-You will see from orders herewith inclosed* that I will do all I can to purge my district of deserters, &c.
26 R-VOL XXVI, PT II