put into the field three regiments-are necessary to give satisfaction and bring out the whole fighting strength of the Indian nations, and secure their zealous co-operation in our cause.
I fully appreciate the absolute necessity for well-informed brigade staff officers, and also for each regiment and battalion. If proper steps had been taken at the commencement to furnish staff officers or military instructors to the Indian regiments there would have been no difficulty in the way. But although some changes in regimental staff officers are needed, care will be necessary now in effecting reforms. I think competent military instructors, from whom the officers both of the line and regimental staff might learn their duties, would effect necessary reform quickest. In order to get reliable reports it is necessary to begin with the captains and orderly sergeants. No adjutant can make his returns properly unless the orderly sergeants make correct reports of their companies. A good adjutant, sergeant-major, and military instructor to each regiment would soon introduce system among them. I have frequently endeavored to obtain military instructors, but being no law to employ and pay them has presented an insurmountable obstacle. The President may by law assign subalterns of the army to such duty when requested by the colonels, but I presume he has not a sufficient number well qualified to spare.
I have had, since the commencement of the war, to contend with many difficulties, some of which have doubtless come to your knowledge already, and have been held responsible in a great measure for the failure on the part of the Indian troops to accomplish as much as might have been even falsely accused of stirring up discontent among the Indians. I hope General Maxey will by personal inquiry satisfy himself of the causes of late discontent among the Indians, and the present disorganized condition of the Indian force. In regard to the location of brigade headquarters, a glance at the map of the Indian Territory will, I think, satisfy General Maxey that to manage and control the operations of the Indian Territory from Fort Smith, Fort Gibson, and Fort Arbuckle. Two-thirds of the command, in a very disorganized condition, are on and west of the California overland mail route from Fort Smith via Sherman. The enemy being at Fort Smith, from which the principal roads radiate, has greatly the advantage of forces posted on Red River. He may select his line of operations at will and move suddenly on our weakest point.
The distance from Fort Smith to Red River by the Line road and by the Towson road is about the same, that by the overland route something greater; but owing to the fact that the latter is far the best road, he can move his trains and force quicker by that route to Red River than by either of the orders. It is not probable that he will move in force before spring, and then it is obvious he will throw a column on the California overland route [if not his whole force] from Fort Smith and Fort Gibson, in order to penetrate to the grain-growing portion of Texas, and because it is not only the best road but our extreme left and weakest point. If he moves on the Line road toward Laynesport, he would go between our forces at Washington, Ark., and those in the Indian Territory. If it is proposed to advance and concentrate our force nearer Fort Smith, so as to be able