HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI, OFFICE OF ASSISTANT INSPECTOR-GENERAL,
New Orleans, La., October 19, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel C. T. CHRISTENSEN,
SIR: I have the honor to report for the information of the major-general commanding the condition of the Department of Arkansas for the month of September, 1864:
District of Little Rock.-Since the last report the troops of this district have improved in health and efficiency, and the supply departments seem to be working well. The quartermaster's department have at length erected suitable buildings for the shelter of supplies, and the latter are now being forwarded promptly.
District of Helena.-The troops in this district are in good condition except the Thirty-fifth Missouri and the Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry. The latter is reported as quite deficient in drill, discipline, &c., but is of good material and needs a commanding officer of more force than Major E. Carmichael, its present commander, who, although a good man, does not pretend to be proficient in drill. There seems to be a disposition on the part of the officers at Helena to allow their men to plunder and rob houses of everything they can carry off. The acting assistant inspector-general states that he has heard of many cases, but could only get direct testimony in one, of which he will soon make a report. He recommends to the department commander a general order on the subject, believing it would be beneficial. The supply departments appear to be well regulated here.
No report of the District of the Frontier has as yet been received, communication having been for a time cut off. The light artillery of the department is, with exception of one battery (Third Kansas), in good condition. This battery has been reported to the department commander. On the 17th of September the cavalry division of the department was reorganized under the control of Brigadier-General West. The division now consists of nineteen regiments organized into four brigades. This division shows an aggregate, present and absent, of 15,667, with 6,397 serviceable and 2,271 unserviceable horses, but the present for duty numbers only 5,954 officers and men; large numbers are on extra duty throughout the department in direct violation of General Orders, Numbers 21, from these headquarters. General West is working hard to get his command in good condition. The horses are being inspected and classified, and a cavalry depot and recuperative stables have been located in accordance with the instructions of the chief of cavalry of this division. The quartermaster in charge of the depot has gathered 150 tons of prairie hay, and a quartermaster has been sent to Saint Louis to look out for forage for the department. General West has taken hold well, is working vigorously, and it is hoped the cavalry of the Department of Arkansas will soon compare favorably with that of other departments. The health of the troops in the whole department is better, and scurvy is disappearing; altogether the last inspection shows considerable improvement throughout the whole command.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN M. WILSON,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.