Smith, Ark., which gave me complete control and jurisdiction of the Indian Territory 100 miles south of the Arkansas River, as well as of Western Arkansas.
The second event deserving a special notice was the sending of a smelling committee - dubbed with the respectable cognomen of a board of inspection - into my district. This committee was sent by Brigadier-General Schofield, whose imbecility and cowardice I represented in communications to the President and Secretary of War more than one year ago, and consisted of Colonel Du Bois, Captain Benham, and Captain Howard, of whom the two letter signed a report* previously agreed upon at detachment headquarters, Saint Louis, by Schofield and conspirators against myself and my command, which in character and statement was not only maliciously false, but infamous and criminal. This board only went through a part of the formula of inspection, viz, traveling with an escort through a portion of my district. They refused to come to my headquarters at Fort Smith, where the greater part of my command was then stationed, although I urged them by letter to do so when they were within forty miles of that place. Neither did they make and examination into the transactions of my staff departments, but their conduct while fulfilling their special mission (especially of the two last-named of the board, Captains Benham and Howard), for drunken debauchery and being the recipients of cheap bribes, was such as to disgrace the uniform they wore and excite the disgust of every soldier of my command.
This report of Benham and Howard, which was evidently premeditated for malicious purposes, came into my hands by accident, it being the design of its authors and instigators to use it against me without my having a knowledge of its character or an opportunity to refute its falsehoods, and I presume it is from this document that General Halleck has obtained much of his information relative to my command in the Indian Territory.
On the 19th of October,k 1863, by order of Brigadier-General Schofield, I was relieved of the command of the District of the Frontier, and succeeded by Brigadier-General McNeil, and the following day, 20th of October, the Cherokee Legislature, then in session, passed a series of resolutions,official copy of which I herewith transmit. These resolutions, coming from the source they do, and after my removal from the command of the Indian Territory, are a better refutation of the aspersions contained in General Halleck's letter than any statement I could make. On the 1st of January, 1864, the Department of Kansas was re-established, placing you in command, and in February, by your orders, I was assigned to the command of the District of the Frontier again, embracing the Indian Territory and the military post of Fort Smith, and notwithstanding when I left Washington, on the 7th of February, I was assured by the President and the Secretary of War that I should have sufficient troops for active field operations, yet, when I arrived at Fort Smith on the 12th of March, to assume command of my district, I found that nearly all of the troops that properly belonged to my command, by reason of their location at the time of the Department of Kansas was reinstated, had been transferred by Major-General Steele, commanding the Department of Arkansas, to his command. After a controversy as to jurisdiction over the troops in question, the action of General Steele was sustained by superior authority,and by order of the War Department
*See foot-note, Vol. XXII, Part II, p.595.