September 17, 1863

September 17, 2013
by

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE INDIAN TERRITORY,
Camp on Middle Boggy, C. N., September 17, 1863.
Brig. Gen. W. R. BOGGS, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose herewith duplicate of communication addressed from these headquarters to Major Snead, assistant adjutant-general District of Arkansas; also copy of instructions given Brigadier-General Cabell for his government. I respectfully forward these for the purpose of explanation and information as regards late movements in the Indian Territory. This evening a courier arrived at my headquarters, bringing sundry communications from Brigadier-General Cabell’s brigade, but not a line from General C. to myself. The information reaches me, unofficially, that General Cabell has gone with his brigade to Little Rock, under orders, it is reported, from district headquarters. Being deprived of this force at this important juncture, leaves me, I fear, no other alternative than the adoption of a purely defensive policy. I have heard nothing from General Bankhead for several days past. When last heard from he had reached Waldron, at or near which place he had pushed forward, in view of my orders directing him to form a junction with General Cabell. On reaching that point, General C. was found to have retired some 50 or 60 miles to the southward, in the direction indicated in the inclosed copy of letter to Major Snead, assistant adjutant-general, &c. On learning that General Bankhead had gone in the direction of Waldron, I immediately dispatched a courier, directing him to reassume a position on the road leading from Fort Smith to this point. I am not a little uneasy as to General Bankhead’s position since failing to unite his forces with those of General Cabell, and being in a position, when last heard from, in which, by a flank movement of the enemy on the road last referred to, he may be forced to retire on the same route as that adopted by General Cabell, in which event my front will be entirely uncovered, and I shall have no other force than Cooper’s brigade to oppose to any movement of the enemy in that direction. I, however, have confidence in General Bankhead’s sagacity and skill, though my opportunities of forming a judgment in this respect have been limited. Coopers brigade (being my entire remaining force)has been ordered forward Within supporting distance of General B., taking it for granted that he has pursued my directions. As soon as I am re-enforced, as I learn I am to be, and receive the battery sent me by order of Lieutenant-General Smith, I shall push my lines as far northward as circumstances may allow. This I feel to be the more necessary, as the occupation of the country of the Indians by the enemy is having a very ill effect with them. The terms offered them by the enemy have, and will continue to have so long as they are permitted to occupy their country, the effect of desertions from us. But few of the Indians can be induced to leave their particular country. This state of things I am most anxious to avoid, not that the Indians, particularly the Creeks, are of much service to us as soldiers, but, armed and equipped as they can be by our enemies, they may do us much harm.
The importance of furnishing the lieutenant-general commanding with accurate information concerning the condition of affairs in this Territory, and the difficulties of communication with district headquarters, must plead my apology for this hastily written communication.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. STEELE,
Brigadier-General.

Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission

Comments are closed.