September 13, 1863,
Lieutenant Colonel Sam'l A. Roberts to Captain Edmund P. Cooper
HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN SUB-DISTRICT OF TEXAS,
Bonham, September 13, 1863.
Capt. EDMUND P. TURNER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Houston, Tex.:
CAPTAIN: Your favor of the 9th is just received by express, directing me by return of express to inform the major-general commanding of the movements of the enemy, whether they have fallen back, are at a stand or advancing, and their present position and force. Had any of this information been in my possession, I hope the major-general feels assured it would have been promptly furnished to him. Since General Bankhead has left this side of the river, I have received only a single slip, written in pencil, dated the 4th, of a private nature, in which he states that he has not been able to ascertain either the position, force, or movements of the enemy; that he is about to advance along the Fort Smith road, and will send an express as soon as he can give any information.
By yesterday's express I received a letter from General Steele, equally unsatisfactory. The letter relates solely to business of the quartermaster's department. The postscript, a copy of which is inclosed, relates somewhat to the points inquired of by you.
This is all I have received from officers in the Indian Territory. I give so little heed to rumors that I never think of repeating much less of embodying them in an official letter, but from a great variety of sources I gather enough to feel satisfied that the great want in the Indian Territory is arms and more white troops.
General Cooper's command is not over half armed; that, with the miserable powder served out to them, and with which they have fought in their recent brushes with the enemy, has considerably demoralized them.
While I write, a gentleman for whom I vouch has handed me a memorandum made by him on the 9th, while he was in General Cooper's camp, which was then 12 miles north of Boggy Depot, on Fort Smith road:
Bankhead's command at or near Riddle's, on Fort Smith road; Steele's command with Cooper. Cooper says his scouts report without doubt that Quantrill had entirely destroyed both Fort Scott and Leavenworth, with large amounts of military stores; that many Missouri militia were joining Quantrill. On the 2d instant Cabell was at Waldron, on his way to Red River, in the direction of Lanesport.
So for the memorandum.
My informant also states that he heard after leaving the camp that General Steele had ordered Cabell to return into the Indian Territory.
This, captain, is all that has reached me in a shape to be at all relied on. The great want here is arms. Except those sent up to General Bankhead's command for Terrell's regiment, and which he has been ordered to retain, we have none. The country was pretty well stripped of everything to arm the first regiments that were organized. The best were all taken then. The officers of State troops are calling on me daily to know if, in case of their taking the field, they can be armed. I evade an answer as much as possible, not wishing it to be known how destitute we are.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAM'L A. ROBERTS,
P. S.--I send an interesting extract of a letter received by my medical director.
Extract from a letter of Asst. Surg. J. C. Field, stationed at North Fork Hospital.
Colonel [William R.] Judson, commanding the detachment of Federals that came this way, called upon us, and we had a long talk with regard to the condition of affairs north and south, and he seems of the opinion they can yet get a good many of the Texans to join them. Some of [T. C.] Bass' regiment [Twentieth Texas Cavalry, dismounted] came here in Federal uniform, and a good many more Texans have gone and reported that they will get a great many recruits as they advance into the State. They say they will certainly winter in Texas. They report a great many re-enforcements coming down from Springfield, Mo. I think there is a good deal of braggadocio about them.
JULIAN C. FIELD,
Assistant Surgeon, Bass' Texas Infantry.
I have no direct information from General Cabell. It is reported by a man from that vicinity that he inflicted a severe loss upon the enemy, losing but 4: men himself.
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