April 6, 1864, Bonham,
Brigadier General Henry E. McCulloch to Captain E. P. Turner
HEADQUARTERS NORTHERN SUB-DISTRICT,
Bonham, Tex., April 6, 1864.
Capt. E. P. TURNER,
CAPTAIN: Yours of the 31st ultimo (No. 710, J.) reached me last night, and in reply have to say that so far as good conduct is concerned the troops belonging to or serving in this sub-district under my orders, with a few exceptions, have been as good or better than any I have served with, and any reports made against them to the contrary is unjust. As I have made exceptions above, it is due to all to call attention to the exceptionable cases. The Brush Battalion behaved badly everywhere, committing petty depredations on the property of the people about all their camps. There were many complaints of Colonel Gould's regiment, confined, however, to the taking of horses to mount themselves; also of Capt. Baylor's Lady's Rangers in the same way, and it was said in a few instances that some of Lieutenant-Colonel Burleson's battalion of Colonel Parsons' regiment (who were the most efficient men that ever have been in the district) drank too much whisky and committed some other indiscretions, and that Colonel Good's men made some improper impressments of horses, and that a portion of Colonel Bourland's command made some injudicious impressments of forage, but I know of no serious outrages by any Texas troops, and the most that have occurred have been by troops who did not belong to the district, and which while here were not subject to my command. The behavior of Colonel Martin's regiment has been remarkably good considering the service it has had to do.
I have found that many of the complaints made, which have been investigated, have been made by disaffected persons and much exaggerated. The greatest objection to all the troops I have had is a want of energy and determination to arrest every man liable to arrest by the orders they were serving under, which has been caused to a great extent by the fear of retaliation upon their families and property by the friends and sympathizers of those arrested, and for that reason troops should be sent on that service who live at a distance from their field of operation, and until I have a good cavalry regiment sent to me from some other portion of the State I will not be able to get this country cleared of the bad men in it, who owe service to the country, and it will be very difficult to do it any way, as such men have protectors (secret) and sympathizers all over this country, so much so that no scouting party can move in the daytime successfully, and nearly all our operations have to be carried on in the night. Many robberies, thefts, and murders have been committed in the country, principally by men with Federal overcoats on, some of which have been traced to Captain Quantrill's company proper, and others to some of the men who came here with him last fall, and to renegade Missourians and Arkansans who have left our army in Arkansas and Missouri, and have been lurking about the country all the winter, in spite of my best efforts to rid the country of them; and I assure you the Captain Quantrill command has been a terror to the country and a curse to our land and cause in this section, and I never have been able to control them, because I have not had troops that had the moral and physical courage to arrest and disarm them, less than which never would have done any good.
As to those other blue-coat gentry lurking about the country, they have been able generally to evade the scouts by keeping out of their way, or scare them off by declaring that they were Quantrill's men, whom they were afraid to arrest, having orders at the same time to arrest Quantrill's men if found absent from camp, as well as any others similarly circumstanced. There are some of these blue-coat men in the country still, but I think they are in the brush, except Quantrill's company, who have moved over into the Indian Territory and some others that are encamped near this place, who have been and are being collected to make a secret expedition under the direction of General Maxey, with the approbation of Lieutenant-General Smith. The major-general may rest assured that I will do all in my power, as I have hitherto done, to get these troublesome characters out of the country, but I am free to confess that with the means I have had I have failed to do it to my own satisfaction, and with similar or less efficient means (State troops) I can give no guarantee of success in future. Some of the robberies lately committed have been traced to certain parties who have been arrested by some of the minutemen in Grayson County, and Brigadier-General Throckmorton is now at Kentucky Town investigating the matter, and I learn that some very important information has been obtained and much more is expected with regard to the robberies, &c., perpetrated heretofore.
With all my labors and efforts to redeem this country, protect our friends, and unite the people, I have failed, and I feel the effects of the failure very keenly, not on my own account, but on account of that cause and country for which I live but to labor and for which I am perfectly willing at any moment to have all my personal prospects and interests sacrificed. I feel that I have not been supplied with the proper means to promise success in managing the many difficulties I have had to contend with in my district, but I have not and do not complain at my commanders on that account, as I have been and am aware that they have not been able to spare the necessary force from other portions of the field.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY E. McCULLOCH,
Brigadier-General, Comdg. North Sub-District.
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