April 7, 1864, Camp
Garland, C. N., near Laynesport,
Brigadier General S. B. Maxey to Brigadier General W. R. Boggs
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF INDIAN TERRITORY,
Camp Garland, C. N., near Laynesport, April 7, 1864.
Brig. Gen. W. R. BOGGS,
Chief of Staff, Trans-Mississippi Dept., Shreveport, La.:
GENERAL: In compliance with instructions recently received from department headquarters I have moved my disposable force, viz, Gano's brigade, to Washington from this place. I have also ordered Walker's Choctaw brigade to move to this place, and shall, if circumstances require it, immediately send an order back from Washington for it to proceed directly to that point. That brigade ought to have started yesterday morning, but from a note just in from my adjutant at Doaksville I think the head of his column probably got started this morning. Troops of this kind do not move with the promptness of white troops. It is as they choose about leaving their territory, but I hope there will be no difficulty. They can fall behind a treaty stipulation if they wish. The brigade will do very good work if it comes up. I have also directed Martin's regiment to be sent on at once upon arrival, and if it comes in by companies to send as fast as they come. I shall spare no pains to render all the assistance in my power, yet I feel in an awkward position. All the force I can send amounts to no great deal. I am of course thrown out of my district and cannot tell so well what is going on. These reasons, however, would be insufficient. The tenor of General Smith's instructions indicates that he expected my attention to be turned mainly to the crossing of Red River. I am, however, ordered (by General Boggs' letter) to report for instructions to General Price. General Price directs everything to be moved to Washington that I can spare as rapidly as possible. If I could take a respectable force, then I would feel that I was not an interloper, but I think it most likely that the sending of any one at this late hour to rank those now around Washington would produce confusion and perhaps hard feelings. I have no ambition to gratify and no wish outside of my duty. Wherever the lieutenant-general commanding thinks I can do most good I am willing to serve. Unless there is some specific duty for me to perform in Arkansas, I would respectfully suggest that, as there is an abundance of generals and a scarcity of troops about Washington, I could do more good in my own district than there, unless I have specific orders, leaving no room for doubt or dispute as to the position I am to occupy. I inclose a copy of a letter from General Cooper, just received. It relates to a move that had been projected in rear of Fort Smith and Gibson. With the character of troops Watie has I know they will do more good in that way than with regular troops. I have directed Cooper to push the move, which was only delayed to have General Boggs' letter construed. I will advise you upon reaching Washington and after consulting with General Marmaduke what I think of matters. Until I hear from this I shall not interfere with the plan adopted, but will cheerfully advise with General M[armaduke]. I take this course, as I am at a loss to know what is expected of me. As to the militia of Texas ordered up, I have to say that militia is proverbially slow in concentrating and may raise a question about being ordered across. I wrote to Governor Murrah last winter that he ought not to move the militia from Northern Texas, and that he had the constitutional right to order them across. I hope you will answer this at once to my address at Washington, and that you will appreciate my motives. No officer likes to have another put over him on the eve of battle, and no ranking officer likes to be kept where a fight is anticipated without exercising the rights of rank. The labor I care nothing for. I can do as much of that and as cheerfully as most men, but I do not like a doubtful position.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. MAXEY,
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