April 25, 1864, Fort
Major General S. R. Curtis to Colonel E. D. Townsend
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF KANSAS,
Fort Leavenworth, April 25, 1864.
Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General:
I telegraphed you on the 16th instant, calling your attention to erroneous impressions created by a report from your office as published in Senate Ex. Doc. 32, which stated my force at about 16,000. Your dispatch of the 17th, turning over the Indian Territory to the Department of Arkansas, was duly received and my officers and troops are duly informed. I now call your attention to my trimonthly report of the 20th, which was forwarded on the 22d instant, which shows all my forces present for duty only 4,350. The order of the 17th only deprived me of home-guard militia Indians at Fort Gibson, who are neither mounted or properly armed, and this report of the 20th is therefore a pretty fair presentation not only of what I now have, but what real soldiers I had last month, for those Indians did not amount to much, and the Fort Smith troops did not report to me.
The movements on Shreveport do not cover my department, and Southern Kansas is liable to raids from Central Texas, such as Quantrill made last year, and which disgraced humanity. To-day Colonel Phillips telegraphed that Quantrill is on the Arkansas, near him. I ought to have at least two more regiments merely for a proper defense of Southern Kansas, and it seems to me I should also have power to call out and arm the militia of this State, as they have been in Missouri, to resist or deter such invasions.
The removal of the Indian Territory from my command relieves me from much trouble and anxiety concerning my duties connected with the protection and defense of the Indians, but rather increases my anxiety as to Southern Kansas, which I wished to defend by establishing proper defenses on the upper Arkansas River. This I hope will now be consummated by a commander in Arkansas, but until the Arkansas River is so guarded I feel the necessity of guarding my new southern department line as securely as possible.
Knowing the desire to mass forces on special and desirable movements, I fear this department will be again subject to devastation such as transpired at Shawnee, Olathe, Humboldt, Baxter Springs, and Lawrence, because of the absence of the people of Kansas who have joined our remote and more advanced columns of volunteer forces. In consequence of past disasters I am obliged to place guards at many important towns to prevent a general departure of terrified inhabitants; and the little force I have is therefore all employed guarding the overland mail route, the Santa Fé route, and the posts and stores of my command. The posts are so widely separated, and some of them so remote, extending to Idaho and nearly to Salt Lake, I cannot concentrate, as you will perceive, any considerable number to resist a raid if one be made into Southern Kansas.
I hope, therefore, you will present to the honorable the Secretary of War the necessity of immediately strengthening in some way my available force to resist assaults from rebels approaching through the Indian Territory on the line of Quantrill's last movement, which was about the meridian of 96 or 97 degrees.
I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,
S. R. CURTIS,
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