November 2, 1863, Camp
Sterling Price to Governor Thomas C. Reynolds
CAMP BRAGG, ARK., November 2, 1863.
His Excellency Governor THOMAS C. REYNOLDS,
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to inclose to you an official copy of Colonel Quantrill's report of his march from Missouri River to Canadian, detailing in a terse but graphic style his attack upon Fort Baxter and upon Major-General Blunt and escort. This report was handed to me by Captain Brinker, whom you will see bore a conspicuous part in the attack. Colonel Quantrill has now with him some 350 men of that daring and dashing character which has made the name of Quantrill so feared by our enemies, and have aided so much to keep Missouri, though overrun by Federals, identified with the Confederacy. The services of those men cannot be spared, but an obstacle presents itself which I fear will require more than my exertions to overcome. To engage your valuable assistance in the task is the object of this communication. It is with much regret that I find a disposition in these men to avoid coming into the service of the Confederacy. Indeed, it is this reluctance which has caused them to avoid the proximity of this army in the march southward in search of that rest which they and their horses require so much. Yet they have sent Captain Brinker to me to make known their wants as the selection of service, for as to clothing, arms, ammunition, horses, they want nothing, and indeed they are totally indifferent as to pay. They desire to serve with me as partisans, and in this they are adepts, and could be made very valuable as such to the army; but for reasons which they hold good they will not come under the direct command of General Holmes, nor will they be attached to any brigade, but are willing and anxious to serve if allowed to do so as above. I have urged upon them to join regularly our army and subject themselves to such orders as its welfare might require. As it is possible they will visit your neighborhood, you could use your influence to good advantage by urging them to attach themselves to the army. Their objections are not without foundation. In the first place many of those restless spirits, chafing under the inactivity of the army in Arkansas during the last winter and spring, deserted from General Hindman's and General Holmes' commands to seek more active scenes of operations--errors might be overlooked by an extension of the President's clemency toward deserters. Again, they have been outlawed by the Federal authorities, and expect no mercy or clemency at their hands, not even the chances of prisoners of war; and they think that if used only as scouts and rangers to ascertain and watch the movements of an enemy, they would be able to protect themselves against any surrender of our forces, should such a calamity overtake us. Captain Brinker reports to me that he has now a battalion of these men which he would bring into the service for such a purpose if allowed to place them under my immediate command. News from this quarter would be stale with you. I am glad to say that the health of the army is very much improved, and it is generally in a fine condition. The Missourians, in whom you are most interested, were lately very highly complimented by Lieutenant General Holmes for their appearance and evolutions on review.
With considerations of personal regard and esteem, I remain, your obedient servant,
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