[Footnote 692: (cont.) of Gen’l D.H. Cooper and one under command of Col. J.W. Speight.
I am, Col., Very Res’py W. STEELE, Brig.
Col. S.S. Anderson, A.A.G.
P.S. Please find enclosed printed Gen. Order, no. 4, which I have assumed the responsibility of issuing on receipt of Lt. Gen’l Holmes’ order declaring my command in the Ind’n country independent.
(Sd) W. STEELE, Brig. Gen’l.
[A.G.O., Confederate Records, chap. 2, no. 270, p. 65].]
[Footnote 693: Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 771-772.]
[Footnote 694:—Ibid., 771.]
[Footnote 695:—Ibid., 843; Confederate Records, chap. 2, no. 270, pp. 25-27.]
[Illustration: FACSIMILE OF MONTHLY INSPECTION REPORT OF THE SECOND CREEK REGIMENT OF MOUNTED VOLUNTEERS.]
ambition, consequently friction developed between him and his rival highly detrimental to the service to which each owed his best thought, his best endeavor.
Conditions in Indian Territory, at the time Steele took command, were conceivably the worst that could by any possibility be imagined. The land had been stripped of its supplies, the troops were scarcely worthy of the name. Around Fort Smith, in Arkansas, things were equally bad. People were clamoring for protection against marauders, some were wanting only the opportunity to move themselves and their effects far away out of the reach of danger, others were demanding that the unionists be cleaned out just as secessionists had, in some cases, been. Confusion worse confounded prevailed. Hindman had resorted to a system of almost wholesale furloughing to save expense. Most of the Indians had taken advantage of it and were off duty when Steele arrived. Many had preferred to subsist at government cost. There was so little in their own homes for them to get. Forage was practically non-existent and Steele soon had it impressed  upon him that troops in the Indian Territory ought, as Hindman had come to think months before, to be all unmounted.
Although fully realizing that it was incumbent upon him to hold Fort Smith as a sort of key to his entire command, Steele knew it would be impossible to
[Footnote 696: It might as well be said, at the outset, that Cooper was not the ranking officer of Steele. He claimed that he was [Official Records, vol. xxii, part ii, 1037-1038]; but the government disallowed the contention [Ibid., 1038].]