General Schofield and Brown, entered Huntsville, having evidently learned the exact whereabouts of General Rains' late camp. Their advance was resisted by Shelby's brigade, several killed, and General Schofield's cook captured. He has been sent to your headquarters. Shelby fell back about 4 miles and prepared to fight, but that night the enemy was seized with a panic and retreated rapidly toward Holcomb's.
Colonel McRae's brigade of Arkansas infantry, with Woodruff's battery, about 2,500 strong, encamped 12 miles south of me on the 22nd.
On the 26th I ordered Brigadier-General Parsons to move with all his effective force from Yellville to my camp. I had previously notified him to accumulate supplies, so as to be in readiness for that movement.
On the same day I moved toward Fayetteville, intending to take position at McGuire's Store, which would enable me to get subsistence and forage for a few days, there being considerable wheat and forage and two mills in that vicinity. That position also covers the Frog Bayou road from Fayetteville to Van Buren. I had previously concentrated Marmaduke's cavalry division at McGuire's, and posted Carroll's (Arkansas) cavalry regiment at Huntsville to mask Parsons' movement and protect my right.
When within 5 miles of McGuire's General Marmaduke notified me that he was then engaging the enemy, who were advancing upon the position and immediately in person went forward toward McGuire's.
In the mean time the cavalry had been driven back about 3 miles by a largely superior force, and the enemy, still threatening it in front, was evidently attempting to cut off its retreat, moving strong bodies of troops of all arms upon its right toward Huntsville and its left upon a by-road that leads from Frog Bayou road into the Fayetteville and Ozark road in rear of the position it held, and, in fact, in rear of the position at which I had posted the infantry. There was not time for the infantry to move up, and if there had been, the ammunition for one brigade was yet a day's march in rear, and I had subsistence only for one day at half rations. The mills which I had hoped to get int possession were lost to me when the enemy reached McGuire's. If I had moved forward, or even remained where I was, it was evident the whole command would be exposed precisely as the cavalry was exposed. I could not reasonably hope to make a stand successfully beyond the point where the Huntsville and Fayetteville roads converge. I could not even remain there because of the utter lack of supplies. Even if supplies had reached me and I had remained at this last position, Fort Smith, Van Buren, and the entire Indian country would be wholly at the mercy of the enemy. I therefore ordered Marmaduke's cavalry division, guided by reliable citizens, to move rapidly across the mountains upon the shortest route, without baggage, and take position in front of Van Buren and Fort Smith, to resist any advance of the enemy. The trains I started upon the Fayetteville and Ozark road, and followed after with the infantry and artillery, marching as rapidly as the difficult mountain roads would allow, with the intention to get in the enemy's front south of the mountains, as I had failed to do so above. That intention is now carried out. I am in camp on the telegraph road from Clarksville to Van Buren at the crossing of the Mulberry River, 26 miles from Fort Smith, 22 miles south of Van Buren, with a
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