Given at headquarters, on steamboat White Cloud, at Saint Charles, Ark., this 23rd day of June, 1862.
By order of G. N. Fitch, colonel, commanding U. S. forces:
JOS. D. COWDIN,
HEADQUARTERS INDIANA BRIGADE,
On Steamboat White Cloud, White River, Ark., July 3, 1862.
SIR: About 3 a. m. of the 28th ultimo we left Montgomery's Point and ascended White River to Saint Charles. About 200 of the enemy's cavalry left that place upon our approach. In the evening a flag of truce entered our camp, the bearer bringing a communication from General Hindman, C. S. Army, a copy of which, together with my answer and papers pertaining to the subject-matter of the correspondence, is forwarded herewith.
On the 30th ultimo we reached Clarendon, being frequently fired upon during the day by guerrillas from the river bank. One man killed and 6 wounded of the Forty-third Indiana. Strong mounted parties, supposed to be Texas cavalry, were seen below and at Clarendon, who fled at our approach. At that place we tied up to examine the river, which a short distance above becomes very narrow and crooked, with sharp turns. During the examination scouting parities were sent into the interior from both sides of the river. One of the parties visited the plantations of several of the men known to be members of the guerrilla band who had fired upon us the day before, and took from them six horses and mules.
A small scouting party of infantry, mounted on transportation horses, toward evening had a skirmish with a superior number of Texas cavalry. A sergeant of Company I, Forty-sixth Indiana, one of the party, is missing. We ascertained here that Devall's Bluff, 10 miles above by land and 40 by water, is fortified with two guns, supposed to be 8-inch, and from ten to twenty smaller ones, and a force assembled there of about 6,000. On the morning of the 1st cannonading was heard in that direction, but every inquiry for thirty-six hours failed to elicit its cause. That it could have been no decisive action is certain from the fact that if the enemy had been victorious their victory would have been trumpeted in our vicinity and a knowledge of it readily obtained, while had our troops gained a victory there would have been but little difficulty, in the length of time mentioned, in communicating with them; but all efforts directed to that end did not enable us to ascertain the presence of our troops near Devall's Bluff. The gunboat Lexington ascended the river 15 or 20 miles. The result of this examination of the river was the determination expressed by Captain Shirk, in his letter to me of the 30th of June, a copy of which, together with a subsequent correspondence on the same subject, accompanies this.*
In pursuance of the determination arrived at by him we left Clarendon on the morning of the 3rd of July, descended the river a few miles, and met the Twenty-fourth Indiana, Colonel Spicely, directed but you to report to me, and the Acacia, which had left a short distance below a barge of coal, for which I immediately sent another boat.
With the force now at my disposal I shall continue efforts independent of the gunboats to pass the supplies to General Curtis or to communicate with him at least until the time mentioned in my private note to