War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0223 Chapter XXV. SCOUT FROM OZARK TO FORSYTH, MO.

Search Civil War Official Records

tance. He stopped with secesh, and got intelligence from several sources, which, though not corresponding in detail, I think is in the main correct.

Campbell is reported as gathering forces in the vicinity of Berryville, Ark., and now has from 150 to 400 men.

Colonel Lawther's forces have moved into the neighborhood of Carrollton, Ark., and are gathering arms. The colonel has not bee hard of since the engagement. The report is current among the secesh at Forsyth that they are gathering forces to attack this post, and that they will number a thousand. I do not think we will be attacked for several days, if at all, but will be wary and in constant readiness.

I shall send a spy to Berryville, Ark., to-day, and one to Sugar-Loaf Prairie, on White River, 40 miles below Forsyth, where I understand two companies rendezvous. Upon their return, if the circumstances will permit, I shall fall upon some of the enemy by night marches, and try to scatter them before they are fully organized.

Deeming it imprudent to go beyond Forsyth with my command until I knew the exact position and force of the enemy, and whether this post was in danger of attack, I changed my plan of movement and marched westward, along the White River, in order to cut off any movement that might be made toward Ozark from Berryville by the enemy.

We proceeded some 10 miles along the river, when I discovered a small party (across the river) of the enemy. I ordered a detachment across, which gave chase, but could not come up with them, as their horses were fresh and ours jaded. They wounded one of them, which caused him to lose his gun and hat, but his horse carried him into the hills after the others. He clung to the saddle as thought he was mortally wounded. They struck into the hills toward Laten's Mills, where I learn Boler has a band of horse-thieves, numbering some 50 men. A few miles beyond, at the mouth of Roark Creek, the advance guard was fired on by a party of 5 men, who belonged to Boler's command. The guard returned the fire, when they scattered and ran, throwing their guns away, so that they would not be taken in arms. We killed 2 of their number. The other 3 escaped. We encamped on the Roark, about 30 miles west of south from this place.

On the morning of August 9 we started for Ozark at 3 o'clock and arrived here at 4 p. m.

We took from the active enemy on this scout 14 head of horses and mules, 1 Colt's revolver, and 1 rifle, an inventory of which is hereto attached.

I would also call the attention of the general in command to the fact that (as far as I have been able to learn) no one in the region of White River observes the oath they have taken. They think they are under the protection of the enemy and eel no moral obligation to observe their oath.

I have caused temporary breastworks to be thrown across the roads of this place and have taken quarters for my whole command in the vacant houses about the square. The breastworks merely answer the purpose of breaking a charge made by the enemy and give me time to take an advantageous position with my command. I do not fear a force of 1,000, such as will probably be brought against us.

I am, major, with much respect, your obedient servant,

J. C. WILBER,

Major, Commanding.

Major JAMES H. STEGER, A. A. G., Southwestern Division.