always chosen one position (not defensible) in the day-time and a strong position at night. They are afraid to attack my Indian riflemen. Major Foreman has just re-enforced me, but with only half the number of men I sought. I want to strike at this camp, as I am now satisfied that it is all the chance I can have at them. Colonel Ritchie refused to send the command of the Fifth Kansas over here and has crippled me very much. I held this town at first with only 350 men and one piece of artillery. My re-enforcements I shall not enumerate, but it is not as large as might have been spared from camp. I am satisfied that the force kept on Cabin Creek by Colonel Ritchie is chiefly for recruiting purposes and to enroll them before I could enroll them in the battalion I was to raise.
There is in my judgment no danger of the camp on Spring River so long as I am here; half of its command could have been spared to me. I shall report to Colonel Weer at Carthage. Day before yesterday I sent dispatches to commander of Federal forces at Carthage and to Colonel Weer (by the place). I also sent intelligence to Colonel Wright at Mount Vernon and to the Federal commander at Springfield (General Totten, I believe). To-day I have sent Major Foreman to Newtonia, where Hays has 50 men running the mill to supply his command. The most reliable accounts of the enemy, my own observations, and that of my subordinates show that Hays is at Big Spring, 5 miles from Newtonia. Their camp last night was 16 miles distant. Colonel Coffee is this side of Pineville, directly south of this. He moved up to attack me night before last on Pool's Prairie. I was in person on the prairie that night. I led out my command at 2 o'clock in the morning and took the strongest position I could find, expecting an attack. Hays moved this way the same night. My position was very critical. I had not received the re-enforcements I sought. He concluded not to attack me and moved away, changing his camp and acting each for himself, except to co-operate for a close on me. General Rains and Colonel Coffee had a serious quarrel near Bentonville after I drove them down there from Camp Walker. Cockrell and Rains are together and were on Cowskin Prairie yesterday, but reported as moving this way. Colonel Shelby's command, that slipped through this place, 600 strong, the day after Colonel Wright left Neosho, is down somewhere near Beman Hollow, 14 miles off. Whether he intends to go into Arkansas or come back I do not know. The enemy came up the lower end of Pool's Prairie yesterday and drove off a large herd of cattle they collected. I went out and was on the prairie until 2 o'clock this morning with a scout, but he did not venture back. They got a load of ammunition day before yesterday, about 4 o'clock, at the time they marched to attack me.
Whether their design is to recruit their forces and organize an army or divert us from marching into Arkansas is a point on which I am at a loss. So long as I can hold his and send out scouts to Newtonia and generally, their road to and from Missouri is closed. My own men suffer for want of clothing, shoes, and blankets. I wish I could have the whole regiment here to get their outfit. There are eight blacksmith's shops here. The rocky roads kill my barefooted ponies.
I shall send another dispatch to Carthage and shall send you one every day.
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
Colonel, Commanding Third I. H. G.