Colonel Phillips will reach Fort Gibson to-day. I have directed him to run the salt-works on Illinois River, which I learn are in good condition, and will afford an abundant supply of salt for my whole command and the people of the Indian country.
The loyal Indians are in fine spirits as to their future prospects. Two of the Rosses, nephews of Chief John Ross, came into camp yesterday. One of them left Little Rock about the 1st instant. He reports that after Rains was driven back from Huntsville across the mountains he was superseded in command by Hindman, and the force augmented, by the arrival of troops from Little Rock, to 20,000.
Holmes, with another column of 25,000, he reports as moving east of Hindman, and both appear to be moving against General Steele. He reports that Joe Johnston arrived at Little Rock about the time he left. Only about 1,700 troops were at Little Rock. Mr. Ross is a reliable man.
I shall move about the 11th to Flint Creek, 10 miles south, to obtain forage. Thence I will move to Cincinnati and send the Indians into the Indian Territory, unless I obtain orders to the contrary.
I am manufacturing sufficient flour for the command, and received a large train of commissary stores from Fort Scott yesterday. My arrangements are now ample to subsist my command as far south as Fort Smith, where I hope to be permitted to go as soon as it is thought expedient to do so. This, however, must depend upon the movements of yourself and General Steele, as it will not do for me to go too far in advance of your columns and suffer myself to be flanked and my line of communication cut off.
There are a great many Union citizens in this locality. Of such I am buying all their wheat, forage, and beef cattle, and sending them north with my empty trains. The wheat, forage, and beef cattle of the rebels I confiscate, and let them go where they please. It is very certain that this country will afford short living for a bushwhacker when I leave it.
The Indian regiments are fast falling up with recruits. The Union people in this vicinity are desirous of organizing a cavalry company for the Federal service. Such a company would be of valuable service to me as scouts and guides. Will you please ask General Curtis to give me authority to muster such a company into service?
Two days since I sent a reconnoitering party of 200 men east of Huntsville; I have not yet heard from them. I have sent Colonel Cloud to Cane Hill, where it is represented 1,000 rebels are encamped manufacturing flour.
I will communicate with you often, if I can be apprised of your locality.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
JAS. G. BLUNT,
Saint Louis, November 10, 1862-6 p. m.
Brigadier-General STEELE, Pilot Knob:
You are to co-operate with movements ordered by General Halleck in person. The troops nearest the river are taken for celerity. I will try to get your old command with you as soon as I can safely. I want to