ward was begun by the entire force near Red River left under my command as soon as the condition of the road, &c., would permit. Speight's brigade, together with West's battery (this being the only reliable battery then under my control), was ordered to Louisiana, after being some days on the march northward.
Notwithstanding this sudden and important depletion of my effective strength, I determined to make every effort to hold the line of the Arkansas, and, if possible, by means of a superior numerical force of cavalry operating upon the enemy's rear, compel him to abandon his hold on the north bank of that stream, at Fort Gibson, a point which he had strongly fortified and garrisoned with from 2,500 to 3,500 troops.
General Cooper, in conformity with my orders, moved forward with his brigade, consisting of two regiments of Texas cavalry (De Morse's and Martin's), with the bulk of the Indian troops, and a battery of three mountain howitzers and one small prairie rifle gun, to the vicinity of Fort Scott and other depots to the northward, I made such dispositions as I flattered myself would effectually cut off supplies and re-enforcements. Cabell's brigade, which had been placed under my command a short time before, was moved forward to Fayetteville, with the design of operating upon the rear and lines of communication from that quarter, whilst General Cooper was instructed to avoid a general action, and operate with his available cavalry from the west. Attempts to effect this object were accordingly made. With the conduct and results of these expeditions I was wholly unsatisfied. The failure of the first expedition, under Colonel McIntosh, sent by General Cooper, was attributable, in my judgment, to the command of the expedition devolving upon in Indian officer, deficient in energy and capacity, and who did not enjoy the confidence of the white troops under his command.
A second expedition, under Colonel Stand Watie, was sent to the west of Grand River and in rear of Fort Gibson, with the view of attacking a large train of the enemy and a number of re-enforcements, known to be en route for Gibson. General Cabell was ordered to co-operate in this movement, by way of Fayetteville. Colonel Stand Watie came up with the enemy's train and made an attack upon it. He was, however, able to accomplish little, owing to the failure of a junction of the forces under Cabell and others sent to his assistance by General Cooper. General Cabell's failure and that of the forces sent by Cooper to form this junction, as assigned, were officially ascribed to high waters intersecting their line of march.
The enemy having thus succeeded in getting into Gibson considerable re-enforcements and a quantity of supplies, assumed the offensive from that base of operations. An attack was made by General Blunt, commanding the Federal forces, on General Cooper, then encamped at Honey Springs, who, with twenty-four hours' notice of the enemy's approach, and with the knowledge that re-enforcements were en route to join him, gave battle upon the ground he occupied, and, having taken to steps to strengthen his position, was driven from it, after a short contest, with the loss of one howitzer and about 200 men in killed, wounded, and captured. General Blunt did not pursue, but contented himself with destroying some flour and a few broken wagons, &c. This battle was fought on the 17th July, the best portion of Cabell's brigade, with all of his artillery, being within hearing of the cannon and en route for the scene