War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0165 Chapter XXX. SKIRMISH NEAR HELENA, ARK.

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DECEMBER 21 - 23, 1862. - Expedition from Fayetteville to Huntsville, Ark.

Report of Lieutenant Colonel James Stuart, Tenth Illinois Cavalry.

HEADQUARTERS TENTH ILLINOIS CAVALRY,

Fayetteville, Ark., December 23, 1862.

COLONEL: In obedience to your orders of the 21st instant, I proceeded, in command of detachments of the First Arkansas Cavalry, Eighth Missouri Cavalry, and Tenth Illinois Cavalry, to Huntsville, Ark., to attack a party of the enemy reported in that locality. On arriving at that point a little after daybreak on the morning of the 22nd, I found the enemy, 150 strong, had been in there all night of the 18th, and committed depredations on all the Union families in that vicinity, more especially that of Judge Murphy, the ladies of whose family they stripped of everything but what was on their bodies, leaving them in a destitute condition. After leaving Huntsville some of them proceeded down the War Eagle Creek, others toward Carrollton, scattering all through the country in small parties of twos and threes. I caught 15 stragglers from the rebel army and paroled them; they had all left the army immediately after the battle of Prairie Grove.

I would likewise beg to state, for the information of the general commanding, that the road leading through the mountains from Ozark, Van Buren, and Clarksville passes direct through Huntsville, and from Huntsville leading north there is one road which strikes the Wire road at Mud Town, one at Cross Hollows, one at Elk Horn, one at Keytesville, Mo., and one at Cassville, Mo., making five different roads which a rebel party might choose from on arriving at Huntsville if they desired to molest our line of communication with Springfield, Mo., and from inquiry I find that each of the points mentioned is as near to them from Huntsville as it is to us at Fayetteville. Consequently the necessity, in my opinion, of having a strong force of cavalry stationed at that point, as there is no other route the enemy can cross the Boston Mountains until they get about 100 miles east of that gap.

I would likewise state that forage is plentiful in that vicinity.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES STUART,

Lieutenant-Colonel Tenth Illinois Cavalry, Commanding Expedition.

DECEMBER 23, 1862. - Skirmish on the Saint Francis road, near Helena, Ark.

Report of Brigadier General Willis A. Gorman, U. S. Army.

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,

Helena, Ark., December 23, 1862.

The enemy's cavalry attacked and ambushed our outpost picket on the Saint Francis road, and killed 2 and wounded 16, captured none. We pursued them at once, and so closely that they only escaped by scattering in all directions through the wood. The boldness of the Texas cavalry is becoming highly important, and if I send 2,000