that were laid up at the wharf. We have over 50 six-mule teams taken; 250 head of fine cattle, and a large number of horses, & c. The camp equipage was all destroyed, and the wagons loaded with Government sugar and brought with us. The telegraph operator, instruments, and official dispatches of Hindman were taken. I will send the telegrams to you; they are a curiosity.
Hindman's whole force was encamped within 5 miles, on the south bank of the river. They at once evacuated Fort Smith; destroyed all their stores on hand and burned two steamboats, and traveled, leaving 4,000 sick in a very destitute condition. The divisions of Frost, Shoup, Roane, and Fagan retreated in great confusion, each one taking the first road they came to, and without any plan for concentrating. They are demoralized and broken up, and I think this section is rid of Hindman. My opinion is they will go to Marshfield, in Texas, and cross over to Vicksburg. I also think Little Rock will be abandoned, and a new demonstration will cause them to abandon the whole line of the Arkansas River. I would like to be at Helena with a good division just at this time, and have a chance to operate. We cannot subsist on the river until the mouth is opened, there being nothing above Little Rock. Hindman has told the people on the river that all was well; that it was an impossibility for us to cross the mountains; that, if we did, he would never let one man get back, & c. This demonstration has done more to demoralize the army, to create a distrust in the leaders, and to satisfy the people that we can accomplish what we undertake, than anything done in this quarter. They are ready and willing to give it up.
The march down and back was terrible. We crossed the mountains in the night, and was more of a contract than I had yet got. It required 12 horses to draw the artillery over, and sometimes 50 men on a rope, in addition. The feat, however, was accomplished without losing anything.
I left Van Buren at 7 o'clock on the evening of the 29th, and met General Schofield 10 miles north of that place. He returned to Prairie Grove without visiting Van Buren, and to-day assumed command of the army. General Blunt returned to Rhea's Mills, and I am still at Prairie Grove.
I sent you to-day a Fort Smith paper, containing a flattering notice of Judge Tibbetts, of Fayetteville, and the obituary of Governor Claib. [F.] Jackson.
The army is in excellent health and condition, but need shoes badly. Somehow they cannot be had.
Hoping that one little column of your forces have wound up the year in a manner to suit you, I remain, very truly, yours,
F. J. HERRON.
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.
Numbers 4. Report of Major Charles Banzhaf, First Missouri Cavalry.
HDQRS. SECOND BATTALION, FIRST MISSOURI CAVALRY,
Fayetteville, Ark., January 2, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you herewith the particulars of the operations of Company E, First Missouri Cavalry, under command of Captain Irving W. Fuller, at Van Buren, on Sunday, December 28, 1862.