MAY 20, 1863.-Action near Fort Gibson, Ind. T.
Report of Colonel William A. Phillips, Third Indian Home Guard.
HDQR. S INDIAN TERRITORY AND WESTERN ARKANSAS,
Fort Blunt, C. N., May 22, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report to you a somewhat severe engagement with the enemy on the 20th instant.
I had 800 mounted men guarding my supply line to cover approaching trains, when the enemy in the night crossed the Arkansas River with the five regiments, going on a mountain road. A scout I had sent, failing to do his duty, left that road unwatched, and they approached within 5 miles of me, getting me on the left flank. They were, however, afraid to attack me in the works, and, taking a strong position on the maintains on the south, 5 miles distant and close to the Arkansas River, tried to cut off the stock. As all had been reported quiet for 20 miles in all directions this side of the river, the stock was, therefore, being sent out to graze, when the enemy pounced upon it. Sending all the mounted men I could raise, the larger part of the stock was taken from them. The Creek regiment refused to charge, or it could all have been saved. I sent forward Majors [J. A.] Foreman, Wright, and Pomeroy, with all the present available force, and as rapidly as possible moved everything within the works. The enemy, being strongly posted 5 miles distant, drove back Major Foreman and the others for some distance, although the ground was hotly contested. Captain [N. B.] Lucas, of the Sixth Kansas, was nearly surrounded, as was Captain [Henry S.] Anderson, of the Third Indian, but they gallantly cut their way through.
Leaving Colonel [Gorge] Dole with a strong command, and most of my artillery, behind the works, I moved rapidly forward with two battalions of Indian infantry and a section of Hopkins' battery, under Lieutenant [B. S.] Bassett. Leaving one battalion as reserve, I supported the forces already in front, and soon drove the enemy into the woods. Here they contested the ground for a short time, but they were pushed over the mountain and rapidly driven in complete rout to Webber's Falls, where they crossed the Arkansas River. As we were following the enemy up the mountain, I learned that the enemy, with two 6-pounder field-pieces and one 12-pounder howitzer, were trying to cross Arkansas River 2 miles from Gibson. Leaving the mounted men to follow the retreating enemy, I took my infantry and two guns down to the river, and found that the enemy, although in considerable numbers on the opposite bank, were only making a feint. Desiring to dismount their artillery, I immediately opened on them, but they rapidly withdrew their guns and fell back.
The battle was a very severe one while it lasted, as I could only bring a portion of my forces to bear. My loss in killed is upward of 20-probably 25 or 26, as some are missing-and about half that number wounded. I understand that the enemy's loss is much more severe . We lost no officers. The rebels had 1 major killed. On the field, there were Colonel [J. T.] Coffee (with Missouri and Arkansas troops), Major Bryan, Colonels D. N. and Chilly McIntosh, each with a regiment; Colonel Adair's regiment, and a Choctaw regiment.
Only one battalion of Texans came over, as the remainder (infantry) staid with the artillery across the river, with the design of crossing the short way if we were pressed back.
Yesterday the enemy kept up a heavy cannonade until dark over the
22 R-VOL XXII, PT I