Pike's Peak. These bands are quite numerous and active in running about through the country, but are not doing much active harm.
I have a post at Cassville, at Newtonia, and at Neosho upon my south line, and with the force now at this place will endeavor to maintain the peace and quiet of the district.
From a flag of truce just in from Fayetteville, where they had gone after the sick and wounded left there upon the retreat of Colonel Harrison, I learn that the enemy have only about 400 or 500 men in all Northern Arkansas, who are scattered about through several counties.
Cabell is at Fort Smith, and, as far as I can learn from my scouts and travelers, I do not think that there are other forces this side the Arkansas, except those who may be with Price in the eastern part of the State.
The forces in the district are not sufficient in numbers, or well enough supplied with horses, to enable me to patrol to any great extent in Arkansas, nor east of Forsyth. If it is expected of me to scout down the White River, I wish to be informed of the same; also of the fact if Price is threatening Missouri.
The enemy here are basing their hopes upon Price's coming, which, in turn, depends upon the abandonment of the siege of Vicksburg by our forces.
permit me, after congratulating you upon your appointment to the command of the department, to state that I shall take great pleasure in the performance of any duty to which I may be ordered.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. F. CLOUD,
Commanding Department of the Missouri.
MAY 23-26, 1863.-Expedition from Helena to near Napoleon, Ark., and skirmish near Island Numbers 65, Mississippi River.
Report of Major General Benjamin M. Prentiss, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., May 27, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that on the 23rd instant I sent the steamboat Pike down the river for the purpose of obtaining recruits for the Second Regiment Arkansas Volunteers, of African descent, under command of Lieutenant Colonel George W. De Costa, of that regiment, with detachments of the First Indiana Cavalry and Thirty-sixth Iowa Infantry, and 25 men of the Second Arkansas Regiment, with one howitzer.
The expedition proceeded down the river, on the Arkansas side, to a point 1 mile from Napoleon, and returned on the Mississippi side, making frequent raids into the country, in some instances to a distance of 6 or 7 miles. The conduct of both white and colored soldiers is represented by Lieutenant-Colonel De Costa as being of the most creditable character. Near Island Numbers 65 the Pike was fired into by a party of abut 150 revels. Brisk firing was kept up for some time, the enemy having two pieces of artillery, one which was silenced by the howitzer on the Pike. Captain Waters, of the Second Arkansas Regiment,