you, and thereby obtained permission to enlist in this brigade,had reached Gibson; that they had been at the agency examining that ford, &c. Believing there was a probability that attack might be made upon me before General Cabell arrived, whose movements were known to these spies, or at all events that a heavy scout might be sent across to capture the pickets on the Arkansas, I directed their concentration on Coody's Creek, with instructions to send vedettes to the different fords.
Early on the 16th ultimo, information reached me that the Federals were crossing in force at the Creek Agency. Colonel Tandy Walker, commanding First Cherokee and Choctaw Regiment, and Captain [L. E.] Gillett, commanding squadron Texas cavalry, with their commands, accompanied by Lieutenant [T. B.] Heiston, aide-de-camp and acting assistant adjutant-general, were ordered out in the direction of the Chimney Mountain, were the roads to Creek Agency and to Gibson intersect, with orders to send out small parties of observation on both roads and to withdraw the pickets from Coody's Creek. Up to this time I had been unable to determine whether the force which crossed at the Creek Agency was merely a heavy scout or the advance of the main body of the enemy. About 200 or 300 had been reported moving from the Creek Agency down the river toward Nevins' and Rabbit Fords, near Frozen Rock, to capture or drive off our pickets, who were supposed, no doubt, still to be there.
About daylight on the morning of the 17th, the advance of the enemy came in sight of the position occupied by the Choctaws and Texans; commenced a brisk fire upon them, which was returned and followed by a charge, which drove the enemy back upon the main column. Lieutenant Heiston reported the morning cloudy and damp, many of the guns failing to fire in consequence of the very inferior quality of the powder, the cartridges becoming worthless even upon exposure to damp atmosphere. Soon after the Federals had been driven back, it commenced raining heavily, which rendered their arms wholly useless. These troops then fell back slowly and in good order to camp, for the purpose of obtaining a fresh supply of ammunition and preparing for the impending fight. A few remained with Lieutenant Heiston at Prairie Mountain, about 3 miles north oh camp on the Gibson road, and were so disposed as to create the impression on the enemy that a large force was there awaiting them. Accordingly, their advance halted until the main body came up and formed in line of battle, thus affording my aide opportunity to from an estimate of their strength. He reported their force to be probably 4,000, which I found nearly correct, though some 500 under the mark. After ascertaining that the enemy were advancing in force, orders were issued to the officers commanding corps to prepare for immediate action and take their positions, all which had been, in anticipation of an attack, previously defined by General Orders, Numbers 25, to copy of which, marked A, herewith, reference is made. Captain [R. W.] Lee's light battery had been moved up on the Gibson road the evening previous, intending it to go with the scout under Colonel Walker, but, owing to some misunderstanding or neglect in delivering Walker, but, owing to some misunderstanding or neglect in delivering the order, the scout left without it. Colonel [T. C.] Bass, with his regiment, was ordered forward to support Lee's battery. [John] Scanland's squadron and Gillett's squadron were directed to support the creeks at the upper crossing of Elk Creek, and Colonel Walker to hold his regiment in reserve at their camp near Honey Springs, sending pickets out on the road across the mountain in the direction of Prairie Springs. Having made these arrangements, I rode forward to the poi