AUGUST 26, 1863.- Skirmish at Perryville, Ind. T.
Numbers 1.- Major General James G. Blunt, U. S. Army, including operations from August 22.
Numbers 2.- Colonel William F. Cloud, Second Kansas Cavalry.
Numbers 3.- Brigadier General William Steele, C. S. Army.
Numbers 1. Report of Major General James G. Blunt, U. S. Army, including operations from August 22.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE FRONTIER,
Perryville, Choctaw Nation, August 27, 1863.
GENERAL: On the evening of the 22nd instant, I crossed the Arkansas River with a force of near 4,500, for the purpose of attacking Steele, who had concentrated all the forces of Cabell, Cooper, and Stand Watie, numbering about 9,000, on the south side of the Canadian, 60 miles from Fort Blunt. After a march of 60 miles in forty-eight hours, I came to the point where they had been encamped, and learned that they had divided their forces and commenced to retreat twenty-four hours before my arrival, Cabell, with 3,000 men, going to Fort Smith, McIntosh, with the Creeks, going west, on the headwaters of the Canadian, and Steele, Cooper, and Stand Watie to Red River.
At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 25th, I learned from my scouts that the latter force, of about 5,000, was encamped 20 miles south, on the Texas road, and immediately moved in pursuit, with all cavalry and light artillery in advance. About 10 o'clock the advance guard met (in the timber) a company of Choctaws, who had been sent out to watch our movements. Four of their men were killed and their captain taken prisoner. From him I learned that he belonged to a new regiment of Choctaws, who had arrive from Red River the day previous (800 strong). During the after part of the day the advance several times came upon the enemy's rear guard. About 8 p. m. the advance guard came upon the town of Perryville, which is closely surrounded with timber, when they were fired upon from two howitzers charged with canister, and 4 of them wounded.
I now dismounted the Sixth Kansas and deployed them to the right and left of the road, and advanced through the timber to within 300 yards of the barricades erected by the enemy, when a dozen shells from our howitzers made them leave in haste. The main portion of the enemy, with their transportation, were several miles in advance, with their stock on good order and comparatively fresh, while had made a march of 40 miles with stock in bad condition and completely exhausted. I therefore considered farther pursuit through a rough and timbered county in the night entirely futile.
On entering the town I learned the force there was a strong rear guard, with two howitzers, who were endeavoring to remove and destroy their commissaries stores, which they had not time to accomplish. This was a regular military post and an important depot, being the only point between Boggy Depot and North Fort Town. As nearly every building contained Government stores, I directed the burning of the
* See also General Schofield's report, p. 12.