War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0605 Chapter XXXIV. ACTION AT DEVIL'S BACKBONE, ARK.

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there we went to Honey Springs' remained a short time, and fell back to Soda Springs. Remained there a few days, when I was ordered to move to the east side of the Canadian, at old Camp Pike. The next day, it having been reported that the enemy were crossing the Arkansas in large force, General Steele, with General Cooper's command, joined me on the march to Camp Pike. I remained there a few days, and on the 12th of August I left and took a position, by General Steele's direction, on the Saint Bois, where the Beale road crosses that stream, about 15 miles distant. Up to this date nearly all of Hill's regiment, a large number of Thomson's regiment, and nearly all of Hill's regiment, and nearly all of Crawford's battalion have deserted. Morgan's regiment was garrisoning Fort Smith, and, although a part of my brigade had always been kept detached by General Steele, and was never, up to that time, in the field with me while at the San Bois, after remaining about a week at the San Bois, I received an order from General Steele to move to Scullyville, and to concentrate, as far as possible, my brigade there, to resist the enemy should he advance on me, and, if compelled to fall back, to take the road leading to Riddle's Station, where there was a commissary dept. I obeyed these orders strictly; moved to Scullyville, and encamped within 3 miles of it, as there was neither water nor grass nearer than that distance.

On the 21st [of August] I received an order from General Steele directing me to assume the direction of affairs in my (your) vicinity, and ascertain, if possible, the strength of the enemy in Northwestern Arkansas. As it was impossible to get a position, on account of the scarcity of water and grass, near Scullyville, I concentrated all my troops at McLean's Crossing of the Poteau, 9 miles southwest of Fort Smith, and about 8 miles from Scullyville, on the middle road. I there made preparations to hold that place. After sending a command to Northwestern Arkansas, as ordered, I blocked up the fords and roads above my position, and also the bottom road leading to Fort Smith. Leaving one regiment on picket in advance of Scullyville (as water could not be had sufficient for any greater number), to picket the roads leading to Fort Smith, I went to Fort Smith and found all the public property there. I also learned that there was a train of wagons loaded with ammunition for General Steele's ordnance officer at Dardanelle. I immediately sent an escort for it, and ordered it to Waldron, Scott County.

On the morning of the 22nd, I received a note from General Steele stating that the enemy was advancing on him in heavy force. I notified General Steele of the position I had taken on the Poteau, and after receiving his approval of the same, I made preparations to protect and send off the public property of every description at Fort Smith. I had all the ordnance of every description, all the tools and materials of every description, all the quartermaster's and commissary property of every description that I could find or hear of loaded up and placed in a position of safety. My attention was also directed to gathering up my men as much as possible and scouting in the rear of the enemy, as directed.

On the evening of the 28th of August, I received a letter from Captain J. H. Hunter, acting commissary of subsistence, inclosing a letter from General Steele, dated 16th (evidently intended for the 26th of August), and was no doubt written from Gaines' Creek, stating that the enemy was following him, and that I must keep out scouts on both sides of the river. This I did as directed. Kept out heavy scouts on both sides of the river, and sent scouts daily 25 miles in advance of Scullyville, beyond the San Bois. The enemy, after having followed General Steele to Perryville, returned to Camp Pike with the greater portion of their command.