nelle. General Hindman sent a force there as picket, as it was reported in their camp that we were going to march down the other way. General Hindman has been relieved from command; General Johnston, of Mississippi, takes his place, and was to reach Van Buren on Tuesday last. Two steamboat loads of corn came up last week. A number of other boats are expected, and the troops at Little Rock with General Holmes, computed at 8,000 strong, have been ordered up, and were expected yesterday or the day before. A part of the enemy's force crossed the river after the battle of Prairie Grove, but were recrossing to Van Buren on Saturday and Sunday, and were all to go over; whether for an attack on you or to resist an expected attack, I cannot say. The former is the report. They are said to be going back again. The forces of General Cooper have been reorganized and partly clothed. General McIntosh is up the Arkansas, about 20 miles above this, with his regiment and 200 Osages. He refused to obey General Cooper's orders to join him on the march to Cane Hill before the battle of Prairie Grove.
Cooper has Worten's [Watie's] regiment, said to be 600 strong. It is scattered over the Nation in parties, the largest of which is under Lieutenant-Colonel [R. C.] Parks. We were hunting it all day yesterday. Bryan's battalion is 20 miles below this. Scamlan's [Scanland's] regiment [company] (Texas) is at Scullyville, with Cooper. Some Choctaws and part of the other Creek regiments are somewhere on Lee's Creek, or down there. Livingston, with some Indian forces, is at Webber's. The Arkansas is not fordable. There are a number of ferries near here, at Gibson; poor things; take one or two days to cross. A battalion of 120 men, with four teams, started from Cooper's quarters to go up Grand River to get that salt kettles at Bryant's Lick, to haul them over Arkansas. They were to cross over this morning. I fear they will have alarm, although I have all the fords or ferries within 10 miles guarded. The scattered condition of the enemy, the rain, swollen condition of streams, and scarcity of forage renders it extremely difficulty to carry out the order to clear the enemy out of the country, but I will try. As to moving, families without number wish to leave, but I have no transportation for them. I must move toward Webber's to feel for the enemy, who may concentrate there. Colonel Watie has taken all the horses and wagons and wagons out of the country, and the order "to assist those who want to leave" I find it difficult to do, for want of wagons. I may get some, but deem it hardly expedient to cross the Arkansas in its present state with little low ferry-boats, until I know what I am doing or hear again from Van Buren.
Very respectfully, yours,
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
CAMP OPPOSITE VAN BUREN,
December 25, 1862.
The First Division got here on the day before yesterday. Boyd and Harding got in yesterday. We are all right. Jeff. Thompson is at Doniphan. Twenty-five of his men attacked my train yesterday within 3 miles of camp, just below Carter's. They got 2 men and killed 1 horse. We chased them 9 miles, but failed to catch them. They are all around us. We need more cavalry to protect our flanks. The supply trains are on the road to Patterson.