was ordered by General Blunt to Neosho. It was on the route of supply from Fort Scott, which was then partially guarded. Major Foreman is still there with his force (see reports). He moved down a number of Cherokee families from the Drywood,and Neosho, which had been partially abandoned, is densely peopled. The bulk of the Cherokee people are still in the Nation. Since our recent movements, and since the rebels were driven toward the Canadian River, many rebel families have fled with them and after them, to escape starvation.
There is not to-day half enough food to do the people now in the Nation. I am running Hildebrand's Mill, and when I get some flour and meal shall send it to Tahlequah, Park Hill, and Fort Gibson, to prevent the people now in want from starving. I shall send 400 men with the party the moment I can spare them,and this party, besides escorting and delivering the breadstuffs,can keep the enemy over the river. The opening season comes early in the Indian Nation. To escape drought, planting should begin in March. The Nation is nearly destitute of seed; the Government or the charitable should supply it early, or all this people will be dependent on us another year. I beg leave to submit my own plan, and it may be of service should I be superseded by another. It is to have at least 200 or 300 wagons with supplies ready at Fort Scott at the close of February, so that the command, refugees and all, should move forward rapidly in a few days to Fort Gibson. Besides seed for the people, the train should carry commissaries' [stores] and ammunition for the whole command for at least forty days, with some surplus rations to issue to the destitute and to the soldiers to be brought over from the rebel ranks, the Choctaws and Creeks, under McIntosh. With such supplies and a rapid movement, the country could be occupied in early spring. There are plenty of beef-cattle in the valley of the Arkansas. The train bring supplies, and in the mean time enough could be done to thoroughly redeem the Nation.
I disapprove of covering more country then we can hold, or of inviting people to show their devotion to the Government until we can protect them from the consequences of such manifestation.
I am ordered to draw my supplies from Fort Scott. The line can be maintained, but will require some force to sustain it. Besides the Cherokee Nation, the Creek Nation is destitute of seed; seeds of all kind will be needed. The families at Neosho and the Creek families in Kansas will need transportation to move them into the Nation. Unless the Government makes up its mind to subsist them another year, they ought to be sent home early.
All of which I submit, with profound respect.
WM. A. PHILIPS,
Colonel, Commanding Third Brigade, Army of the Frontier.
[Inclosure No. 3.] HDQRS. 3rd Brigadier, 1ST DIV., ARMY OF THE FRONTIER, Camp Curtis, Ark., January 19, 1863.
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
SIR: I desire to report in reference to certain negotiations with persons now in the rebel service in the Indian Nation. During my expedition at the close of the year, I crossed the Arkansas River and burned Ford Davis, and opened negotiations with Colonel McIntosh and the rebel Creeks, and also the rebel Choctaws. I did so because I ascertained