I directed Colonel Harrison to send another scout to Clarksville, as also secret spies into the place. I expected to hear from there are this. I desired to know if Marmaduke's cavalry division had gone round there from White River, or where it was, as it behooves me to watch and know its movements.
The necessity of gathering food and forage for the Nation from a long range calls for a distribution of my force. I have force enough to meet Marmaduke, if I have my command together.
The post at Neosho guards my line of transportation and protects the refugee Cherokee families. I had to re-enforce the post with another company of the same regiment, as [Congreve] Jackson and [T. R.] Livingston were getting troublesome in that country.
There is great destitution in the Nation. My transportation is inadequate, and every time a train goes down into the Nation with flour or meal there are hundreds of hungry persons who have been waiting for days. All the breadstuffs I send are of flour and meal made in Arkansas, or hauled from Western Arkansas into the Nation to grind. Account of it is properly kept, and Judge Keys and Judge Thom, together with Rev. Evan Jones, the able and venerable missionary, attend to disbursements. The first was 10 pounds per head; the second and third, 8 pounds. I do not yet know the last pro ratas. I start my supply train to Fort Scott to-day. If the other 200 wagons are sent back to the line, I could take fifty days' rations for my command, and one new regiment, if raised, and I propose to occupy the Arkansas River and penetrate beyond it by the 1st of March.
I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST-MARSHAL,
SEVENTH DISTRICT, NORTHWESTERN DIVISION,
Smithton, Worth County, Mo., February 12, 1863.
Major- General CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.:
DEAR SIR: The great anxiety I have for the restoration and perpetuity of our once happy country is the only excuse I have for again presuming to address you. I will not be tedious.
Cool deliberation and observation prove to us beyond doubt that our liberties, and the cause we fight to sustain, are eminently endangered by leading military men affiliating with sympathizers, and winking at their fiendish opposition to the Government. Persons from abroad are traveling through these upper counties by night, organizing Knights of the Golden Circle. One of those travelers became drunk, and fell into the hands of our unconditional Union men, who were initiated and let into the secret plans of operation, the most important of which was that there were 800 guns for Jeff. Davis' use, they would do it.
As Colonel Manlove Cranor and Lieutenant Colonel J. W. Curry, of Gentry County regiment, have declared boldly their opposition to the Administration and the war, it is believed that they, too, are Knights. Lieutenant-Colonel Cranor denounces us as unconditional negroes, and does all he dare do to encourage rebels and dishearten Union men. Our people call for a change. We are oppressed and discouraged, and cannot carry out your orders under the present rule. If the present going of things is not