Colonel Harrison that the force of General Hindman is approaching. I learned from Van Buren that a rebel force was expected at Clarksville the day before it got there.
It may be possible that the enemy intends to try and drive me out of Arkansas this wither, although such a movement on his part would be difficult. The roads in all Northwestern Arkansas are nearly impassable-deep mud; no subsistence, or very little, for man or beast. I am glad to report the hospital removed (except a small number that could not be moved) from Fayetteville. Part of my supply train and ambulances took the wounded and sick of the First Division, Army of the Frontier; the rest went to Springfield.
Colonel Harrison is intrenching.
The half of my command is out, and I have sent to recall it. I shall move as soon as possible in close supporting distance of Fayetteville. If the enemy moves on Fayetteville, I shall move my command to meet him. I am inclined to believe that the movement is an attempt, under cover of a heavy cavalry force, to send the eight boats, loaded with corn, to Fort Smith and Van Buren; if so, I shall endeavor to cut them off. I immediately sent to Colonel Harrison to send light scouts and spies to ascertain whether such was the fact. I also sent reliable scouts and spies from my own camp.
I learn positively that greatest distress exists at Fort Smith and Van Buren among citizens and rebel soldiers. As my scouts, in force, have touched Arkansas River every few days, from Clarksville to Fort Gibson, the enemy can send up no boats, save under a cover of a heavy force, and these, with other circumstances, have led me to suspect such a movement, rather than an attack in front from Little Rock, or on my flank from White River. Military movements look almost impossible in the present condition of the roads, but we can move if the rebels can. Besides the earthworks being thrown up at Fayetteville, I have a party fortifying on the Line road (between the Nation and Arkansas). The latter, from the Third Brigade, is merely for the protection of an outpost until I can support it. Of course, I do not expect to depend much on any fortifications I could erect or continue to occupy now. If the army of Hindman moves this way, it is extremely probable that its forage necessities may detach it from his infantry, which might afford an opportunity to attack him in detail. I still cannot believe it more than a movement up the river.
My sending supplies to the Indian Nation has exercised the rebels very much, and is rapidly destroying all their influence in that country. As they threatened to take my subsistence train, twelve wagons of flour that went down a few days ago, I sent a strong force with it, with howitzers.
I have a scout over to Canadian River. A communication was sent to some of my Indian captains by some of the officers with Colonels Watie and Bryan, proposing to take or destroy the leaders who were ruining the country, and who held them (the parties corresponding)
in fear, as they were suspected of a desire to turn over. I sent a command to the Canadian River, as I deemed the matter of considerable importance.
The Indian council or congress is still in session, and when I move
forward I shall have to leave a command to guard it.
All my wagons are out with parties getting breadstuffs and forage, and I shall have to recall them before I move in force.
With profound respect, I remain,
WM. A. PHILLIPS,