quence at present. The whole effective force is not there; is not as great as it appears on paper. I send you a consolidated report of the district. I have now one company mounted at Dripping Springs as an outpost, 12 miles from Van Buren. I have a company on the head of Lee's Creek (Indians), and Captain McCoy First Arkansas) on the Cave Creek road. I have a companies out on White River. These are outposts. I have been cleaning out the bushwhackers in this country with considerable success. Getting it clear.
I have had to watch the flank of my forces, as Marmaduke might return, perhaps with Brooks' command, in that way, as there is forage on White River. Here I have had to work all my forces hard. Forage is scarce (almost exhausted). I do not think I can get more than eight or ten days' more in Northwestern Arkansas, even by hauling it from 20 to 30 miles. Hard on the stock. My design was to move on the Arkansas River by the 5th. I would have started yesterday to the Illinois, where I have found wheat enough for twenty days' bread, but a telegram from General Curtis stopped me. I wish to urge on you the necessity of going forward immediately to the valley of the Arkansas. There will be grass enough there in ten days for ponies, and I could in a few days haul the wheat to Hildebrand's Mill. I wanted a train of 200 wagons, so that I would have five days' rations. If I cannot get them I had determined to go anyhow. The trains would bring so much; the wheat I will haul to Hildebrand's Mill will do some more, and I thought I would rather go on half rations and beef than let the enemy organize the Indians south of the river. If we do not organize them immediately the enemy will. If we had means, we could organize a Xreek and Choctaw regiment. If we do not, we must fight these men this summer. While I will be willing to attempt it, with the limited means I have, let me again appeal earnestly to you that its success to a great extent depends on our clothing them neatly, feeding them, and to some extent their starving families. After all, a little goes a great way. It is cheap recruiting. I have sent eight trains at different times into the Indian Nation this winter loaded with flour and meal I made in this country. Its effect has been most happy, in addition to its humanity. The rebels are alarmed, and are trying the same game. I intended to make a dash on their corn boats. I sent 800 men on the three boats that went up, but Colonel Harrison (against my positive instructions) sent them around 110 miles, instead of going straight through to Osage, as I imperatively ordered. T he result was that Major Wright (Second Indian), Foreman (Third Indian), and Haynes (First Arkansas) unanimously voted to come back when they got in belly- deep mud on White River. I was deeply mortified, and would have gone with the party in person, but it was utterly unwise to have the scattered forces here and at Fayetteville so long.
Let me urge you to have me authorized to go forward. I will risk it, and rather burn up my old wagons in attempting it than let the enemy get foothold in the Arkansas Valley this spring. If I have to stay here, I have no forage, and if I dump down 100 wagon- loads of commissary stores, I cannot move. I will do the best I can, but ask to be allowed to send all my train to Gibson, while I make a demonstration on the river and rake the river.
I have the honor to remain, your obedient servant,
WM. A. PHILLIPS,