HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF COLUMBUS,
March 9, 1863.
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn.:
I have just received the following telegram:
Saint Louis, March 9, 1863.
From information received from Bloomfield and Jerico, there is danger of an attack by 4,000 troops, under Jeff. Thompson, upon New Madrid. If it is possible, will you warn the commander of New Madrid to be on the alert?
J. W. DAVIDSON,
Brigadier-General, Commanding District of Saint Louis.
In accordance with above, I have sent information to commanding officer New Madrid, Island No. 10, and of the gunboat New Era, stating that, if needed, I would send re-enforcements at once.
COLUMBUS, March 10, 1863.
Brigadier General [J. W.] DAVIDSON,
Commanding District of Saint Louis:
Colonel D. H. Hughes, commanding at New Madrid, just informs me that no enemy is this side of Reelfoot Lake, to his knowledge, and that he will send out scouting parties to ascertain the truth. A combined brigade of line was ready to move at a moment's notice and take Jeff. Thompson in the flank, and Captain Glasford's gunboat, New Era, will also co-operate whenever required.
FORT SCOTT, KANS., March 10, 1863.
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: Colonel Phillips has doubtless kept you advised of the state of affairs in Western Arkansas and the Indian Territory. I have lately been received frequent and full reports from him, and have also received full and correct information from one of my spies (an intelligent and trusty man), who has just returned from a pilgrimage through the Indian country south of the Arkansas River. Forty miles this side of Fort Washita, Cooper has about 4,000 men, mostly deserters from Hindman's army. They have no horses, or equivalent to none, and a very ineffective force. At Fort Washita there are 80 men; 50 miles south of Fort Gibson is Stand Watie, with about 700 men; at Fort Smith there is part of five regiments, numbering about 18 [sic] men, and some artillery-two pieces certainly, and possibly four pieces. They have no horses fit for service. Marmaduke is reported to be at Clarksville, but I do not know the strength of his force.
I consider it of the utmost importance to occupy the Indian country as far south as the Arkansas River at as early a day as possible, and have so instructed Colonel Phillips. A copy of my letter to him of yesterday's date is herewith inclosed* for your information upon this subject. I would like you to inform me if these instructions meet with your approval. I think a sufficient force of white troops should be sent to garrison Fort Smith, in conjunction with the movement of Colonel Phillips'