COLUMBUS, March 11, 1863.
I just received information from Captain Glassford, commanding United States gunboat New Era, that the scouts of Colonel [D. H.] Hughes, commanding at New Madrid, had discovered Marmaduke with a large force in the neighborhood of Bloomfield, apparently threatening Cape Girardeau.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH AND NINTH DISTRICTS,
In the Field, Arkansas, March 12, 1863.
SIR: For the past two days I have been in shape, expecting attack. Cabell came up a few days ago from Roseville to Clarksville with two Texas regiments, and some others, probably Marmaduke's, as most of his men started for the Arkansas River. Brooks is at Ozark, with Carroll. Manlow [Monroe?] has crossed from Fort Smith, and has an outpost 10 miles from Van Buren, a few miles from mine. I have a reconnaissance at Huntsville; spies and scouts watching the force toward Clarksville; an advance at Cane Hill and at Dutch Mills. The force at Fayetteville I ordered to fall back before our approach to Elm Springs, 8 miles from Major Foreman, with my howitzers, and a good force of mounted rifles is within supporting distance of Fayetteville and my main force. If attacked, I design fighting about Elm Springs, so as to have my transportation well in the rear. I begin to fear they will not leave the river. It is, I think, impossible to surprise us, and I think we can destroy them if they venture up. General Steele threatens to hold Fort Smith if attacked. Efforts are being made to keep the Indians south of the Arkansas, with the rebels. Clothing and food have been sent by the boats. Six bushwhackers were killed yesterday; some are killed or taken every day. The Arkansas River is in good stage. There are no heavy siege guns on the Arkansas River since the river was taken; 12-pounder field piece the heaviest; 700 or 800 men at Pine Bluff, but no works or heavy guns; a few thousand men at Little Rock, in bad condition (200 to the regiment), with three batteries, or parts of field batteries, 6's and 12's; between 7,000 and 8,000 rebels in hospital at Little Rock; 28 boats now on the Arkansas River, mostly at Little Rock. It is reported that, if attacked by a heavy force, they will abandon the river, burn the boats, and concentrate at Arkadelphia. General Steele claims to command the (rebel) Indian Department.
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
[DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,]
March 12, 1863.
WILLIAM A. PHILLIPS,
Colonel Commanding, Hdqrs. Eighth and Ninth Dist., in the Field:
You should not fight a battle; yours an outpost duty. So fall back or dash forward, striking the enemy only where he does not expect you and never waiting an attack.
SAML. R. CURTIS,