soldiers are, to some extent, home, on furlough, planting corn in Creek and Choctaw Nations. Cooper at Cole Creek, 85 miles from Fort Smith; Colonel Watie at Scullyville and Poteau River; McIntosh at North Fork; General Steele commands at Fort Smith; Carroll and Brooks at Ozark. Cabell, who, with the others, proposed taking Fayetteville, has, I learn, abandoned the idea when they learned I was prepared to support Fayetteville. All the country on this side of White River hills is denuded of forage. There is plenty of it in the valley of White River.
I can take Fort Smith and drive everything out of the Indian Nation if the force below does not come upon me. The Indians are greatly distressed about returning the refugees to their homes. The interest of the Government, as well as of these people, suffers by the delay. Have issued district orders condemning bushwhackers not regularly in the Confederate service to hard labor on fortifications or public works during the war.
Indian command improving in discipline and appearance; First Regiment being drilled every day; have now great hopes it may become as good as the Third. Stock low, but better than I expected.
The horses of the Arkansas troops are nearly used up. Colonel Harrison can only mount about 100 men.
Report of court-martial has not yet reached us; need it. Expect ammunition by next train from Fort Scott; need it; sent requisitions.
In the Magazine Mountains numbers of loyal men are anxiously waiting the approach of the Union Army to join it. Good loyal sentiment in Arkansas. Much suffering, both here and in the Nation. The country is swept bare of everything. Grass for stock how in Arkansas Valley.
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH KANSAS REGIMENT,
Camp Vandever, March 19, 1863.
[Commanding Officer District of Eastern Arkansas:]
GENERAL: I have the honor to forwarding to you a communication addressed "Commanding Officer United States Forces, Helena, Ark.," brought to my camp by a flag of truce, under command of Lieutenant Stevenson, adjutant C. S. Army. I have receipted for said communication, and await further orders. The lieutenant is anxious to return as soon as possible, but I do not feel myself authorized to dismiss him until I hear from you. Will not this flag of truce make it inappropriate for our scout to start to-morrow?
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Little Rock, March 13, 1863.
Commanding Officer United States Forces, Helena, Ark.:
SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you under flag of truce an official communication to Acting Rear-Admiral D. D. Porter, commanding