The refugees have arrived, and are greatly rejoiced. They are putting in crops.
We had two successful skirmishes with rebels; one at Lindsay's Prairie took in or destroyed one entire guerrilla company that has infested there. The captain and 7 men killed. The other affair was below the Illinois. The rebels attempted a surprise, and were badly cut up, the commanding officer being killed, and a number of his men, in their attack or while trying to swim the Arkansas.
General Steele is on his way to the force they are gathering on the south side of the Arkansas River. They are firing over the river at my pickets; drove a force out of Gibson. The fords are deep, and the enemy seems to expect to hold them. Every ford to Fort Smith is guarded, the purpose being to keep the people south of the river from coming over to me. I have had overtures from Colonel Drew, Captain Vann, and also from the Creeks. The enemy is nervous about my crossing the river, and I expect to amuse him in front while I take him in. A good, decent crack at him will fill up the Fourth and Fifth. The agents agree to bread the refugees as soon as they get it down. I furnished an escort for their trains of 50 men. Owing to the flour I made at Hildebrand's, we will all get along well enough, but I had to feed the refugees the moment they came. Colonel Harrison wants me to go back and stand guard over Fayetteville. If he should be threatened, shall I order him this way? Please advise me of your designs and movements, and report my course for the satisfaction of the commander of the department.
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
HDQRS. DISTS, OF W. ARK. AND IND. T., DEPT. OF THE MO.,
In the Field, Park Hill, [April 12, 1863.]
Colonel M. LA RUE HARRISON,
Commanding Post, Fayetteville, Ark.:
SIR: I regret to learn that the guerrillas have been threatening you communications. I presume the secret of it is that Colonel Weer, who was southwest of Carrollton at last accounts, had driven the bushwhackers toward White River. Open communications with Colonel Weer.
A part of my command took in a whole company of guerrillas near Lindsay's Prairie, Ark., two days ago. The captain and 7 of his men were killed, and the remainder wounded or taken.
Major Foreman has returned to my command. When I marched here from Lee's Creek, I made sweep the valley of the Arkansas River on my flank with all the mounted men I could spare.
The rebels had been driving the cattle of the Cherokee people into herds, preparatory to driving them over the river. These cattle we took from them, and drove them this way. At the mouth of Illinois River we had an affair with a rebel force, which resulted in the complete rout of the party. The rebel commander was killed and a number of others wounded or taken prisoners. Some were drowned attempting to swim over. We were so fortunate as to lose no one in either of these affairs.
A large portion of my force is in Fort Gibson. The enemy is on the opposite bank, and seems inclined to contest the passage. The fords are very deep. The rebels have sent to Fort Smith for all but a garrison of 200 men, and General Steele is now up this way somewhere.