The rebels guard well their fords, to keep deserters and runaways or loyal people from coming over. I have had overtures from a number of prominent persons over the river, but they cannot get to us until I drive the enemy away. I should infinitely prefer to draw them from Fort Smith out to the prairies opposite. Of course it would be impossible for me to move a large force on Ozark River; doing so would leave the enemy on my rear; Fort Smith even would by my rear. But, apart from all questions as to the policy of it, it would be against the orders of General Blunt, in whose command I am placed. He has sent the refugee families into the Nation. I had to drive a force of 200 rebels out of Gibson when I came in. The enemy has been massing a force there since, and my going toward Ozark would require the evacuation of the country be these people. In addition, my stock is not in condition to warrant an advance on Ozark, and the attempt to send my poor horses would merely scatter my command on the road between this Ozark.
If the enemy gets the regiment that was on Fetter Creek, with Bryan, and the other forces he has, Steele may be tempted to stand and fight. If so, I will surely whip him, and any blow would open the country south, and enable me to fill up the two regiments I ma ordered to recruit. I still think, when I can drive the enemy from the river toward Red River or take them that I will thereby not only carry out my orders, but relieve you. Even should I find it proper to take Fort Smith, it would necessitate the evacuation of Ozark. However, I will do the best I can. I do not believe Brooks has so many men Ozark. Dannerberg and other men came to me, with pale faces, at Lee's Creek, when I was marching in, and told me that Price was at Van Buren and Fort Smith, with 30,000 men. I knew then, as I know now, that it was all nonsense. If you should be pressed, fall back on Hildebrand's Mill, where I have a fortification and a command, and I will support you there. Keep your rear open. My rear, which is now up the Grand River Valley, is perfectly clear and open. An advance to Ozark, until I drive the enemy before me, would cut it off.
I shall cheerfully render such support to you as is consistent with the orders I receive.
With earnest wishes for your success, I remain, respectfully,
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE FRONTIER,
Forsyth, Mo., April 12, 1863.
Commanding Officer, Galena:
I am informed that great numbers of refugees from Arkansas have started to your place, on their way north. They have with them, to some extent, property which wa taken under the protection of my command. I desire an account of the same to be taken, not intending, however, to interfere with its present use, but desiring to have a report made to me of the names of those who possess it and the description of the property.
My chief purpose in sending messengers to you is to inform you of the fact that I am authorized by General Herron, who commands this army, to raise organizations of Union men in Arkansas, and to arm them and furnish them with ammunition. I wish this news communicated to all persons in your vicinity, and particularly to the State of Arkansas; it should have the effect of raising men in great number, and thereby