ROLLA, April 24, 1863.
Major-General CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.:
Colonel Cloud telegraphs me that one of my scouts has just arrived at Springfield from Batesville. He left Batesville on the 19th. There was but one company of rebel cavalry at that place, with all the transportation belonging to Marmaduke's forces. The understanding there was that Marmaduke had 10,000 men and moved north to Pilot Knob. The forces at Cotton Plant were moving up Saint Francis River. Price still at Little Rock.
F. J. HERRON,
HEADQUARTERS INDIAN BRIGADE,
Fort Gibson, C. N., April 24, 1863.
SIR: I have just received your dispatches of the 20th instant; also General Curtis' dispatches of same date.
Your dispatches direct me to do just precisely what I have done. General Curtis seems to intimate that I should not have left Arkansas, which I had to do under your orders. His orders in this dispatch are to move back to Arkansas, or move Harrison toward me. As I cannot go toward Fayetteville without disobeying your orders and injuring the Indian command, and prejudicing the Government interests in the Nation vitally, I ordered Colonel Harrison to proceed toward the Nation, to the prairie near Hildebrand's Mill, where there will be grass for his stock, and where I can support hi. I design keeping this post, where there is a strong fortification that will be in good shape in a few days. I will also keep a command at Park Hill to watch toward Evansville. We have so far driven them back both in Western Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Colonel Harrison has no horses; ponies are run down and grass-fed. As I have orders from two sources; ponies are run down and grass-fed. As I have orders from two sources, and as Colonel Harrison seems to get orders occasionally from other quarters, and his supplies and position have been placed beyond my control, my situation has been very embarrassing. I ordered him to move once before, but failed. If I am to be accountable for it, I must control its movements. The enemy are making terrible efforts to reorganize their force.
Had I not been here, this country would have been overrun, as the grass maintains stock. If I leave it, it will be overrun again, and the families sent in here by the Government plundered and ruined.
In order to save Fayetteville, I ordered Colonel Harrison to join me in an attack on the enemy on the river, that lately attacked him. He refused to, or could not move his command. If I had insisted on moving him, he would merely have furnished me a handful. I feel delighted that he had repulsed Cabell. It was well done. My first report was he was taken in. I had ordered him to throw up earthworks, so as to guard against a cavalry raid, and fall back on me if a solid force threatened him. I do not see what else I could have done with him. If i get him off in the field, and away from Fayetteville, I think that command will be in better shape.
Steele is at Fort Smith with Colonel Waie's men, Bryan's and Cooper's. Cooper in person is at Scullyville. The enemy have a force at Webber's Falls again, south side. The rebel Creek and some Texans are at North Fork, but it is reported that all the rebel force under Cooper and Steele, with some Texans they have, will be concentrated