over the Ozark dividing ridge were almost impassable. I have at this moment crossed over the Gasconade the Nineteenth Iowa and train, the Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery and train, and will spend the night in crossing troops and trains as fast as they arrive. I shall move the head of the column early to-morrow toward Houston, from its camping place some 3 miles east of here. All the serviceable cavalry will be sent by way of Mountain Store, or Montreal, to Houston. They will start in the morning. I will march to Salem as rapidly as possible.
I sent a communication to you yesterday be messenger, and accompanying this goes a small party who will occupy Houston to-morrow morning. Saving the bad roads, high water, and the bad condition of our animals, we are getting along well.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel, Commanding Division.
FORT GIBSON, C. N. April 27, 1863
Your telegram of 20th instant just received from Cassville.* In obedience, have ordered Colonel Harrison to move west to Hildebrand's Mill, where I have a post and can support him, and he have grass for his stock. I directed him that his supply trains go, via Springfield, Newtonia, and Maysville, to Hildebrand's Mill at present, so as to be as little exposed as possible. My own trains go up Grand River, through good grass and road, which is my retreat if hard pressed. Under orders from General Blunt, I moved into the Nation to defend the refugee families sent in; if I was not here they could be overrun. I ordered Colonel Harrison, when I received my first instructions from General Blunt, to throw up earthworks to resist a cavalry raid, and move west toward me if he was threatened with a heavy force. I received a dispatch from General Blunt with yours, ordering me to reconnoiter the enemy and learn his movements over the river on my front. I desire to apprise you of the embarrassment of the Indian command, and the bad effect on the whole Indian command and the country a movement into Arkansas would cause, leaving the families just brought in here to the mercy of Cooper, Steele and Stand Watie. Colonel Harrison has repulsed the enemy gallantly. I never would have asked the separation of my command if I had understood that I controlled its position or line of supplies.
WM. A. PHILLIPS,
[SAINT LOUIS, MO.,] April 28, 1863.
[Major General] H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
Generals Vandever and McNeil united in pursuit of rebels yesterday. Firing was heard from 10 to 3 p.m. The rebels destroyed bridge after crossing White River, and retreated pell-mell beyond. Bridge was being repaired for farther pursuit. They move west from New Madrid to intercept retreat, going forward. No further particulars.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
*See p. 230.