COLUMBUS, KY., June 26, 1863-4 p. m.
Saint Louis, Mo.:
Major-General Hurlbut thinks that I rice is at Jacksonport with about 6,000 men, and his destination probably New Madrid. I am under orders to re-enforce that post if attacked, and would request any reliable information regarding the force or movements of the enemy, and also the strength of the garrison at New Madrid.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE FRONTIER,
Fort Scott, Kans., June 26, 1863.
GENERAL: I am just in receipt of dispatches from Colonel William A. Phillips to the 20th instant.* He still maintains his position at Fort Gibson, although the enemy are securing re-enforcements and massing quite a large force on the south side of the river. The pickets of the two forces are within hailing distance. They have attempted to shell Fort Gibson, but without any damaging effect to our forces. Lately they have been throwing up earthworks and placing their artillery at the different crossings of the river, to prevent our passage, which would indicate that they fear offensive operations from our side. They have not attempted to cross the river in large force since about the 6th instant, when they crossed below, and attempted to flank Phillips on his left and get in his rear. In this attempt they were defeated, our forces driving them back over the river with considerable rebel loss; our loss in killed was 7. The Indian troops have of late become quite discouraged, in consequence of not being supported by white troops, as has been promised them. They have manifested a true devotion to the cause, and have made almost superhuman efforts to hold their country, in hopes every day of obtaining succor, but I have had none to send them until now. I have sent with the train now en route to Fort Gibson about 1,600 re-enforcements, including the First Kansas Colored Volunteers. This will be quite an accession to Colonel Phillips' present force, and will inspire confidence in the Indian troops. The Thirteenth Kansas is here, and will go down with the next supply train, which will be in about twenty days; but mounted force is much needed, as the rebels are mostly mounted on good horses. A portion of each of the three Indian regiments, which are mustered in as infantry, have been mounted since they have been in the service on their own horses, but the constant hard service that has been required of them has killed nearly all their stock, and they have no way to replace it. Their losses in private horses, killed and worn out in the service, is more than the amount of all their pay received from the Government. It is indispensable that at least one Indian regiment should be mounted on Government horses.
The rebel force in front of Colonel Phillips has lately received a large train of supplies from Texas, and there is no doubt they intend to make a stubborn resistance to our farther advance, and, if possible, advance their own lines.
In the present state of affairs, it is important that I should take the field; but, to do this with a prospect of success, I need troops to commence offensive operations when I get to the Arkansas River. If that
*See operations about Fort Gibson, Ind. T., &c., June 6-20, 1863, Part I, pp. 348-352.
22 R R--VOL XXII, PT II