HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE FRONTIER, Fort Blunt, C. N., July 30, 1863.
Major General JOHN M. SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you the following facts relative to the situation of this command:
In my dispatch to you of the 26th instant, I informed you that-
General Cooper was re-enforced on the evening of the battle of Honey Springs (the 17th) by General Cabell, with 3,000 men and four pieces of artillery; that he refused to renew the fight, but retreated 25 miles the night to the Canadian River.
Sine them he has been re-enforced by General Steele (formerly Captain Steele, U. S. Army), with Texans, Choctaws, and Chickasaws; the number I have been unable to ascertain, but they appear bold and confident. General Steele is said to be in command. They have advanced from the Canadian to the old battle-ground on Elk Creek,and their cavalry has been as far as up as Coody's Creek, 5 miles south of the Arkansas. On the 27th, a heavy cannonading was heard in their camp for two hours, which, I suppose, was to get the range of their guns upon certain points. Deserters from the rebel camp yesterday report that General [J. R.] Baylor is moving up from Red River, with 4,000 men and four pieces of artillery, to re-enforce Cooper and Steele. Union refugees from Texas, arrived yesterday, report the same facts, that at Bonham,on Red River, they saw 8,000 troops and eight pieces of artillery; that 4,000 and four pieces of artillery moved in this direction, under Baylor, and was understood to be to re-enforce Cooper; the other 4,000 and four pieces went to Louisiana.
My cavalry occupy the south side of the Arkansas River, and,if possible, I shall hold the fort on the opposite side of the Arkansas, near the mouth of Grand River, until the arrival of the train (which is expected in a few day) with ammunition, my supply here being nearly exhausted. I shall then cross all my available force and offer them battle on their own ground.
I cannot muster over 3,000 men for duty, including Indians, to move against the enemy, leaving only to convalescents to garrison this post, while the rebel force (exclusive of Baylor's force) is not less than 9,000. My artillery is also very poor; have not a rifled gun in the command.
Deserters report that it is Steele's intention to attack me here, if I do not move against him soon, but I prefer to be the attacking party, and shall defer a movement no longer than the arrival of the train with ordnance stores. The odds against me are large, but I shall endeavor to do the best I can with the handful of troops under my command.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. G. BLUNT,
P. S.-Spies have just returned from Fort Smith and Van Buren. They report only 300 troops at Fort Smith. Guerrilla bands are numerous in Southwestern Arkansas, hunting Union men who have fled to the mountains. May of them have been compelled by starvation to come in, when they have been shot or hung. About 200 men have been murdered recently in this way in Washington, Crawford, and Sebastian Counties. In view of these facts, I beg to repeat the suggestion I made in a former letter, that the Arkansas troops, at least,be sent into the northwestern part of that State, to drive out the bands of rebel guerrillas,and protect the few Union men that are left, and who are now starving in the mountains.