WHITE RIVER, NEAR CLARENDON, August 9, 1863.
The gunboats I wrote for on the 1st just arrived here this forenoon. My division reached here yesterday from Moro. White River is higher than it has been at this season of the year sine '44. In some places the water is 4 miles wide across the bottom. I send down this evening for coal barges, and shall cross part of my division as soon as they arrive. Kirby Smith is positively in Little Rock,without his troops. I shall endeavor to send you early news from actual reconnaissance. At present it is thought the main force of the rebels under Price is at Bayou Meto, 12 miles this side of Little Rock. It is of the utmost importance that we strike them before they throw up works to impede ours. My troops are in fine condition;men, horses, and transportation are better after a march of 350 miles than when they started. There are no rebel troops east of White River.
J. W. DAVIDSON,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHWESTERN MISSOURI, Springfield, Mo., August 9, 1863.
Colonel WILLIAM F. CLOUD,
Commanding Expedition to Arkansas, Cassville:
COLONEL: I have ordered Colonel Catherwood, with a battalion of his regiment and a squadron of the First Arkansas Cavalry and two howitzers, to march at 2 o'clock to-day for Pineville,via Newtonia, in pursuit of Coffee, who, I have reliable information, is in that vicinity with 500 men. I advise you of this that you may, if you find it advisable, make a simultaneous movement, via Bentonville,to cut off his retreat. Between you both I think he ought to be bagged. I make no order in this case, as I do not desire to interfere with any other plan that may have suggested itself to you from information you may have of other forces, but leave the matter to your own discretion.
If you move, try to communicate with Catherwood, and I shall direct him to do so with you.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHEASTERN MISSOURI, Pilot Knob, Mo., August 10, 1863.
I am quite apprehensive that a large force is threatening Bloomfield. Major Montgomery regards his information as very reliable. I have re-enforced him with all the men I can prudently spare from Cape Girardeau. If we hold Bloomfield as a permanent outpost, it will be necessary to increase the force in the district. There is no forage at or near Bloomfield. Trains from the Cape will require strong guards. If abandoned, and the force withdrawn to the Cape, frequent raids might be made to that locality from both the Cape and New Madrid. From present indications, it would be best that the lines should be contracted, that we may have more cavalry force to move about with, in pursuit of