Jacksonport. I believed also that the moment I made a show of crossing White River below, Marmaduke would fall lower down to join Price.
I will venture the assertion that there are not 500 of the enemy east of White River to-day. The destruction of some wagons near Bloomfield, of which General Schofield telegraphs, was done by a band of which General Schofield telegraphs, was done by a band of guerrillas - an incident liable to happen in the rear of any force - and, besides, the train was none of mine, nor under my orders. I gave up my rear, became self-sustaining the moment I crossed at Chalk Bluff, and sought a new base - well by General Schofield - ahead of me.
My force here is 6,000 cavalry (taught by me as dragoons) and three batteries - one of mountain howitzers, two of rifled guns. I have four gunboats here, that I asked for from the commandant on the 1st instant. Two have gone down for coal barges to make me a platform flying-bridge, and two I shall send to-morrow to Jacksonport to see if any counter movement has been attempted by Marmaduke,and to destroy his means of crossing if so,and then I can get part of my force at him. To cross the river here will be difficult without ferry-boats or boats of that pattern. A wide bayou is to be crossed after getting over the river here. We must then descend from here to the mouth of it, 8 miles below, and in doing the obstacles on this side to overcome than on the other. I shall not now attempt to throw over my whole division until I hear from you or the appointed commander of the expedition, only reconnoitering parties to obtain information. One of my parties captured, night before last, two Confederate agents with $70,000 on their persons in Confederate notes. Much unlawful traffic has been carried on between this part of the country and points on the Mississippi. Council Bend and Island No. 37 are of the principal ones named.
With high respect, I am,general, your most obedient servant,
J. W. DAVIDSON,
HEADQUARTERS ARKANSAS EXPEDITION, Helena, Ark., August 11, 1863.
Major General STEPHEN A. HURLBUT,
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose dispatches received this morning from White River. General Davidson is mistaken in regard to there being no rebel troops north of White River. They have been hanging on his rear all the time, and have probably captured all the dispatches that were sent to him previous to his arrival at Clarendon. On the 9th instant they pursued a party to his arrival at Clarendon. On the 9th instant they pursued a party of 15 commanded by a captain whom he ordered to this post,and captured 8 of them. A battalion of three companies of cavalry went in pursuit of the rebels, and most probably overtook them. Major Lippert,the officer in command, was on his way to join Davidson. It seems that General Davidson did not know that I was to command the expedition, although Commander Bache went up White River at my request. If Major Lippert got through,he must have received dispatches from me.
One of my division marched from here to-day with orders to build bridges and repair the road to Clarendon. The Middle road is the one selected for our line of communication with Helena. The rebels have burned the bridges on all the roads, but this one is the shortest, and is good, except through a swamp,where it will be corduroyed by the command