doubt in comprehending whether it was contemplated in making the order that I should be relieved here or at Fort Smith, although the literal reading of the order makes it imperative that I should be relieved at the latter place. I would have much preferred that General McNeil should have come this way and obviated the necessity, on my part, of making a journey of 400 miles at this season, and under embarrassing circumstances. Whatever may have been contemplated by the order, the condition of affairs in the district will not justify me in abandoning the command until I am properly relieved.
Late intelligence from the Arkansas River report that the command at Fort Gibson is threatened by a superior force of the enemy, concentrated on the North Fork of the Canadian. I am importuned by the officer now in command at Fort Gibson to reach there with re-enforcements with as little delay as possible. I leave here to-day with about 1,200 troops and 300 wagons, loaded with subsistence and quartermaster's stores, for Fort Gibson and Fort Smith; and were I to do otherwise, until I know something of the whereabouts of General McNeil, I could not shun the responsibility that would attach from any disaster that might occur before I meet General McNeil and turn the command over to him.
When I am properly relieved, I shall proceed, without delay, to Leavenworth City, and report by letter.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. G. BLUNT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF ARKANSAS,
Little Rock, Ark., October 28, 1863.
Major General JOHN M. SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis:
GENERAL: Your dispatch in cipher is just received. I have not yet found any one who could decipher it, but General Hurlbut informs me that the support of it is that I am to send him such troops as I can spare.
At present I can spare none. The rebels are endeavoring to press me at all points. On the 25th instant Marmaduke attacked the post of Pine Bluff with about 2,000 men,and bombarded the town for four hours, destroying considerable public and private property. He was finally repulsed, with a loss of 130. Our loss was 11 killed and 45 wounded. The place was defended by the First Indiana and Fifth Kansas Cavalry, under Colonel [P.] Clayton, Fifth Kansas Cavalry.* All my disposable cavalry is pursuing Marmaduke toward Arkadelphia. Two brigades of infantry and two six-gun batteries, under General S. A. Rice, are marching directly on Arkadelphia, and were to be at Rockport to-night. It is reported that part of Marmaduke's command crossed the Arkansas below Pine Bluff, to co-operate with four companies from the other side of White River, 400 from Independence County, and a company from Des Arc, in an attack upon our depot at Devall's Bluff. Arrangements have been to repel any such attack, and to break up the post of Arkadelphia, if anything remains there. If allowed to retain all the troops at present under my command until the Arkansas regiments can be organized and armed, I have a fair prospect of being able to reclaim this State in a few months, but if I am to be crippled
*See Par I, pp. 722-739.