Fort Smith, Ark., January 18, 1863.
General D. H. COOPER:
GENERAL: Since the retirement of General Hindman from this vicinity, the intermediate country between this and Dardanelle, and the south of this in the direction of Waldron, has been infested with lawless bands of robbers and murderers. These bands are composed chiefly of Union men and deserters from General Hindman's army. From such information as I am enabled to obtain, they are under the leadership of one Martin D. Hart, a renegade Texan, and who now claims to be acting under a commission as captain in the First Regiment Texas (Federal) Volunteers. Several of the most respectable citizens of the valley of the Arkansas have been murdered, and numerous robberies committed by these outlaws. Having received no intelligence from headquarters for some time, I am induced to believe that any communication in that direction has been cut off. I have sent in pursuit all the cavalry at my command. The horses are, however, in such low condition as to promise no very successful result. These men seem to be well armed and mounted, and are evidently divided into several parties, having, no doubt, a common rendezvous. Last night there was a party within 4 miles of this place, killing and robbing, and on yesterday there was a party of some 50 men, with a couple for wagons and several negroes, depredating some 20 miles south of this, in the direction of Waldron. This last-mentioned party is said to have taken the Doaksville road. It is desirable that you should keep a close watch upon all the channels of communication leading to Texas, as this man Hart has declared his intention of making a raid into that State. There is also said to be a party of 80 or 90 in the vicinity of Sugar Loaf Mountain. You must have all trains passing well guarded, and keep up through the country south of this as active a system of scouting as possible. Be specially careful in permitting no persons with negroes or otherwise to pass your lines. Many negroes have, no doubt, been stolen, and it will doubtless be attempted to send them to Texas under false pretenses. Colonel Speight is near here with a brigade of infantry, reported to me for service in the Indian country. They have been stopped on their march for the present; they will go forward as soon as the weather changes. Please use every exertion to hurry up supplies from below. I would suggest that you move the greater portion of your cavalry to some point or points to the southward, where forage may be obtained and the objects herein suggested attained. Of course, you will leave strong and sufficient guards at such points as supplies are being accumulated. I shall go forward into the Indian Territory as soon as affairs can be put in some shape here. In regard to the movements of your troops as indicated, of course much is left to your direction, as you may be surrounded by circumstances in regard to which I may be ignorant.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. 1ST DIV., 1ST CORPS, TRANS-MISSISSIPPI ARMY,
Fort Smith, Ark., January 19, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel R. P. CRUMP,
Commanding Lane's [Texas Regiment]:
COLONEL: You will report to Colonel Monroe, commanding Carroll's brigade, Arkansas cavalry, for special duty, in regard to which orders