Fort Smith, Ark., July 5, 1863-9 a.m.
Brigadier General D. H. COOPER,
GENERAL: Your courier, with report from Captain Wells, &c., is just in. The elements are against us this time. The last I have heard from General Cabell he was en route for Grand Saline, and reported he would be there July 2. He has been instructed, in case the train succeeded in getting in, to fall back in this direction, with a view to the concentration of all of our forces near Gibson. I have written several times with regard to ammunition for your howitzers; last night received a reply stating that, by first opportunity, "some arms, the artillery ammunition, about 600 cartridge-boxes, and other articles required, would be sent." As soon as they arrive, I will hurry these things, up, probably in a steamboat if the river keeps up.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JACKSONPORT, ARK., July 6, 1863-10 a.m.
GENERAL: Captain Pritchard has shown me a dispatch from Major Brinker, informing us of the repulse of your army in the attack on Helena on the 4th, but giving no particulars. Your movements after the repulse are entirely conjectural. There are two boats here, and, in absence of instructions, Captain Pritchard, has, after consultation, determined to send the Kaskaskia to Clarendon, with 35 or 40 convalescents, to join their commands.
The chief object in sending this boat is to have at the nearest point the means of removing your wounded, and to facilitate the crossing of the command should it be deemed by General Holmes proper to do so.
The regular courier to advise you that the boat will be at Clarendon at about 7 p.m. to-morrow, where she will be instructed to await orders, with steam up.
The information from above induces the belief, amounting almost to conviction, that there is a force, supposed to be 9,000 cavalry preparing for a raid into Arkansas. They are supplied with pontoon bridges, and will move with pack mules in place of wagons. Your repulse at Helena may precipitate their movements. We shall have timely notice of their approach from Burbridge; but if this place is to be evacuated, the Kaskaskia will be required to get away the quartermaster's and commissary stores. The Suggs, a boat of much larger capacity, will be kept here, and can take off the most valuable stores, should the exigencies of the army demand the retention of the Kaskaskia. Of course, nothing will be moved from this post without your special order, unless were are advised that the enemy is upon us.
It is not certain that Little Red River will be a safer place than this, as it is not improbable that, should the raid be made from Patterson, the move may be by Batesville toward Little Rock. We shall look most anxiously for particulars to-morrow.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. C. CABELL,