formed a junction with those sent direct from Benton. This force is estimated at 3,500 cavalry and a battery of artillery. The greater portion of this force evidently came down as far as Easby's, and will camp there to-night. I have a scout out on each side of the river, one sent out early this morning and one at 4 p.m. Neither of these have reported. I am locking, however, for a report hourly. The citizen from Rockport stated that the Federals told him yesterday, at 5 p.m., that they were going to Arkadelphia about 2 p.m. to-day. A lieutenant, 1 sergeant, and 2 privates deserted from Witherspoon's battalion, and have, I am confident, gone to the Federals. It was reported to me also that 5 negroes had deserted from your brigade, and have not been recaptured. They have evidently learned our position from those negroes, as the negroes, as the negroes were known to be there. I am convinced that it is their intention to move in two columns, one of 2,000 cavalry over the road to Sponville, and one of 1,800 to Arkdelphia, to attack me. I may be wrong, and they may not cross the Washita at all; such, however, is my opinion. I shall accordingly cook one day's rations, and have my train ready to move to the rear, taking the road leading to your headquarters, should it be found necessary to send it off. I wrote to you that I would send the train by Howell's Bridge, but since writing my quartermaster has returned, and reports that the train can be taken the direct road to your headquarters. I will, therefore, abandon the idea of sending it by Howell's Bridge, unless you should order the contrary.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. CABELL,
Brigadier-General, Commanding Brigade.
P. S.-In the event of my having to send my train to the rear, I would like to have my brigade quartermaster. Please let me know.
HEADQUARTERS CABELL'S BRIGADE,
December 9, -7 p.m.
Brigadier General J. S. MARMADUKE,
Commanding Cavalry Division:
GENERAL: The scout I sent in the direction of Rockport returned this afternoon, having been within 6 miles of that place. Dr. Gray, whom you may probably know, living within a mile of Rockport, told the lieutenant in command of the scout that the Federals left them day before yesterday at 11 o'clock, taking the road to Tulip. They had 2,500 cavalry and eight pieces of artillery, and stated to Dr. Gray that they were going to Camden. Captain McMurtrey reported that they had no artillery. He probably saw only their advance guard. I inclose you a note received from Lieutenant Perry,* who is now on the Princeton road. About 200 Federals did come to [illegible] yesterday, fed their horses, and left at once for Tulip. Dr. Gray reports that they fed from his corn, and what they did not feed they destroyed. Treated his son-in-law (Miller) in the same way. I am inclined to think they have gone to Camden, and that they will the Pine Bluff road from there. No Federals in Rockport. If they are as strong as reported, they may attempt to get between us and the infantry.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. CABELL,