to throw it on whatever line of operations the enemy may select, troops from Boggy Depot can be readily marched to form a junction with those on the Line road at or near Dallas, Ark., or at Captain Stephen Holston's, on the road from Riddle's to Waldron. If we could hold that position the enemy would not dare to move south or west from Fort Smith. It is directly on the Fort Smith and Towson road, at the intersection of the Scott County road from Riddle's, which is on the California overland route. To pass south from Fort Smith via Waldron he would expose his flank and rear the same if he takes the road to Boggy Depot. The Line road passes about 20 miles east of Holston's; the Boggy Depot road, about the same distance southwest [at one point, called the "Narrows," only 15 miles from Holston's]. The "Winding Stairs," at the "dividing ridge," between Red River and Arkansas, is 12 miles southward of Holston's. In front are mountain passes and large streams, Fourche, Maligni [?], and Basil; east is Poteau, near the head of which stands Waldron. From Boggy Depot there is a road leading on the south side of the "divide" to the old Fort Towson and Fort Smith road, and thence to Holston's and to Dallas, Ark. From Boggy Depot to Holston's is about 100 miles. It is about the same distance from Doaksville, and about the same from McKane on the Line road; from Holston's to Fort Smith is from 45 to 50 miles.
A consideration of the topographical features of the country will, I think, lead General Maxey to conclude that the forces under his command, as soon as possible in the spring, should move up and concentrate near Holston's leaving at the same time an adequate force on the road from Boggy Depot to Fort Gibson [say on Coal Creek], near the intersection of the road from Fort Gibson to Texas and that from Fort Smith to Fort Arbuckle, for the purpose of preventing the enemy from sending his Indian cavalry from Gibson in the direction of Perryville, and thence on to the California overland mail route at Riddle's, Mrs. Blackburn's, or Boggy Depot, to cut off our supply trains or destroy the depot on Boggy. Being himself at Doaksville and General Gano on the line, I think it best that my headquarters be west, there I can more conveniently attend to and bring up at the proper time the Indian forces, or be in readiness to repel any attempt to enter Texas by the California overland mail route. It was evidently General Steele's idea when he ordered me here that only the Choctaw troops would be placed under my command. If I am to take command of all the Indian troops my headquarters should be central as respects them, and on or near the main thoroughfare passing through the country occupied by them. If the enemy should advance during the winter on General Gano I can more readily come to his assistance with the Indians by being at Fort Washita and keeping them well in hand than if here with only a small portion of my command. If the enemy advances south during the winter, the Indian troops here and those on the California overland route could be thrown upon his flank or rear, via Waldron or Dallas, Ark., and at the same time protect the Choctaw country from any raid west of the enemy's principal line of operations. It may not be improper to add that to render the Indian troops most effective there should be a steady body of white troops, who can be constantly kept in the field and serve as a nucleus for the Indians. They, like any other undisciplined men need such a body around which they can rally. The Indians will go anywhere and as far in a fight as the white troops, but they have been, by treaty stipula-