This was written before Cabell took position on the road from Paraclifta to Washington, via Columbus, and 15 miles west of Washington. This throws Gano's camp, near Laynesport, and Cabell's about 35 to 40 miles apart, and not far from equidistant from Dallas, laid down on most maps as Panther. This point is, say, 35 miles south of Waldron. It is not very likely they will try that road, in face of these two brigades, with cavalry simply, and they have not yet force to make any other sort of a move on that road this winter. This, I mean, with a view to any of the "adjacent counties" of Texas along the river. A raid, of course, on a small scale might be made on either side of the line [Arkansas and the Nation]. Now, as to the other road, or "the road to Fort Towson," which I presume means the road from Fort Smith to this place. It passes through a country void almost of supplies of all kinds. It has not been much used for twenty years. Much of this road is badly washed and rocky; unless repaired it is not practicable for artillery or wagons. As a guard to this road Lieutenant Colonel James Riley, First Choctaw and Chickasaw Regiment, with five companies, is posted at Lennox Mission, about 12 miles east of the old Fort Towson and Fort Smith road, and distant from this place, say, 75 or 80 miles. Lennox Mission is in the Kiamitia Valley, south of the dividing ridge between the Red and Arkansas Rivers, about 25 miles from Holston's [referred to in papers forwarded under 12th instant], and I think about a day's ride from Dallas. His command numbers, "present and absent," about 495. His last report, the weather being very inclement, shows 100 in camp. I doubt whether more can be kept in camp. Owing to the increasing scarcity of forage and subsistence he may be compelled to fall back to the "Old Council House," distant from this place on the Fort Towson and Fort Smith road about 50 miles. He is intrusted with scouting this road. It is suggested "that the bulk is intrusted with scouting this road. It is suggested "that the bulk of my command be so disposed as will best meet such a movement in time."
A difficulty will at a glance of the map be made apparent. Several roads converge at Fort Gibson, now in the possession of the enemy, and lead thence via North Fork Town, Perryville, and Boggy Depot, to Preston, Tex. Into this road falls the overland road from Fort Smith to the same point. This route, it seems to me, should be guarded. Next, the Fort Smith and Towson road; and in regard to that I will only remark that I see no good reason why they should select this dilapidated road in preference to the Line road and overland road. Lastly, the Line road. I have made the following disposition as the best possible that presented itself to me, viz; Gano on the right, at Laynesport, charged with guarding the Line road; Walker's brigade of Indians, charged with guarding the Fort Smith and Fort Towson road, with headquarters at Doaksville; Watie's brigade of Indians, charged with guarding the "Emigrant" or Gibson and Preston road and overland road; headquarters at Carriage Point. This arrangement is under my proposal to make two brigades of Indians and for which I am so urgent to get competent staff officers and instructors. I dislike to call your attention and to claim a close perusal of the very long communication of the 12th and accompanying papers, but I cannot otherwise make myself understood.
Now, to leave this attenuated line until the spring campaign opens, with no natural defenses, reaching from Laynesport to Fort Washita, won't do. Hence in that paper I propose to advance and, if possible,