to know if a force crossed above you as you reported several days ago. Send a messenger immediately informing me on this point. Lieutenant Parish came through with eighty head of cattle.
JOHN M. THAYER.
P. S.- Under present circumstances you will not be able to send any transportation to take families to North Fork Town. Probably you can send only those who have their own transportation.
J. M. T.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE FRONTIER,
Fort Smith, Ark., October 27, 1864.
Colonel S. H. WATTLES,
Commanding Indian Brigade:
SIR: After reading your dispatch and consulting with Colonel Williams, I have concluded not to have you leave Gibson with any portion of your command. You will therefore remain and occupy it, unless you find yourself likely to be overpowered. If you find yourself obliged to leave, you will, of course, be governed by the position of the enemy as to the course you take. Price was badly whipped on the 22nd and 23d, somewhere between Boonville and Independence, by General Rosecrans, and is now being pursued down the Kansas border. Of course we cannot tell where he will strike the river. I do not now think he will stop to fight either you or me. In one of your dispatches some days ago, you stated that your refugee Indians reported a large force of the enemy had crossed the Arkansas forty miles above you, but in your subsequent dispatches made no mention of it, and do not state whether it was correct or not. Have you learned anything since in regard to it? I started your wagons up on Monday, with a detachment of the Second [Kansas] Colored as escort, with orders to go through to Gibson with it if it did not meet an escort from Gibson. If the detachment of the Second Colored goes through to Gibson send it back immediately to this place. If you have a detachment at Mackey's Salt-Works see that it does not remain there too long. It is possible that Price may come by Webber's Falls. Keep your scouts well up toward Maysville and Evansville. You are directed to increase your beef rations just as much as you think proper. Use every exertion to get in beef-cattle, also send as many to this place as you can. Last night I received a dispatch from General Halleck, dated the 24th instant, saying General Steele was collecting a large force to meet Price on his way down, and also that General Steele had been ordered to send supplies to me here.
JOHN M. THAYER,
Fayetteville, Ark., October 27, 1864.
Colonel STEPHEN H. WATTLES,
Commanding Indian Brigade, Fort Gibson, C. N.:
COLONEL: Your dispatch of 22nd instant arrive here at noon to-day (five days out). We have been skirmishing all day in sight of this place with the enemy. They are about 1,200 strong, now in this neighborhood, under Colonels Brooks and Buck Brown, and are very bold.