effects, having abandoned their homes. It is reported that Magruder issued an order for the citizens to move south of Red River or he would leave them only thirty days' rations. The roads are represented as being crowded with wagons of emigrants moving in obedience to this order. The other day one of our scouting parties came upon a train of thirty wagons on the north side of the Arkansas, with citizens moving south. Yesterday twenty- one women, with a train, came to our pickets on the north ide of te river an asked permission to pass through Little Rock on their way south, which was refused. Tracks of a wagon train were discovered at Aberdeen Crossing, on White River, recently. Our scouting parties found no rebel pickets along the Saline, and from the best information that I can get, all the organized rebel troops now in this State are on Red River or on a line from Camden to Red River, except a few outposts. Deserters from Price's army continue coming in, principally from the south. They all tell the same story in regard to the emigrants and the deplorable condition of Price's men and horses. Many of his furloughed men and deserters are scattered over the country, but they do not seem inclined to do much harm to anybody. Five steamers came up the Arkansas and brought a large amount of Government freight, some of which was discharged at Pine Bluff, but the principal part here. They met with no difficulty coming up, except the first steamer, which had no guard on board, was fired upon by small- arms, but without receiving any damage. The water has fallen and two of the largest boats were unable to get out of the river on account of a bar, seven miles below Pine Bluff. Another rise is expected soon. Two of the boats sent to Fort Smith, it is supposed, reached their destination. The Doane broke in two, twenty miles above Dardanelle,a nd sunk in six feet of water. The freight and forage was all saved. The other boats were unable to reach Dardanelle- one is aground near Lewisburg. I should like to consult with General Canby and yourself in regard to further movements.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE FRONTIER,
Fort Smith, Ark., December 3, 1864.
SIR: Since Colonel Bassett wrote you yesterday I have seen a letter from mr. McDonald to Colonel Brooks, stating that the advance of the train would be in at Gibson Sunday or Monday. I can't well give directions till I know how it is loaded. All te mule train is to come through here. I am anxious to know if there is a mule train still behind at Fort Scott to come through; and, if so, I want to provide for its escort, and also an escort for the ox train back; and until I am informed on these points, I can't determine whether to have all three of the regiments (which belong her) return here,or leave one with you for escort duty or not. Colonel Williams will escort the mule train to this place. Send me the desired information as soon as possible.
Very truly, yours,
JOHN M. THAYER,