this. A copy is also forwarded General Magruder. I shall start back this evening. Weather very cold; some frost this morning. I fear grass is used up.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. B. MAXEY,
HEADQUARTERS INDIAN DIVISION,
Little Boggy (Sulphur Springs), November 8, 1864.
Major General S. B. MAXEY, Commanding District of Indian Territory:
GENERAL: Your letter of the 6th instant has just reached me. In reply, I have to say:
First. The best route from Washington to Fort Smith, distance 180 miles, is via Caddo Gap; after passing through the gap and reaching the Fourche La Fave the Arkansas River can be reached by several roads. The main road is that direct from Waldron, but it is believed the roads bearing down Fourche La Fave and thence across to McLean's Bottom, on Arkansas, would furnish more subsistence and forage. The Caddo Cove is a rich agricultural settlement, formerly abounding in supplies, and has not been much disturbed. Fourche La Fave valley and valley of Petit Jean and Dutch Creek, tributary of Petit Jean, are rich and no doubt may furnish considerable forage and other supplies. The road from Laynesport, I presume, would furnish some forage and supplies. A junction of the forces moving from Washington and Laynesport could take place safely near Waldron.
Second. The Indian Division is now camped on Little Boggy, near the forks of Fort Smith and Fort Gibson roads, distance from the former place 130 miles. In consequence of intercepted Federal dispatches, sent to district headquarters yesterday (stating that General Price is retreating, hard pressed, having been defeated near Fort Scott, Cabell and Marmaduke, with 1,200 men and 13 pieces cannon, captured), in anticipation that General Smith might order an advance for the purpose of aiding General Price in effecting his retreat, should this news prove true, I sent out notice recalling all absentees, except the sick and disabled. At present there are but few men in camp (aggregate 1,471), many unarmed and afoot, but the Indians will rally and follow on whenever it is known we are moving forward with the expectation of a fight. How many can be got together I am unable to say, but should suppose about 2,000 may be counted on, perhaps 3,000. A junction can be effected near Fort Smith, on the Line road from Waldron, or any point near Fort Smith. The enemy will not come out unless they should be re-enforced. The greatest difficulty arises from the want of forage and supplies in the country between this and Fort Smith and in the neighborhood of that place. I think the only way for a large force to approach it is via Caddo Gap, Fourche Le Fave, and Petit Jean valley, and thence across to McLean's Bottom, below Fort Smith. How we are to get supplies hauled up now is the question. The prairie grass is dead, or nearly so; but if General Magruder sends an expedition and will let us know when he starts and when it will reach Fort Smith, we will try to be there somehow or other, provided their is time to get there. There are at Fort Smith about 3,000 men, at Fayetteville one regiment, at Van Buren 200, at Gibson 1,200, sixteen or eighteen pieces cannon in all at Fort Smith. In round numbers General Thayer's command, including three Pin Indian regiments at Gibson, is about 4,500 to 5,000 men.