I do not know that any topographical description that I can give would be of any service. Fort Smith is approachable without difficulty on the south and east side, but well fortified according to all accounts. Timber has been cut down all around the place. Works have recently been commenced on north side of the river. The Federals have no idea of evacuating unless they are starved out. They are hauling in houses from the adjacent country to build winter quarters. This movement has been too long delayed. I could have taken Gibson within ten days after the return of Generals Gano and Watie from Cabin Creek had not the Texans been ordered off, and then moved down north of Fort Smith and cut off all supplies. The difficulty now is to get back in reach of the place. A movement ought to be made quickly to support General Price if he be coming out. I think the best route to approach Fort Smith is to strike the Arkansas River below and move up. We could not very well from a junction in that event, but such forces as could get to the neighborhood can co-operate if the time set for the arrival of the other column can be known. Please excuse this rambling note. It is prepared very hurriedly, to be taken by Mr. Tim Henry. Should have been glad to have met you at Boggy Dept, but cannot well leave. The grand council has taken off most of the officers, and there is a general disposition to go home. I believe if I were to go off the majority of these men here would leave.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
D. H. COOPER,
N. B.-About 250 Cherokee refugees are on the way out from Gibson. Captain Marston expected to leave Scullyville yesterday. I expect to hear from him to-night or to-morrow. Federals have taken advantage of the flag being at Scullyville to pull down houses and haul them into the fort, delaying the return of the flag. The intercepted dispatches report a fight near Fort Scott, in which they say Pleasonton captured Cabell and Marmaduke, 12 [1,200] prisoners, and 13 cannon. I think it all electioneering thunder, &c., for election, though it may be true and should be provided for. It may encourage the Federals in Arkansas to advance on Camden.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF INDIAN TERRITORY,
Fort Towson, C. N., November 9, 1864.
Brigadier General W. R. BOGGS,
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose you herein a letter of Colonel Wattles, commanding at Fort Gibson, to General Thayer, at Fort Smith; also a letter of Colonel Harrison, at Fayetteville, to Colonel Wattles, with copy of letter from Brigadier-General Cooper, which will explain themselves. I have forwarded official copies of these letters to Major-General Magruder, commanding District of Arkansas. Major-General Maxey has been absent several days attending the grand council of the Six Confederate Tribes of Indians at Armstrong Academy. He is to-day at Boggy Depot. General Cooper's headquarters will be at these headquarters on the 12th.
I am very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. L. BELL,