y and affecting scenes
Stanawaitie commanding the rebel Indians
Colonel Phillips sends out a strong reconnoissance
he drives the enemy into the Arkansas River and takes Fort Gibson
Description of the place
the beawas sent out from here on the 8th instant with about three hundred men, to make a reconnaissance in the direction of Webber's Falls, on the Arkansas river, some twenty-five miles south of us, returned to-day, having captured nearly three hundred hea to keep the river in a navigable condition.
It requires a considerable rise in the Arkansas to enable boats to pass Webber's Falls.
Below that point light draft steamers can probably run on the river the greater part of the year.
How far it is possible to remove the obstacles to navigation at Webber's Falls, can be determined only after a careful examination by an experienced and competent engineer.
Navigation on the Arkansas will always be troublesome between this place and Fort Smith, on
ians coming in
the enemy concentrating at Webber's Falls
celebrating the event of hoisting the Unigth of the Federal position
engagement at Webber's Falls
capture of the enemy's camp
assassinatiing a force of four or five hundred men at Webber's Falls, about twenty-five miles below this post.
ers to our command, encamped so near us as Webber's Falls.
Yesterday, the 17th, was given to fesy General Cooper, who is now encamped near Webber's Falls, for the purpose of getting information in of the Arkansas River, in the vicinity of Webber's Falls, looks as if Colonel Phillips will be requ post, and making a night's march, reached Webber's Falls early Saturday morning, and at once commenle we were absent on the reconnaissance to Webber's Falls, two rebel officers came into our camp herat this post.
The same day we left for Webber's Falls, Colonel Phillips sent out Lieutenant-Colonemy, considerably reinforced, returned to Webber's Falls, two or three days after we left, and are
he movement only as a demonstration.
After returning to my post of duty at Gibson, I found that the enemy had become much bolder than when we left on the night of the first instant.
They have moved all the forces from the neighborhoods of Webber's Falls, North Fork and other points in the Indian Territory to the heights on the south side of the Arkansas River, nearly opposite the post, and not more than five or six miles away.
During the entire day, at intervals of a few minutes, we heard tall our men on the two outside picket stations, but when they came to the third not more than three miles from camp, our picket guard hurried to the fort and reported the approach of the enemy.
It is supposed that they crossed the river near Webber's Falls and made a night's march.
With General Cabell's division operating along the Arkansas line, and General Cooper's force directly in our front within four or five miles of us, it is impossible for Colonel Phillips, with the force at his dispos
ight of our camp they are, as far as their safety is concerned, in the enemy's country, and liable to surprise at any moment.
Several of our Indian soldiers, who have had permission to visit their homes in the northern part of the Nation near Maysville, have just returned, and report that the enemy have a force of upwards of one hundred men in that section, murdering the loyal Indians, and committing all kinds of depredations.
This force of the enemy crossed the Arkansas River near Webber's Falls, and marched up through the Nation near the Arkansas line.
As complaints have been coming in for several days of their depredations, Colonel Phillips has determined to send a force of two or three hundred cavalry in pursuit of the rebels.
That will soon put an end to the little reign of terror.
It is desirable to afford all the protection possible to those loyal families who are endeavoring to live upon their homesteads.
And since Colonel Phillips has had command of the Indian Territ
ll, the two forces having met, a fight or the flight of one party was of course inevitable.
But the two opposing forces determined to test each other's strength and bravery.
The enemy posted themselves in the woods, near the road leading to Webber's Falls, in a rather advantageous position, and seemed to wish our troops to commence the attack, which they did very soon.
Colonel Wattles did not, however, commence the attack directly in front, as the enemy desired, but threw out skirmishers, andave escaped the edges of our swords.
He could instantly seize the situation, and there was no dallying with the foe afterwards.
After the skirmishing and fighting, which lasted upwards of all hour, the enemy retreated in the direction of Webber's Falls, having had a number of men wounded.
Our casualties were: one man killed, seven wounded and five taken prisoners. The five men taken prisoners belonged to the battalion Sixth Kansas Cavalry, and were not captured in the engagement, but wh
y use. I have already stated that they exchanged their chickens, eggs, milk, butter, &c., with our soldiers for certain of their surplus rations.
By great care and diligence he prevented the small-pox from spreading among our troops early last March.
He has kindled among the Indians such a strong feeling of friendship for the Government, that their women ride sixty miles to inform him of the movements of rebel troops.
And this spring and summer he has displayed conspicuous bravery at Webber's Falls, the Rapid Ford, and in the engagement with the enemy on the morning of the 25th May, when they attacked our train four miles northwest of Fort Gibson.
His marching here and seizing this post in the face of a large force of the enemy, was a master movement which the military critic would be especially happy to dwell upon, had he been commanding troops in a section where military operations are conducted on a larger scale.
And his holding this place against the forces of two Generals o
my, driving in our outposts.
No town on the border has been subjected to so much excitement of this kind as this place.
Dispatches received from Fort Smith state that Colonel Cloud's brigade has been ordered back from that section to the southern line of Missouri, in consequence of the threatened invasion by a portion of General Price's army, recently driven from Little Rock by our troops under Generals Steele and Davidson. Colonel Bowen, commanding the Second Brigade, stationed at Webber's Falls above Fort Smith, has probably marched to the latter place by this time, to relieve Colonel Cloud.
Unless Generals Steele and Davidson continue the pursuit of Price's army from Little Rock, it will likely either march to Fort Smith, and attack our forces there, or turn north and invade Missouri.
From such information as I can obtain, it looks as if the cavalry divisions of Marmaduke and Shelby were preparing for an immediate invasion of Missouri.
The country north of the Arkansas Rive
my supplies, and only a few miles from the State line, it is thought that Shelby may turn aside and attack us here in a few days.
But we have one battery, beside four twenty-four pound siege guns, and troops enough to hold the place several days against an enemy of two thousand men. The heights to the east of us, should the enemy get possession of them, would give him positions from which he could throw shells into the town.
General Blunt has sent orders for the troops stationed at Webber's Falls and Skullyville to move into Fort Smith, and all the Indian troops stationed at different points in the Nation to concentrate at Fort Gibson.
If Colonel Phillips has returned to take command of the Indian division, we need have no fears of the enemy capturing Fort Gibson.
It is reported that General Shelby, with the assistance of his artillery, has been able to capture one or two posts in southwest Missouri.
The militia, not being aware that the enemy had artillery with them, undertoo
The distance from Little Rock to Fort Smith is not so great as the distance from Fort Smith to this post.
And it is probable, too, that in a month or so, light draft steamers can run on the Arkansas River, and .thus save overland transportation of supplies to the Army of the Frontier. Colonel Phillips' Indian division at Fort Gibson, however, will perhaps continue to be supplied from this place, at any rate until the spring rise in the Arkansas River will enable boats to pass Webber's Falls.
As no large force of the enemy can cross to the north side of the Arkansas River without our commanding officers at Forts Smith and Gibson knowing it; and as his trains will pass over a route little infested with guerrillas, they will not require very large escorts and batteries of light artillery, as last spring, to conduct them through safely.
This post will henceforward be of less importance in a military point of view.
Still, the immense quantities of ordnance, quartermaster and
llantly cut their way through.
Leaving Colonel Dole, with a strong command, and most of my artillery behind the works, I moved rapidly forward with two battalions of Indian infantry and a section of Hopkins's battery, under Lieutenant Bassett.
Leaving one battalion as reserve, I supported the forces already in front, and soon drove the enemy into the woods.
Here they contested the ground for a short time, but they were pushed over the mountain, and rapidly driven in complete rout to Webber's Falls, where they crossed the Arkansas River.
As we were following the enemy up the mountain, I learned that the enemy, with two six-pound field-pieces and one twelve-pound howitzer, were trying to cross Arkansas River, two miles from Gibson.
Leaving the mounted men to follow the retreating enemy, I took my infantry and two guns down to the river, and found that the enemy, although in considerable numbers on the opposite bank, were only making a feint.
Desiring to dismount their artillery