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t it worth while to undertake to chronicle the important events that came under my notice during the year 1863, as I had done during the year 1862. Two volumes of my Ms., for 1862, and 1864, were left in the Adjutant General's Office at Fort Smith, Arkansas, the latter part of 1864, and are supposed to have been destroyed by fire the following year. I commenced to write the following memoirs at Rhea's Mills, Washington County, Arkansas, on the 25th day of December, 1862. In my chronicleck early in November in the direction of Wilson Creek and Springfield, Missouri. Having received reliable information that a large army of the enemy, consisting of all the available troops from Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, had concentrated at Fort Smith and Van Buren under the supreme command of General Hindman, who had positively fixed the 3d or 4th of December as the day when he would set out with his army to attack and destroy this division and invade Missouri, General Blunt sent couriers t
thought by some that we were going to attack the rebel army in the vicinity of Van Buren — and Fort Smith. It did not seem probable that it was the intention of General Blunt to attack the main body of the rebel army, as we had recently received information that it was encamped around Fort Smith,on the south side of the Arkansas river, four miles above Van Buren.-Even if our force had been sufficittle Rock with cargoes of supplies for General Hindman's army encamped in the neighborhood of Fort Smith, and that the steamboats would probably reach Van Buren about the time he calculated we would dman, having heard by telegraph or special messenger that we were in Van Buren, sent down from Fort Smith a force of artillery and infantry to let us know that he was there. But in the meantime our ight, as we understood that he had an army of ten or twelve thousand men in the neighborhood of Fort Smith. Night came on, and we could see from the heights of the city to the heights on the south sid
scouting party from this division has just returned from Van Buren via Fayetteville, having been absent about a week. While they were in the vicinity of Van Buren, Captain Fred Crafts, the commanding officer of the detachment, sent a spy into Fort Smith, who returned and reported that the enemy had only about three hundred men stationed there. It is therefore evident that we have no organized enemy of much consequence directly in our front for at least one hundred miles south of us. Since ourfor the healing of gunshot wounds than the warm weather of summer. It has now been upwards of three months since the battle of Prairie Grove, and it is a little surprising that the rebel authorities should not have removed all their wounded to Fort Smith or to some point within their lines, by this time A detachment of about twenty-five men from this division had a fight yesterday, some fifteen miles from camp, with a party of bushwhackers, and killed six of them. Two of our soldiers were wou
A party of seven guerrillas was seen yesterday evening less than a mile from our camp, but they soon disappeared in the thick woods. Whether they are prowling around intent on some mischief, or whether they have unintentionally come upon us while passing through the country to some other locality, is not known. But as the soldiers express it, it will hardly be safe for them to roost in this vicinity. It is possible that they have been sent by the rebel commanding officer at Van Buren or Fort Smith, into this section, for the purpose of ascertaining whether our whole force is moving south, or only a reconnoitering party. In a few days the organized forces of the enemy north of the Arkansas River will find it convenient to retire to the south bank. There is now no prospect of Colonel Phillip's progress being checked this side of Fort Gibson. Yesterday morning (28th) a detachment of thirty men were sent to Neosho with the mail for the North, and instructions to the commanding off
orth while 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 account of the river constantly shifting its current, caused by the formation of sand bars. It is turbid and treacherous, and contrasts strongly with the Grand River, which is perfectly clear except during the season of heavy rains, and flows over a gravelly or pebbly bottom. Both rivers abound in fish, and those of our soldiers who are fond of the sport of angling will doubtless, when off duty, try their skill at it while we are stationed here. From the bluff we can see a portio
r troops at this point. On the evening of the 24th, Colonel Phillips took a force of six hundred men, composed of details from the three Indian regiments, and the battalion of the sixth Kansas cavalry, and crossed the Arkansas River several miles below this post, and making a night's march, reached Webber's Falls early Saturday morning, and at once commenced a vigorous attack on the enemy's camp. They were taken by surprise, and fired but few rounds when they fled in disorder towards Fort Smith and North Fork town, where General Cooper's main force is encamped and organizing. We did not pursue them a great distance, as our animals were much fatigued from the night's march. The action was sharp for a few minutes, when the enemy broke, leaving on the field fifteen killed and as many wounded. We had one Indian killed and ten men wounded. But our most serious loss was the killing, or rather assassination of Dr. Gilpatrick, a special agent of the Government, who accompanied us on
s river commenced rising rapidly, so that the enemy will not likely be very active on the north side for perhaps a week or so. They have no steam ferry boats, nor any other kind of boats fit for crossing the river, that we have heard of,between Fort Smith and their present encampment. And since we destroyed their steamboats at Van Buren last December, it is not probable that they have had much river transportation on the Arkansas above Little Rock. Though this is the season when navigation on the river is best, neither party is able to use it to advantage. A steamboat plying on the river in the service of one party would be a target for the artillery and small arms of the other. Below Fort Smith, for, perhaps, nearly two hundred miles, the enemy might ply steamboats with comparative safety from attack by our forces. But over that section they have very little to transport, as the main army is in the neighborhood of Little Rock. The present rise is due almost entirely to the f
roops, we do not doubt but that, with the additional troops now here, he will be able to carry our arms beyond the Canadian River, and sweep around and capture Fort Smith. This would be the natural plan of operations, whether it is carried out or not. Whoever may command our troops in this section will hardly be satisfied to rem Cassville in a short time, and marched down the western border counties of Arkansas to Van Buren, and form a junction with the forces under Colonel Phillips at Fort Smith. The principal object of the battalion of the Sixth Kansas cavalry accompanying the train through to Fort Scott, is to have the dismounted men furnished witlry and infantry-quite an effective little army. If properly handled, this little army will be able to drive the enemy from his present position and to capture Fort Smith, unless it has recently been strengthened by increasing the garrison, or building new fortifications. It is General Blunt's intention to move against General C
ng attitude as they were a few weeks ago. They have fallen back from their old position on the south bank of the Arkansas River, near Fort Gibson, to the north fork of Canadian River, about fifty miles further south. General Cabell has gone to Fort Smith with his division, as we have a column of troops under General John McNeil, ready to march down the line via Fayetteville to Van Buren. It is thought that General Blunt will be ready to move forward and attack General Cooper in a few days. After beating General Cooper he intends to swing to the left, and attack Fort Smith, and take it by storm if the enemy defends it. Our troops are getting full rations, and are well supplied with ammunition. The cholera and small-pox have almost disappeared, and the soldiers are in good spirits, and ready to open a vigorous fall campaign against the enemy. General Cooper has been beaten so often the last year, I doubt whether he can keep his troops together to make a hard fight. A mass meetin
at of General Cooper General Blunt captures Fort Smith Generals Steele and Davidson capture littlefrom General Blunt announcing his capture of Fort Smith, and the defeat of General Cooper's army at it will be more convenient for our troops at Fort Smith to transport their supplies from there than , or to the south, down the border as far as Fort Smith and Fort Gibson in the Indian Territory. rrived at this post Wednesday, the 23d, from Fort Smith. A brilliant reception was given the Generahe last two months, ending in the capture of Fort Smith. I must remark, however, that most of the ginstant, is making preparations to return to Fort Smith, in about a week, to take command of the Arm as this place. Dispatches received from Fort Smith state that Colonel Cloud's brigade has been d Brigade, stationed at Webber's Falls above Fort Smith, has probably marched to the latter place by Little Rock, it will likely either march to Fort Smith, and attack our forces there, or turn north [4 more...]
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