Commanding Indian Brigade.
CAMP AT BAXTER SPRINGS, KANS.,
August 6, 1862.
SIR: I had entertained hopes that the whole force detailed to my command could have rejoined the brigade previous to my report, but as I do not deem it proper longer to delay report, I proceed to state further the result of the expedition:
After the battle of Sunday, the 17th ultimo, I proceeded with the forces in my command to the west side of Grand River, in order to make connection with the portion of my command under Major Foreman. I found that Major Foreman had fallen back above Alberty's and having sent for them, I sent scouts in every direction to watch the enemy. Learning that the regiment of Colonel McIntosh had been stationed between the Verdigris and Arkansas, I proceeded with my whole force and artillery to cut him off. I was prevented from taking him by the order of Colonel Cooper, the commander of the rebel forces in Fort Davis, who ordered all the rebel forces on the north side of the Arkansas to recross to the southern side to prevent us from cutting them off in detail. I learned that Colonel was desirous of exchanging prisoners, but deemed it inexpedient to offer a transfer until I had joined your command.
I was informed that the rebels estimated their loss at the affair of Bayou Bernard at 125 men. Besides Colonel Taylor, Captain Hicks (a Cherokee) and 2 Choctaw captains were killed.
The command of Major Foreman had encamped on the old campground on Grand River on the day of the fight, 20 miles distant from the scene of conflict. In the evening the regiment of Colonel Stand Watie, under Majors Boudinot and Buster, got in his rear, and so he was uncertain as to the numbers and position of the enemy, and as the Creeks under his command refused to fight and proposed to forsake him, he prudently fell back to secure the artillery and keep his command together. Lieutenant Scott and some Wichitas, having left his command to return to your headquarters, were taken prisoners by Major Buster. Those are the only prisoners taken from any portion of my command in this expedition that I know of.
Failing to take Colonel McIntosh's command, i sent forward a portion of my command to the Creek Agency Ford. There small earthworks were discovered, but the few men holding it abandoned it and fled.
I remained facing the enemy for two days, but finding that he would not venture to cross the river to attack us, and as our provisions were exhausted and my men had been on half rations for four or five days, I fell back to Wolf Creek, but found that all the forces had fallen back.
Leaving my forces at Wolf Creek, with orders to march up in the morning, I proceeded with Major Wright to your quarters. On the way I tendered part of my command, or the whole of it, to Colonel Cloud, whom I met on the way. He declined it, but subsequently, I learn, took some 250 or 300 men with him to Park Hill. He has sent me no notification of this proceeding.
I have sent orders to have the absent portion of my command rejoin us, desire, if possible, to remain here until they can reach us, as I believe the interests of the regiment demand that it be not divided at the present moment.
Major Wright, of the Second Indian, joined my command at the old camp on Grand River on the 29th ultimo with a re-enforcement of 200 men. I have to acknowledge his efficient aid and soldierly bearing in rather a trying situation.
We brought a large quantity of stock from the face of the enemy. Some of the cattle in the herd belong to our Cherokee soldiers and have not yet been separated. Believing that the remainder of them would be amply sufficient to supply the Indian Brigade for months to come and save the Government a great expense, I respectfully urge that they be retained as a herd for that purpose, and not sold to speculators at a nominal price to the prejudice of the Government.
A large number of refugee Indians and their families are following the retreating army for protection, having exposed themselves to the fury of the rebels by declaring for the Union. To aid in supporting these people this herd can be usefully employed even while it sustains the army. Impressed with the importance and stern necessity of this matter, I respectfully protest against any disposal of this stock that would defeat so praiseworthy a bestowal of it.
I remain, very respectfully,
WM. A. PHILIPS,
Major, Commanding Third Regiment Indian Home Guard.
The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armie
Vol. 13 Ser. 19 pp. 182 - 184