Operations in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Indian Territory, and Department of the Northwest.--November 20,1862-December 31,1863.
No. 2.--Report of Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield, U.S. Army, commanding Department of the Missouri, of operations May 24-December 10, 1863.

Saint Louis, Mo., December 10, 1863.

COLONEL: I have the honor to submit a general summary of military operations in this department since the 24th of May, 1863, when I assumed this command.

At that time active operations against the organized force of the enemy in Arkansas had been suspended until the opening of the Mississippi should give us a new base and a new line of operations, by which it would be practicable to operate in the interior of Arkansas. There was no immediate employment for the troops of this department except the ordinary police duties in Missouri, Kansas, and among the Indian tribes in the Western Territories.

The effective troops in the department at that time consisted of 14,248 infantry, 15,509 cavalry, and thirteen batteries of artillery, distributed as follows, viz: The Army of the Frontier distributed along the southern border of Missouri and Kansas, and in the Indian Territory as far south as Fort Gibson, 5,011 infantry, 3,826 cavalry, and four batteries of artillery. Troops doing police duty in Missouri, 5,657 infantry, 9,200 cavalry, and six batteries. In Kansas, 3,506 infantry, 1,343 cavalry, and two batteries. In Nebraska, 392 cavalry. In Colorado, 74 infantry, 748 cavalry, and one battery.

In addition to the above, the Governor of Missouri had commenced the organization of nine regiments of militia, styled "provisional regiments," intended for continuous active service. A portion of this militia had been in active service for a considerable length of time, but not under the orders of the department commander, and not acting in concert with the United States troops. At my suggestion, the Governor placed these nine regiments under my command; whereupon the War Department gave me authority to supply them with everything necessary to their efficiency, and they became a real addition to the effective force in the department, making my entire force 36,816 men effective.

With a view to the commencement of active operations as soon as practicable, I reorganized the Army of the Frontier, uniting all the cavalry and adding to it, forming a division of cavalry 6,000 strong, with a proper proportion of artillery, under Brig. Gen. J. W. Davidson, and forming the infantry into a single division, with three batteries, under Maj. Gen. F. J. Herron, intending to send the infantry and artillery by water to a new base on the river, and let the cavalry march overland, as soon as General Grant's operations should enable me to commence an aggressive movement.

This reorganization had but commenced, when, on the 2d day of June, I received a dispatch from the General-in-Chief, directing me to send all the force I could spare to the aid of General Grant at Vicksburg. Accordingly I immediately dispatched eight regiments of infantry and three batteries, under Major-General Herron, and subsequently sent in the same direction three more regiments of infantry, in all 8,000 men. Also to enable Brig. Gen.[A.] Asboth, commanding at Columbus, to meet an expected attack, I sent him from New Madrid, on the 30th of July, 1,300 men, and to Major-General Rosecrans, commanding Department of the Cumberland, a regiment-of cavalry and two regiments of infantry, 2,400 men, making a total of forces transferred from my department of 11,700 men and three batteries.

This great reduction of the force before considered necessary for defensive purposes, left me very weak in Missouri and Kansas, and, occurring at the season favorable for guerrilla operations, exposed these States to the depredations of guerrillas, from which they continued to suffer more or less until the success of my main force in Arkansas, and that of the detachments operating in Missouri and Kansas, rendered it impossible for them to longer exist in these States.

The capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson by the forces under Generals Grant and Banks on the 4th and 8th of July, respectively, opened the way for active operations in Arkansas, and enabled General Grant to return to me the troops I had sent him. I inclose herewith copies of correspondence with General Grant on that subject, which, together with orders from the General in-Chief, resulted in his sending (including the force already at Helena) a force of about 8,000 infantry and five batteries, to form, with troops to be sent from Missouri, an expedition against the enemy in Arkansas. At my request, Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele was sent to command this force. At the same time I sent the cavalry division, under Brigadier-General Davidson, with orders to move south, through the eastern part of Arkansas, and effect a junction with the force at Helena. Copy of instructions to General Davidson is inclosed herewith, marked A [Nos. 5 and 6]; also copy of instructions for General Steele, marked B [No. 9].

General Davidson reached Wittsburg, on the Saint Francis River, on the 28th day of July, without encountering any considerable force of the enemy, and opened communication with General [L. F.] Ross, then commanding at Helena, General Steele not having arrived at that time.

On the 10th day of August, General Steele had completed the organization of his forces, and commenced his advance, via Clarendon, on White River; thence up that river to Devall's Bluff, where he established his base of operations. Considerable time was consumed here in fortifying, establishing depot for supplies, hospital for the sick, who had become frightfully numerous, and in making other necessary preparations for a further advance. These preparations were completed on the 1st day of September.

The enemy, under Sterling Price, occupied an intrenched position 3 miles east of Little Rock, covered by cavalry outposts at Bayou Mete and Ashley's Mills. His force was estimated at about 16,000 men, with thirty-eight pieces of artillery. General Steele's effective force was about 13,000 men, with fifty-three pieces of artillery.

Steele advanced, with the main body of his infantry, against the enemy's position, while the cavalry, under Davidson, crossed the Arkansas River 7 miles below Little Rock, encountering the rebel cavalry, under Marmaduke, defeated him after a sharp engagement, and marched upon the town. Price, finding his position turned, hastily abandoned his intrenchments, retreated across the river, destroying his bridges, and escaped from the town before the arrival of our cavalry. Davidson's division entered Little Rock at dark in the evening of the 10th of September.

The enemy retired toward Arkadelphia, pursued the next day about 20 miles by a considerable force of cavalry and artillery, under command of Col. Lewis Merrill, U.S. Volunteers, but with no very important results.

For the details of these operations, resulting in the capture of Little Rock, and subsequent pursuit of the enemy, I respectfully refer to reports heretofore forwarded.

Since the capture of Little Rock, the time has been chiefly employed in perfecting communications, including repair of the railroad to Devall's Bluff, the fortification of Little Rock, and the occupation of points necessary to the security of the Arkansas River as a line of defense, and in preparation for an advance to Red River as soon as General Banks' operations should justify. The cavalry of General Steele's command has been actively employed during the time against the enemy's cavalry, and with considerable success in the capture of prisoners, arms, and other property.

On the 25th day of October, Marmaduke, with about 2,500 cavalry and twelve pieces of artillery, attacked a force of about 800 cavalry of the Fifth Kansas and the First Indiana Cavalry, and nine pieces of artillery, under Colonel [P.] Clayton, of the Fifth Kansas Cavalry, at Pine Bluff. The fight was sharp, lasted five hours, and resulted in a decisive victory to our troops.

Some cavalry, sent from Little Rock and Camden, under Lieutenant-Colonel [H. O.] Caldwell, Third Iowa Cavalry, pursued the rebel cavalry to Arkadelphia, captured that place, with a number of prisoners and some property. Colonel Clayton's and Lieutenant-Colonel Caldwell's reports were forwarded on the 19th instant.

On the 9th of June, I made a division of the former District of Kansas, the one embracing the northern portion of Kansas and the border counties of Missouri, the other the southern portion of Kansas, the Indian Territory, and Western Arkansas. Major-General [J. G.] Blunt was placed in command of the latter district, and Brigadier-General [Thomas] Ewing, [jr.,] of the former, with his headquarters at Kansas City, as near as possible to the center of the disturbed portion of his district.

The troops placed under General Ewing's command were selected with reference to their fitness for that special service, as far as practicable at that time. On the 11th day of June, General Blunt assumed command at Fort Gibson, Ind. T., at that time occupied by a small force, mostly Indians, under command of Col. William A. Phillips. All troops had been withdrawn from Western Arkansas some time before. On the 20th of July, General Blunt reported that he was threatened by a force about 15,000 strong, under Cabell and [D. H.] Cooper, and asked for re-enforcements. His force at that time amounted to about 3,000 men, of whom about one-half were Indians. I sent him about 1,500 men from Southwest Missouri, under Colonel [W. F.] Cloud, of the Second Kansas Cavalry, which force reached Fort Gibson on the 22d of August. General Blunt crossed the Arkansas River to attack the enemy, but they retreated without a general engagement. On the 1st of September, Colonel Cloud's brigade came up with the enemy's rear, about 16 miles southeast of Fort Smith, and, after a short skirmish, routed them, with a loss of 8 killed and wounded on our side and 20 to 30 on that of the enemy, and capturing 40 prisoners.

General Blunt, with the First Arkansas Infantry, occupied Fort Smith on the same day without opposition--ten days before the capture of Little Rock. Since that time we have held, without difficulty, the line of the Arkansas River, and our cavalry have operated as far south as Arkadelphia.

The border of Kansas and Missouri has been the scene of the most revolting hostilities during the past two years. The summer just ended has been no exception to this rule. A band of outlaws, numbering sometimes as high as 500 men, have infested the thickly wooded fastnesses in the western counties of Missouri, from which to prey upon the unarmed people. These brigands were aided in every way, whether willingly or unwillingly, by the large majority of the inhabitants of those counties, making it impossible, with any reasonable force, to drive them out or capture them.

On the 19th of August, the brigands secretly assembled to the number of about 300, near the border of Kansas, marched rapidly upon the town of Lawrence, and attacked it at dawn of day, when the people were least prepared for defense. No resistance whatever was offered. The town was robbed and burned, and the unarmed people murdered in the most fiendish manner. Probably no act of the war has been so barbarous in its whole details as this. I refer you to the report of Brigadier-General Ewing, forwarded to Washington on the 4th of September, for full details of the operations of his troops in pursuit of the murderers. The excitement among the people of Kansas, resulting from the massacre at Lawrence, was necessarily intense. For a time it threatened a serious difficulty, from the desire of a large portion of the people to enter Missouri to avenge the crime that had been perpetrated upon one of their fairest towns. Wiser counsels, however, prevailed, and the excitement passed off without further trouble. To guard against the probability of the recurrence of such a calamity, I recommended to His Excellency the Governor of Kansas to adopt the system which had been established in Missouri a year before, of organizing and arming all the militia of the State, thus placing every town, at least, in condition to defend itself from any guerrilla attack. This suggestion was as promptly adopted, and the State soon made secure.

For some time previous to the Lawrence massacre, the necessity of adopting some measures more vigorous than any before adopted to rid the border counties of the brigands who had so long infested them had been discussed, and I had directed General Ewing to remove the families of all guerrillas and all those who were known to aid them, and also the slaves of all disloyal persons living in those counties, it having been shown satisfactorily that a main object of the guerrilla bands was to protect their disloyal friends in the possession of their slaves, and that they were encouraged and supported for this purpose. After the massacre at Lawrence, General Ewing deemed this measure not adequate, and ordered a total depopulation of the district which was then the chief haunt of the guerrillas. After a protracted visit to the border, and as full an examination of the case as I could make, I modified General Ewing's order so far as to preserve, as far as possible, all property in the depopulated district, and approved the order. The measure, though very severe, seemed necessary at the time, and I believe the result has proved the wisdom of it. The guerrillas soon found it impossible to live where before they had roamed almost at will. Large numbers of them were killed, and the remainder driven beyond the Arkansas River. Since the rebels have all been driven out, I have directed that all the loyal people of those counties be permitted to return to their homes, and that they be armed and organized into companies. I believe there will be no difficulty hereafter in preserving peace in that district. In the retreat of the enemy from Little Rock and Fort Smith, several small bands of guerrillas were left in the northern part of Arkansas, and two or three still remained in Missouri.

About the last of September, a detachment of rebel cavalry, from 600 to 800 strong, under command of Shelby, left Prices army, near Arkadelphia, in Arkansas, moved north, and crossed the Arkansas River a short distance below Fort Smith. After Crossing, Shelby moved rapidly toward Huntsville, which place he reached September 30, and moved thence via Bentonville, Ark., cutting the telegraph line as he passed; thence through Pineville to Neosho, Mo., where he attacked and captured two companies of Missouri militia.

Shelby was joined in Arkansas by Brooks and other guerrilla leaders, and in Missouri by Quantrill, Jackman, and others, with all the guerrillas in Western Missouri. These increased his force to about 2,000 men. Passing rapidly through Greenfield and Warsaw, he succeeded in destroying the La Mine Bridge, on the Pacific Railroad, and reached the town of Boonville, on the Missouri River. Up to this time he succeeded in entirely eluding the troops sent to intercept him, and passed north of them. At Boonville he was overtaken by Brig. Gen. E. B. Brown, with about 1,500 men, and pursued to Marshall, skirmishing continually. At Marshall, Shelby made a stand, and a sharp fight ensued, lasting five hours, and resulting in a total defeat of the rebels. They scattered in all directions and fled toward Arkansas, hotly pursued by General Brown's troops. Subsequently, the chase was taken up by Colonel Weer, then by General Ewing, and finally by General McNeil who continued the pursuit until the remnant of Shelby's force had crossed the Arkansas River. The pursuit was attended with numerous skirmishes, always favorable to our troops, and resulted in a loss to the enemy of more than half his force, two pieces of artillery (all he had), all his ammunition, baggage, and plunder.

Quantrill, Jackman, and other guerrilla leaders, who have been the curse of Missouri and Kansas during the past two years, were driven out with Shelby, or about the same time, leaving behind them a state of peace and security to which the people have long been strangers.

I respectfully refer to accompanying reports for details of these operations. They exhibit a degree of energy and endurance on the part of our troops worthy of all commendation.

Military operations in the Territories of Nebraska and Colorado have not been of special importance. The Indians in those Territories, although occasionally manifesting a hostile disposition, have thus far remained quiet, and the troops on the frontier have proven amply sufficient to protect the people and important public interests. Several of the tribes have recently manifested an unusual hostile feeling, and have given evidence of a combination for war upon the white settlers. Timely measures have been instituted to prevent actual hostilities, if possible, and to meet them with an adequate force, if necessary.

Of the numerous skirmishes and engagements within the last five months, twenty-eight have been reported, showing a loss on our side of 159 killed, 311 wounded, and 200 prisoners; and on that of the enemy 643 killed, 697 wounded, and 856 prisoners. To the enemy's loss must also be added the large number of desertions, consequent upon his defeat.

Measures have been taken to secure prompt and accurate reports hereafter of all engagements and skirmishes, and in future reports details will be given more explicitly. The total effective force now in the department is about 36,800 men, including troops returned to me by General Grant, re-enforcements received from Major-General Pope's department, and new organizations of white and colored troops recruited since the 31st of May. It does not exceed that of the 24th of May, when the honor of the command was conferred upon me. Yet it has repossessed, and now securely holds, over 60,000 square miles more of territory.

I have not deemed it necessary in this report to refer to matters not of a purely military character. The perplexing subjects, of a semi-political character, which are inseparably connected with this command, have been the subject of correspondence from time to time with the General-in-Chief and the War Department, and the Government is fully informed of all that has transpired.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,




Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

Saint Louis, June 25, 1863.

 Brigadier-General DAVIDSON,  Commanding First Cav. Div., Arcadia :

GENERAL: I desire you to carry out the plan of operations discussed by us during our interview at your headquarters on the 23d instant, with as little delay as practicable.

The immediate object of this expedition is to keep open the river between New Madrid and Memphis, and secure safe navigation for our transports, until the fall of Vicksburg shall place us in condition to carry the war into the interior of Arkansas. To accomplish this I propose the following plan, in substance the same as that discussed by us, viz: Your division of cavalry to move down Crowley's Ridge, make a demonstration against Price's infantry, supposed to be at or near Jacksonport, and attack Marmaduke's cavalry along the ridge, and between that and the river. This, I presume, will compel him to withdraw from the river and mass his troops in your front; perhaps also to make, or attempt, a junction with Price's infantry. If so, the immediate object will be accomplished.

If the enemy concentrate his force and offer you battle, you will be compelled to act with much caution. Your force being only cavalry and artillery, you may be unable to cope with the enemy's combined force; but I presume you can easily beat his entire cavalry. You may be able to bring on an engagement with the enemy's cavalry alone. If so, I shall look for the most fortunate and beneficial results. You may also be able, by operating upon the flank and rear of Price's position, to compel him to retire and leave Northeastern Arkansas entirely in your possession. In any event, endeavor to compel the enemy to keep his force so concentrated as to be unable to interfere with the navigation of the river, and, at the same time, hold yourself in such position as to prevent his making a raid into Missouri.

It is important for you to accomplish a decided result as soon as practicable, with a view to a change of your base of operations to some point on the river. To enable you to accomplish this change of base with certainty as soon as your success will justify it, I will keep a force of infantry and artillery ready to move with supplies for your division to some point down the river. So far as I have been able to learn, Osceola is probably the best point for you to communicate with from Crowley's Ridge, but it will probably be best to leave this for you to determine, after you have advanced into the country and obtained more accurate information.

Please communicate with me frequently, and give me full information, so that I may be able to act promptly and understandingly in supporting your movements.

I desire to keep the infantry here until your success shall remove all danger of any aggressive movement of the enemy in this direction.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



[Inclosure No. 2.]

Saint Louis, July 8, 1863.

 Maj. Gen. U.S. GRANT,
Commanding Army of Tennessee, Vicksburg, Miss.:

GENERAL: I congratulate you most heartily upon your glorious triumph at Vicksburg.

I desire, general, as soon as possible to commence active operations in Arkansas, now that you have removed the obstacle which has so long stood in our way, and forced us to remain comparatively idle. You are aware that since active operations in this department ceased last winter, nearly all the troops in my department, except those necessary for police duty, have been sent to re-enforce your army, with the understanding that, as soon as Vicksburg should fall, they, or a sufficient portion of them, would be sent back into my department. It occurs to me that the concentration of the rebel forces near the river, in the vicinity of Vicksburg, may force you to keep all your present forces on or near the river for some time to come. I do not desire to ask anything which will, in any way, embarrass your operation, but simply to inform you what I am prepared and desire to do, and to gain similar information from you so far as your operations affect mine, and thus be prepared to act promptly in harmony with you. It is very important, with reference to my department, to occupy the line of the Arkansas River as soon as possible. This can be done by the use of the Arkansas River, if it be navigable at this season, or, if not, then the White River as far as Devall's Bluff, and the railroad or even wagon road from that place to Little Rock. The force which will be required for this purpose will depend upon operations up the Ouachita and Red Rivers, but I presume will be in no case very large.

I have a cavalry division, full 5,000 strong, now operating in Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas, which is ready to move across the country and join a force of infantry and artillery at any point on the Arkansas or White Rivers, as soon as you can send such three. I have also small bodies of troops in Southwest Missouri and the Indian country, ready to advance and occupy the country south of them as soon as we get possession of the Arkansas River.

I have directed the quartermaster in Saint Louis to send you 500 wagons and teams for your own operations, and will probably have enough left to supply the forces which are to operate in Arkansas.

Please inform me, general, what you will be able to do, and give me details as to time, &c., as far as possible.

I would like to suggest Major-General Steele as a suitable officer to command the force to be sent into Arkansas.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



[Inclosure No. 3.]

Vicksburg, Miss., July 15, 1863.

Commanding Department of the Missouri:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 8th instant is just received. In answer, I will give you a brief statement of the position of affairs here.

During the siege of Vicksburg, I had a large surplus of troops over what was required to make the investment complete. These troops occupied a line from Haynes' Bluff to Black River, across which Johnston would have to move to reach Vicksburg, or the rear of the investing army. Sherman commanded all these forces, and held them in readiness to move the moment Vicksburg should fall into our hands. Accordingly, on the 4th instant, he started. As soon as the city capitulated, I ordered the whole of Sherman's and Ord's corps, forming about two-thirds of the investing army, to move out and join Sherman. They started the night of the 4th. A portion of McPherson's corps was already with Sherman. This left me at this place but six small brigades. Hearing that the enemy was fortifying Yazoo City most vigorously, 1 sent two of them to that place. They captured it, with considerable stores, five or six pieces of artillery, and several hundred prisoners; but one of the gunboats accompanying the expedition being sunk by the explosion of a torpedo, I shall have to leave them there until the armament and machinery of the vessel can be got away. I have also sent a brigade to Natchez, to collect a large number of Texas cattle supposed to be there, destined for Johnston's army. This, you will see, leaves me no force to move with, until Sherman returns. When this will be it is hard to tell. Johnston commenced to fall back from the Big Black the moment he heard of the surrender of Vicksburg. As all his droves of cattle and wagon trains that fell back, via Canton, were ordered east to the Mobile and Ohio road, he could not have intended to make a determined stand. He drew all his troops, however, inside the intrenchments of Jackson, and remains there yet. Sherman has him closely invested, from the Pearl River on the north to the river on the south. By this an immense deal of rolling stock has been separated from the Confederacy, both north and south of Jackson, and the roads so completely destroyed as to render them forever useless. How long this siege will last it is impossible to say. When Johnston is driven from his position, however, I will have troops available for anything that will go to put down the rebellion. I suppose the Ninth Army Corps will have to be sent back to Burnside, and 10,000 to 12,000 effective men sent to Banks. But for the expedition you speak of, unless other orders should come from Washington, I will still have force enough.

Kirby Smith has been hovering around on the opposite side of the river, with his headquarters at Monroe, and his force scattered from Saint Joseph to Floyd. It has been my intention to pay him a call as soon as possible; but I now learn, and I believe reliably, that all his scattered forces are called in, and the whole are moving to Shreveport, La. The object of the move I don't see, unless it is to avoid being hurt.

I have not paid any special attention to the geography of the opposite side of the river, but suppose at this season of the year White River would have to be used as a base for supplies to reach Little Rock. The Arkansas can hardly be used until the fa11 rains set in.

You will see, from the foregoing statements, that I can give you nothing definite of future operations yet. As soon as I possibly can I will do so. Nothing like 500 wagons will be required with this army to prepare it for any move, and, should any be required, it would probably be only the wagons and harness, without the animals.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



[Inclosure No. 4.]

Saint Louis, Mo., July 15, 1863.


GENERAL: I am informed by the General-in-Chief that you have been ordered to move against Price, who is reported to be somewhere between the Saint Francis and White River. I have sent a cavalry division, about 5,000 strong, under General Davidson, to co-operate with you. He will move from Bloomfield, Mo., on the 17th instant. Will march down Crowley's Ridge, and endeavor to cut off Price's retreat across White River. He will carry supplies to last him until he can communicate with you at Helena or some other point. If you could send supplies for General Davidson's command by boat up the Saint Francis to Madison or Wittsburg, it would facilitate his operations. I am not aware whether this is practicable or not. In any event, I respectfully request you to assist General Davidson as far as in your power in opening communication with you and in obtaining supplies from Helena.

I can send you some wagons if you need them. Please advise me of your movements, and let me know if I can assist you in any way.

General Prentiss, I am informed, has left Helena, and I am unable to learn who is now in command.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



[Inclosure No. 5.]

Saint Louis, July 15, 1863.

 Brigadier-General DAVIDSON,
Cape Girardeau:

The force at Helena has been ordered to move on Price's rear. Your command should move forward as soon as possible to prevent his escape across the river. The plan you suggest in your letter of the 10th is very good; you should take supplies enough to last until you can draw from Madison or Helena. How soon can you move?



[Inclosure No. 6.]

Saint Louis, July 15, 1863.

 Brigadier-General DAVIDSON,
Bloomfield, Mo.:

I have written to Helena about your movement, and asked assistance for you in obtaining supplies at Madison or Wittsburg. If this cannot be done, you will have to draw from Helena. Take care in your movements to cover Pilot Knob and Rolla until Marmaduke is no longer in position to threaten those places. Port Hudson surrendered on the 7th, with 6,000 prisoners.



[Inclosure No. 7.]

Vicksburg, Miss., July 21, 1863.

 Major-General SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:

GENERAL: I am sending, or will send, as soon as transportation can be provided, one division (about 5,000 effective men) to operate in Price's rear. These are the only troops I have not exhausted and worn down. In addition to these, there will probably be 3,000 more to spare from the garrison of Helena and from West Tennessee.

Johnston has been totally routed from Jackson, and will, no doubt, lose half his army from desertion, and the balance will be so broken down and demoralized that but little danger need be apprehended from them for the next sixty days.

My troops are not yet in from Jackson; no part of them. Should it be necessary to send more troops to Helena, I can send from here men to hold that place, and release the entire garrison to look after Price. Possibly this will be the better course to pursue.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



[Inclosure No 8. ]

WASHINGTON, D. C., July 27, 1863.

 Major-General SCHOFIELD:

The expeditionary corps in Arkansas will act under your general orders. General Grant will garrison Helena with his troops, so as to render present garrison available for the field.



[Inclosure No. 9.]

Saint Louis, Mo., August 6, 1863.

 Major-General HURLBUT,
Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, Memphis, Tenn.:

GENERAL: Since the assignment of Major-General Steele to the command of the force which is to operate in Arkansas from Helena, I have not thought it necessary to enter much into detail concerning the plan of operations. From his previous campaign in Arkansas, General Steele is thoroughly acquainted with the country, and is also familiar with my views and those of the General-in-Chief regarding the true theory of operations in Arkansas.

The first object to be accomplished is, of course, the destruction of the rebel army as an organized force, and hence the movements of our troops must be guided very much by those of the enemy. In reference to this matter, I take it the commander in the field must be left to his own discretion, guided by the information he may be able to obtain from day to day.

The second object is to gain possession of, and permanently hold, as much of the State as practicable. For this purpose, the natural line of operations during the season of high water is the Arkansas River, and its permanent possession and use is of the greatest importance as a means of securing Missouri and Northern Arkansas against future rebel inroads. At this season we are compelled to use the White River instead of the Arkansas, and can use it to advantage only to a certain point, which is to be determined by the enemy's position and movements and the character of the wagon roads leading to and from it. I presume Clarendon or Des Arc will be the highest point to which the river can be used to advantage. But of this General Steele can judge more accurately than I can. On account of the short distance by land from Helena to either Clarendon or Des Arc, it will, no doubt, be much the best for the troops to march to the point selected, and be met there by gunboats and supplies. It may be advisable to send a small force of infantry, say, a brigade and a light battery, with the flotilla, to assist in capturing or dispersing any force that may be found along the river. I am not informed that there is any fortified place on the White River below Devall's Bluff, and presume there is none. No doubt the commanding officer at Helena has accurate information on this point. Should there be such a place below the point to which the boats are to ascend, of course an adequate force must be sent with the flotilla to capture it.

Having crossed White River, the important point to be gained is Little Rock That or some point near it will, I presume, be defended obstinately. I am not informed to what extent it is fortified, if at all; but presume it will be found necessary to reduce some place of considerable strength on the Arkansas River, not far from Little Rock. This, I hope, will end the main part of the work to be done by our troops as a body in that part of the country. I presume the rebel army, being driven from the vicinity of Little Rock, will retreat to Arkadelphia, perhaps beyond. How far they may be pursued will depend upon contingencies which it is impossible to foresee, and must be left for the future to determine.

It is my desire to get possession of the whole length of the Arkansas River to Fort Smith, and open communication by that line with the troops now tinder General Blunt in the Indian Territory. This probably cannot be done for the present on account of the low stage of water above as well as below Little Rock; but in a comparatively short time the fall rains will make the river navigable to Fort Smith. We ought to be in condition to take advantage of high water as soon as it comes, to send supplies to Fort Smith, and make preparations for a winter campaign south and west of that point, as well as Little Rock.

On account of the unnavigable condition of the Arkansas during a large portion of the year, it is important to have easy communication from Little Rock to some point on White River. The rolling stock on the Little Rock and Memphis Railroad should be secured, if possible. Failing in this, the wagon road from Des Arc or Clarendon should be made practicable at all seasons.

I desire to obtain telegraphic communication with Little Rock as soon as possible after it shall be occupied by our troops. Presuming the line from Cairo to Memphis will soon be repaired and kept in order, the best line for my purposes will be directly from Little Rock to Memphis. This line can, I presume, be protected with very little difficulty. I will send a telegraph corps in time to construct it, as soon as they can be protected.

It was my intention, when General Davidson was ordered forward from Bloomfield, that he should preserve his connection with that place, and operate against the enemy's cavalry until the movements of the force from Helena should compel them to retreat, or cut them off, and enable him to destroy them. Meanwhile he would have protected my present line. His movement to Wittsburg, leaving Marmaduke so far in his rear, exposed my advanced posts to attack and capture, and compelled me to withdraw some of them, which was done in time to prevent any loss beyond the capture of a considerable train and its escort.

During the past few days the rebel cavalry has shown no disposition to advance farther in this direction, and perhaps their timidity may save us from the damage which they could easily inflict without any great danger to themselves. If General Steele's column moves soon, or General Davidson threatens Marmaduke while Steele is completing his preparations, nothing further will be probably necessary to prevent any movement of the enemy in this direction in greater force than I can take care of. General Davidson's movement to Wittsburg was doubtless caused by the belief that the column from Helena was to start immediately, and, hence, that his best plan was to join it as soon as possible. General Davidson is a most excellent and energetic officer, and has a splendid division of cavalry. I presume General Davidson has already reported to General Steele, and is now acting under his orders. If not, General Steele is authorized to assume command of General Davidson's division, without reference to the conditions contained in my order to the latter, already transmitted. I will so inform General Davidson.

I believe, general, I have mentioned all that is essential for the present time, but will be glad to communicate with you further at any time if you will suggest any point upon which you desire my views.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



[Inclosure No. 10. ]

Saint Louis, Mo., August 7, 1863.

 Brig. Gen. J. W. DAVIDSON,
Comdg. First Cav. Div., Dept. of the Missouri, via Helena, Ark.:

GENERAL: Under instructions from the General-in-Chief, General Grant has sent a force of infantry and artillery to Helena, for the purpose of operating against Price. General Steele is assigned to the command, and it is to act under the orders of General Hurlbut. My troops in that part of Arkansas are, for the time being, to form part of General Steele's command. Hence my dispatch to you of August 1, directing you to report to the officer commanding the expedition from Helena. How long this arrangement will last will, I presume, depend upon the success of the expedition and future demands for troops elsewhere. I have found it necessary to withdraw the force from Chalk Bluffs for the present, and have succeeded in preventing any further damage since the destruction of the train near Bloomfield, of which I telegraphed you.

Marmaduke does not seem inclined to risk any farther advance, I presume in consequence of your proximity to his flank and rear. 1 think you may now safely act directly with General Steele, or in such manner as he may direct, without special reference to the protection of my southern line in Missouri. You will, therefore, report to General Steele, if you have not already done so, and will hereafter act under his orders.

I understand that General Steele's force is still regarded as belonging to the command of General Grant, and that your division is to be regarded as temporarily attached; therefore you will continue to make your reports and returns to these headquarters; of course, furnishing duplicates to General Steele, if he desires them, as, doubtless, he will.

I hope, general, you will keep me fully advised of everything of interest connected with your operations.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,