get this from a reliable Union man who left the vicinity of the enemy Monday night. I sent a party to Pineville Tuesday; all quiet there. Captain Stephens, of Bowen's body guard, surrounded and attacked a party of rebels in arms on Indian Creek, wounding 1, taking 17 prisoners, including 3 captains.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
SAINT LOUIS, March 21, 1862.
Major General JOHN POPE,
New Madrid, Mo.:
GENERAL: Your telegram in relation to canal (without date*) is just received. I heartily approve of your plan. Impress all the negroes your can find to assist in the work. If you can in this way turn and capture the enemy, it will be one of the most brilliant feats of the war.
When occasion requires you will assume command of all the forces under Colonel Buford on the other side of the river, and also those at Columbus. Colonel Buford has a number (five, I think) of large siege pieces. I will not attempt to hamper you with any minute instructions. The great object, you know, is to cut the enemy off from any chance of retreat by water. I leave you to accomplish this according to your own judgment, having full confidence in your ultimate success. Buell will effect a junction with Grant and Smith by Monday. We shall the have 70,000 men at a single point on the Tennessee with which to cut the enemy's center, destroy their railroad connections, and thus cut off the retreat by land of Polk, McCown, &c. Unless the enemy is much stronger at Corinth than reported, I can see no chance of failure. There will probably be a big battle somewhere in that vicinity.
Unfortunately, just as I am preparing additional re-enforcements for the Army of the Tennessee, to make everything still more certain, I have received official dispatches of new troubles in New Mexico and the condition of Colonel Canby's forces. This compels me to immediately fit out a column of 5,000 men for Canby's assistance. I do it most willingly, for the Government has shamefully neglected him, but at the same time it seriously interferes with my plans.
H. W. HALLECK,
Saint Louis, March 21, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
I will immediately organize and send to New Mexico a column of from 4,000 to 5,000, From all the information I can obtain, Major Benjamin W. Brice, Pay Department, now in Kansas, is the most suitable officer for the command if he can be made brigadier-general of volunteers, but he would rank Colonel Canby. I therefore recommend Colonel Canby for same rank. Both would be excellent appointments.
H. W. HALLECK,
*March 19, p. 625.