HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE SOUTHWEST,
March 27, 1862.
Captain N. H. MCLEAN,
CAPTAIN: A reliable friend from Huntsville says Price's army is losing and gaining. Van Dorn goes East, leaving Price in command. He must attack me soon or the Missouri troops will leave him. Expects fifteen regiments from Texas. Four contrabands just arrived. Left Van Buren Sunday last. They think most of the troops are ordered to Little Rock and Memphis, and were about going. They say the troops were badly whipped and swear they won't fight us again; that all who won't join the Confederates are breaking for home.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
SAINT LOUIS, March 28, 1862.
General Pope is confident that he can turn the enemy's position by crossing below. give him all the assistance in your power by the use of your gunboats. I think that by a combined operation the object can be accomplished. One or two gunboats are very necessary to protect his crossing. Assist him in this if you can.
H. W. HALLECK,
NEW MADRID, March 28, 1862.
Our canal approaches completion. It has been a great labor to cut through the swamps, but to-morrow brings us to the bayou which conducts to this place. During progress of this work have had two heavy barges lashed together, strengthened all around with 4 feet thick of heavy timber, and to be lined with batters of pressed hay, and to carry one columbiad and two Dahlgrens. Four steamers will be brought through immediately. I have little doubt of success in crossing and capturing everything.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Saint Louis, March 28, 1862.
General POPE, New Madrid:
I have telegraphed to Commodore Foote to give all the aid in his power. You have a difficult problem to solve. I will not embarrass you with instructions. I leave you free to act as your judgment may deem best.
H. W. HALLECK,