HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE SOUTHWEST,
Cross Timber, March 28, 1862.
Captain N. H. MCLEAN,
CAPTAIN: A scout from Fort Scott reports that Deitzler is ordered to New Mexico. What does this mean? Price has announced his march against me with re-enforcements, starting on the 26th. No re-enforcements and no artillery ammunition has yet arrived for me.
The time of Phelps' regiment is ending and it wants to go out. I hae ordered forward all available detachments, but mainly depended on Kansas forces, which I have been assured were moving to this command. Price, at last accounts, was making great preparations for another march, and if he is coming this way I should surely be re-enforced.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
Saint Louis, March 28, 1862.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington:
SIR: I have directed that Jefferson Barracks be evacuated, the public property to be removed, and the buildings to be turned over to the medical department for a hospital. General Buell reports the number sick and absent of his army (of 101,000 men) to be 30,000, or nearly one in every three. This is certainly an enormous sick list for an army that has been engaged in no serious battle. Of the regiments which I have recently sent up the Tennessee River, now numbering in all about 50,000 men, all the sick were left behind in hospital, and yet, after being less than two weeks in the field, it is reported that 5,000 men are already on the sick list. This, at a healthy season of the year, is certainly an unprecedented condition of things, and would seem to indicate a radical deficiency somewhere. I am confident it does not result from a want of proper provisions and hospital stores, fro no army was ever better supplied. I have given the subject as much attention as my time would permit, and I think one great source of the evil is in the incompetency of the brigade and regimental surgeons of volunteers. It is alleged that men are placed on the sick list and given certificates of inability as a mere mater of favoritism, in order that they may visit their homes or avoid disagreeable service in the field. On several occasions I have ordered medical boards to re-examine men sent from the field to the hospitals in this city, and a large portion of those so re-examined have been reported fit for duty in the field. This is a serious evil, but very difficult to remove. To order men into the field who are reported by their surgeons as sick would seem a cruel procedure on the part of a commander.
In detailing General Denver for the command in Kansas I followed the advice of the officers of General Hunter's staff. They gave it as their opinion that he was best suited for the place, and as I had very little personal acquaintance with him I felt bound to follow the best advice I could obtain. Subsequent information convinces me that it was good, and that a better selection could not have been made. there are few, if any, enemies in Kansas, and the qualities most required there are administrative. I think General Denver would preserve peace on