War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0017 Chapter XXV. GENERAL REPORTS, ETC.

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was apparently about ready to commence a general aggressive movement. Want of arms for the conscripts was evidently the only cause of delay. Their forces were more numerous than ours at every point. The fortunate capture of several thousand stand of arms by the national gunboats on the Mississippi delayed the enemy's advance and gave us time for preparation.

On September 12 I informed the general-in-chief of the state of affairs, and asked him for the long-expected co-operation of the army at Helena. Also on August 28 and September 11 I urged the necessity of united action between General Totten's command in Southwestern Missouri and that of General Blunt in Kansas (neither force alone being sufficient to cope with the enemy), and suggested that on this account they should be placed under the same command. I had concentrated at Springfield all the force that could be spared from other portions of the State, and had sent forward, under Brigadier-General Herron, four regiments of infantry of the new levies, which had been sent me at my request. The force at Pilot Knob and Rolla was also increased, so as to make those points secure against any present danger, while the large reserve of enrolled militia in the city and county of Saint Louis, under command of Brigadier General J. B. Gray, was ordered to be prepared as soon as possible to re-enforce these places should an unexpected emergency arise.

Having thus, as I believed, secured the eastern portion of the State against any immediate danger, and in expectation of a favorable reply from the general-in-chief touching the desired co-operation of General Steele's and General Blunt's forces, I determined to go to Springfield at once and take command in person of the united forces, and, in conjunction with General Steele, to drive the enemy not only from Missouri but from the Arkansas Valley. At the moment of my departure I received a communication from the general-in-chief directing me to communicate with General Steele and endeavor to arrange some plan of co-operation with my troops. I immediately dispatched a letter to General Steele at Helena (of which the inclosed, marked A, is a copy), urging upon him the necessity of immediate action. I had long been promised that a diversion in my favor on the part of the force at Helena would be made by a movement into the interior of Arkansas, and had repeatedly and urgently requested that it might not be longer delayed.

I was apprehensive that even then the movement had been too long delayed to be effectual and presumed that the cause of his delay must be that the commanding general at Helena did not regard his force as strong enough for the purpose. I therefore suggested that the force at Helena should be thrown between the enemy and my troops at Pilot Knob and Rolla, where it could be re-enforced by the latter and thus be made strong enough for the desired movement, and at the same time cover my base of operations and the Rolla and Springfield line. I had no thought of asking for a part of General Steele's force simply to assist me in holding Pilot Knob and Rolla, but to place him in condition to move immediately and effectually on Little Rock if he was not already prepared to do so. This, it seems to me, is the only construction that can be put upon my letter to General Steele and my subsequent telegram to General Curtis (copy of which is herewith inclosed and marked B), although they seem to have been misunderstood. This misapprehension is the only reason for my alluding to the matter here. It is to be observed that at the date of my letter to General Steele Kansas and Missouri were not in the same department, and that even at