HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., September 18, 1862.
Commanding Army in Arkansas, Helena, Ark.:
GENERAL: In reply to a letter to General Halleck, relative to the necessity for immediate co-operation between your troops and mine to prevent an invasion of Missouri, I have just now received the following:
Communicate with General Steele and endeavor to arrange some system of co-operation with your forces. I have not heard from him but once for a long time.
I cannot urge upon you too strongly the importance to me of some co-operation on your part. A force of probably at least 30,000 men, under Hindman, is now invading Missouri in the southwest, while another force, the strength of which I have not yet learned (but it is by no means small), is moving from Batesville toward Rolla. For me to withstand both of these columns without some assistance from you I believe will be impossible. I am sending forward re-enforcements to Springfield as fast as possible, and am at this moment about starting myself to take command there. I am not able to see any necessity for your force remaining at Helena. If it is not strong enough to move on Little Rock, and thus divert a portion of the force moving into Missouri, it should be united to mine, and thus be made strong enough for the purpose. Indeed, I fear the move on Little Rock has been too long delayed to be effective now, even if made successfully.
I see now only two ways in which your force can be made available to assist in checking the rebel movement upon Missouri, and it is my opinion that one or the other of them should be adopted at once. The one is to retrace your steps to Batesville and strike in the rear the force now threatening Rolla; the other is to move your force by the river to Cape Girardeau and thence across the country for the same purpose. You can judge probably better than I which of these would be preferable; or perhaps some other plan may suggest itself to you. Should you come to Cape Girardeau, your cavalry might, I believe, come by land, taking the route followed by Colonel Daniels, of the First Wisconsin Cavalry. Whatever plan you may adopt, general, I hope you will move quickly. There is more at stake upon it than you can well appreciate where you are. New troops are coming in rapidly, but there is great deficiency of arms. This will be supplied in due time, when we will have force sufficient to speedily regain what we have lost, unless by attempting to hold advanced positions we lose everything.
With these suggestions I leave the matter in your hands. Please inform me as soon as possible what you do. Unless something be done now I shall lose a large part of Missouri.
I send this by my brother, E. M. Schofield. Please send a reply by him and also by telegraph from the nearest station.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
SPRINGFIELD, MO., September 25, 1862.
Major-General CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of to-day [following] is received. General