Your speak of my detaining regiments at Rolla. Colonel Glover and General Davidson had attempted to stop troops at Rolla and sent out four to Salem to check reported rebels coming up by Houston.
You think a wrong inference has been drawn as to your communications relating to General Steele, saying it was "but to place him in condition to move immediately and effectively on Little Rock." As some question has been raised as to this matter, it would seem proper for you to place in your report more than a mere reference to an exhibit showing two items of the evidence, and I present to you fuller details. On the 17th September you telegraphed General Halleck that "Pilot Knob and Rolla are threatened. * * * If General Steele's force is not strong enough to move from Helena would it not be well to bring it up to Cape Girardeau?" Next day General Halleck telegraphed to you, "Communicate with General Steele and endeavor to arrange some system of co-operation with your forces." The same day you wrote to General Steele relative to the necessity of immediate co-operation:
* * * A force of probably 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 up from Batesville toward Rolla.
* * * Indeed I fear the move on Little Rock has been too long delayed to be effective now, even if made successful.
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 of 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.
General Steele, in reply, September 23, shown the impracticability of going to Batesville, and saying:
If this command is to co-operate with you, the surest and quickest way would be for us to go to Rolla by way of Saint Louis. The Cape Girardeau plan is impracticable.
This shows how General Steele understood your views of co-operation. In the same letter he says he will probably move on Little Rock. On my arrival on the 24th you specially called my attention to the telegraph of General Halleck, directing you to secure Steele's co-operation. The remoteness of Steele's position from you made me doubt the possibility of any salutary co-operation by General Steele, and I telegraphed to you:
General Halleck must have supposed Steele was at or near his old point-Reeves' Station. Little Rock would be the best diversion by Steele.
General Halleck knew that Steele was at Helena. If he can move on Little Rock immediately it will undoubtedly be the best diversion, if it is not already too late. If Hindman, by a bold move, can get into Missouri he will not hesitate on account of a force in his rear. * * * My only fear is that a move may be made upon some point east of him to cut my Rolla line and stop my re-enforcements.
On the 26th you wrote me in reply to my inquiry about the enemy:
Rains states his whole force, including those just mentioned, at 42,000. This statement was made for our ears. It is doubtless from 20,000 to 25,000.
And in the same letter you state:
The force below, under McBride and Parsons, at 8,000, coming up White River.
All these facts show how very natural it was for me to understand that General Halleck and you desired immediate co-operation by Steele; that you considered the best way by Cape Girardeau, but you acquiesced in a move on Little Rock if immediate. Hence I ordered Steele,