War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0027 Chapter XXV. GENERAL REPORTS, ETC.

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wrote him that if this report was true I supposed I must give up the long-promised diversion, as his force must then be too weak, and urged upon him to co-operate with mein some other way. I also telegraphed and wrote to General Halleck, suggesting in what way General Steele might co-operate with me if not strong enough to move on Little Rock. At length the delay had been so great that I feared, and with good reason, that it was too late, and so stated to General Steele and to yourself.

The next thing to be done there was to place General Steele where he could be made strong enough to move as desired and at the same time protect Pilot Knob and Rolla, as I state substantially in my report, and not "but to place him in condition to move," &c., as you seem to have read it.

I have not a a copy of my report here, but my memory, I believe, cannot be at fault in this particular. My suggestion was to bring General Steele's force to Cape Girardeau and thence across the country to strike the force threatening Pilot Knob and Rolla. He could then have been re-enforced by what troops I had at and cold send to those places, and thus be made strong enough to move at once into Eastern Arkansas, while I, with the troops at Springfield and Fort Scott should move into Western Arkansas, securing possession of the Arkansas River, at least from Little Rock to Fort Smith. It is not for me to judge whether it was wise under the circumstances to divide General Steele's command into two parts, each too weak to make any aggressive movement, and thus continue the defensive policy of which I had been so long complaining. But I have no hesitation on saying that I would have called out all the militia of Missouri to defend Pilot Knob and Rolla before I would have ordered such a division of the force at Helena.

Aside from the expense of transporting the troops from and to Helena, I also " do not perceive any material damage growing out of it," excepting the failure to push our forces into the Arkansas Valley during the only season favorable to military operations over long overland lines.

If, as I understand you to maintain the movement into Eastern Arkansas was impracticable at that time, the delay was unavoidable. If, on the contrary, as held by General Halleck and General Steele, the move was practicable, we have lost several months of the best season of the year by the division of General Steele's command. As this division was essentially different from anything I suggested, whether wise or unwise, it is not just to quote me as authority for it.

The regiments which I speak of in my report as having been detained in Rolla were the Thirty-third Missouri and the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Iowa. As they had not joined me (and have not up to the present time), I had a right to presume that they were "detained" by your orders. I did not speak of that detention to complain of it, for the Kansas Division having been paced under my command made me strong enough for the time being, but to show that the force at and near Rolla was sufficient for its defense.

While I do not see the propriety of discussing in my report the propriety of the movement of General Steele, or of sending with it all the papers bearing on the question, I am perfectly willing that it should be accompanied by any paper which you may think proper to write explanatory of your action in the matters to which I have alluded. If you will furnish me with a copy of your explanation and of the accompanying documents I will cheerfully send it to Colonel Kelton,with the request