War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0113 Chapter XXV. OPERATIONS IN WHITE RIVER, ARK.

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I would attempt communication with him up the Cache. The attempt, with caution, I believe would be successful. At all events there need be no risk of disaster.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. N. FITCH,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Major-General GRANT, Commanding Memphis, Tenn.

HEADQUARTERS INDIANA BRIGADE,

On board White Cloud, White River, Ark., July 14, 1862.

SIR: My dispatches to you of 8th, from Clarendon, and of 10th, from Saint Charles, apprised you that circumstantial evidence sufficient in mind to justify a movement of the command in that direction was obtained; that General Curtis was at or near Cotton Plant, on Cache River. In the former dispatch you were advised that an expedition was fitted out and on the point of staring, but was abandoned in consequence of receipt of yours of 6th instant, and that the fleet left Clarendon that evening. Soon after its arrival at Saint Charles, on the evening of the 11th, a scouting party brought in a prisoner, whose statement was positive that General Curtis had been but two or three days previous to that at Cotton Plant, seeking to make his way to Clarendon, where he was expected to arrive that evening (11th). Immediately two transports, with howitzers and six companies of troops, under Major Grill, of Twenty-fourth Indiana, were ordered to return to Clarendon with dispatch and ascertain the truth of the statement, and communicate with him if possible. On arriving at that place 2 p. m. of the 12th, Major Grill ascertained that General Curtis had been there the evening of the 9th, and that his rear guard (cavalry) had left on the road to Helena only two hours previous. The howitzers on the transports fired signals all the afternoon. Hearing no response they returned to Saint Charles, reaching there abut 1 a. m. of the 13th. A strong scouting party was immediately ordered, led by myself, with a view of reaching that road and intersecting his line of march. The party left camp at 3 a. m., and after a laborious march of 18 miles, finding he had passed the point where we reached the immediate vicinity of the Helena road eight hours, it was deemed useless for infantry, the only troops at my command, to attempt, especially during the extreme heat which prevails, to overtake him, and not absolutely essential it should be done, as it was presumed that his army could not be more than 20 to 30 miles from Helena, and his advance perhaps already there. The party returned, therefore, to the transports, and they were ordered to leave forthwith for Helena. On the morning of the 9th, soon after our attack of the night previous upon a camp of the enemy 7 miles from Devall's Bluff, that place was evacuated, the enemy taking his guns and munitions to Little Rock, tearing up the railroad track behind him.

He appears to be concentrating all his troops at that place.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. N. FITCH,

Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Major-General GRANT, Commanding at Memphis.

8 R R-VOL XIII