Matters remained thus till about the 26th ultimo, when Brigadier-General Steele, having assumed command, found General Grant moving toward Grenada, and through General Sherman urging immediate action, allowed General Hovey to move without further orders from you, immediately reporting the facts to me, and for which I immediately asked your approval.
The movement conformed to my instructions, destroying the railroad in rear of the rebel army, and inducing him to retreat eastward, abandoning his railroad facilities. I consider the movement a decided success, and transmit the details of reports, specially approving the energy and spirit manifested by Brigadier-Generals Hovey and Washburn.
I have the honor, general, to be, your obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
Major General H. W. HALLECK, Commander-in-Chief.
Report of Brigadier General Frederick Steele, U. S. Army, commanding District of Eastern Arkansas.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS, Helena, Ark., November 27, 1862.
GENERAL: An expedition, composed of 2,000 cavalry and eight small guns, under General Washburn, and a supporting column of 5,000 infantry and fourteen field pieces, under General Hovey, left here this morning for the purpose of making a dash upon the railroad near Grenada and creating a diversion in favor of Grant's movement.
The whole command will debark at Delta and take the Ridge road, striking the Tallahatchie at Charleston.
Washburn will push ahead as rapidly as possible with bateaux and plank to effect a crossing of the river, and attempt to damage both branches of the railroad above Grenada, when he is to fall back upon the supporting forces at Charleston.
General Sherman, after having had an interview with General Grant, addressed a letter to the commander of this station requesting that some such movement might he made, and General Hovery showed me a communication from you on the same subject.
I directed General Hovey to be governed in the details of the movement by the instructions contained in your communication to him.
I learned from a late captain just from Price's army, a New Yorker, that the entire force under Pemberton's command will scarcely amount to 50,000; that they are disheartened and demoralized and will make but a feeble resistance. I have no doubt but that Grant will meet with complete success.
Montgomery has just returned from Post of Arkansas; he was inside of the fort. I will send you a sketch. There is plenty of water in White River and the Arkansas is still higher.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS, Saint Louis, Mo.
34 R R-VOL XVII