War of the Rebellion: Serial 024 Page 0532 WEST TENN. AND NORTHERN MISS. Chapter XXIX.

Search Civil War Official Records

killed and 14 wounded. I have every reason to believe the enemy suffered far more severely.

Besides burning bridges on both railroads, cutting telegraph wires, and tearing up the track our troops destroyed 1 locomotive and about 30 freight cars and took 40 prisoners.

As for bravery, energy, endurance, forbearance, and cheerfulness the conduct of officers and men was admirable. Exposed for ten days to storms and cold they seemed as fresh and ready for service on their return as they were on the day of their embarkation. Their health under the circumstances is remarkable, and I cannot refrain from saying that it may to a great extent be attributed to the watchfulness and care of Surgeons Jessup and Casselberry and the medical corps under their charge. To the members of my staff, Captain John E. Phillips, assistant adjutant-general; Captain Owen and Lieutenant McQuiddy, I am under many obligations for their untiring energy, bravery, and endurance. They fully performed their respective duties.

I cannot refrain from stating to you the effects of the great evil growing out of our commercial intercourse with the rebels. Unprincipled sharpers and Jews supplying the enemy with all they want. Our forces penetrated 90 miles into the very heart of Mississippi and everywhere we were met with boots, shoes, clothing, and goods purchased by open and avowed rebels at Delta and Friar's Point. The Yankees are deluging the country with contraband goods, and letters intercepted from the army show from whence they are receiving their supplies. War and commerce with the same people? What a Utopian dream! Every secret of our camps is carried, by the same men that formerly sold their God for thirty pieces of silver, to our worst enemies for a few pounds of cotton. I have made three expeditions into the enemy's country beyond Helena, and everywhere I find the blighting effects of their cupidity. No expedition has ever been dreamed of at Helena that these blood-hounds of commerce have not scented out and carried to our enemies days in advance.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding Expedition.

Brigadier General FRED. STEELE,

Commanding Eastern District of Arkansas.

HEADQUARTERS EXPEDITION, &C., Steamer Emma, December 6, 1862.

GENERAL: I have just arrived. The head of our column will be within 7 miles of Delta to-night, and we will have to have boats to take the troops to Helena. The road to Helena is impassable on the Mississippi side, and I think time would be saved if the whole force could disembark at Helena. The men are much fatigued and worn down by traveling through the mud.

Following in the rear of the commands are at least 500 contrabands of all sizes, shapes, shades, and conditions. What shall be done with them? Shall I bring them to Helena or leave them on the bank?

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding Expedition.

Brigadier General FRED. STEELE.