In regard to General Blunt, I would say that he is, beyond question, a good fighting man. Last evening I spent with him at Rhea's Mills. Major Van Antwerp is here, and makes a very efficient officer.
In conclusion, general, permit me to say that you have here a good, reliable army, but there are some officers that must be cleared out. They are worse than worthless. It was a narrow escape getting rid of Colonel Wright.
With kind regards to Mrs. Curtis, Major Harry, and others, I am, very respectfully, your friend,
F. J. HERRON,
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS,
HDQRS. 2nd AND 3rd DIVS., ARMY OF THE FRONTIER, Battle-field of Prairie Grove, Ark., December 19, 1862.
GENERAL: In reviewing the operations of the 7th instant, I must necessity commence my report a few days previous to that date.
On the morning of December 3, I was encamped, with the Second and Third Divisions of the Army of the Frontier, at Wilson's Creek, Mo., and there received your dispatch announcing the advance of the rebel forces under General Hindman, and ordering me to move forward, with my command, to your support, at Cane Hill, Ark. Within three hours after the receipt of your dispatch, the Third Division was in motion, the Second soon following.
Reaching Elkhorn on the evening of the 5th instant, I there received your ordered forward all my cavalry to you, and, in obedience thereto, I ordered forward Colonel Wickersham, with the Tenth Illinois, First Iowa, Eighth Missouri, and First Battalion Second Wisconsin Cavalry, all of which reached you safely.
On Sunday morning, the 7th instant, at 4 o'clock, I arrived at Fayetteville, having marched all night, and was pushing rapidly forward, expecting to join you by 10 o'clock of the same day, when, 6 miles south of Fayetteville, my advance, consisting of two companies of the First Missouri Volunteer Cavalry, under Major J. M. Hubbard, discovered a body of cavalry falling back on the road in great disorder. It proved to be the First Arkansas and Seventh Missouri Cavalry, that were moving forward to join you, and had been attacked by a large force of rebel cavalry, under General Marmaduke, near Illinois Creek, 10 miles from Cane Hill. After some effort, the retreating cavalry were checked and reformed; but in holding the rebel advance, the First Battalion First Missouri Cavalry was severely handled and Major Hubbard taken prisoner. Here the rebels formed in line of battle, but on opened fire upon them with a section of Battery E, First Missouri Artillery, they were soon put to flight, and driven back 4 miles, to Illinois Creek. Here I discover the enemy in position directly in front on each side of the road, occupying a high ridge, about three-quarters of a mile from the ford of the creek, covered with timber and thick underbrush.
Wishing to feel the position of the enemy, I ordered the Ninety fourth Illinois Infantry, with a section of Battery E, First Missouri Light Artillery, across the creek, and opened fire upon them. Their batteries were in good position, commanding the ford of the creek, and,