DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
November 23, 1862.
Rear-Admiral D. D. PORTER, Cairo, Ill.:
Dispatch from Elkhorn, Ark., reports Arkansas River bank full at Van Buren. I am also informed there is very little force on river bank. It would be a good time to run gunboats up Arkansas and take boats and Little Rock.
The only force at Arkansas Post has probably been routed by my forces, under General Hovey.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
GENERAL ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST, Numbers 19.
Saint Paul, Minn., November 23, 1862.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: Another month has transpired since my acceptance of your order placing me in this command. The enemy has again fallen back, and beyond the Boston Mountains, except about 6,000 near Cotton Plant and 1,500 near Yellville. In the valley of the Arkansas, as near as I can ascertain, there are about 50,000, distributed at different points near Little Rock and Van Buren.
The Secretary of War has ordered a regiment from Alton, and Blair's brigade (three regiments) and the Second Ohio Cavalry. All except this last regiment go down the river.
Under your order to send General Steele with all I could spare from Pilot Knob, I sent about 4,000. To meet pressing demands occasioned by these drafts from this vicinity, and to guard prisoners, who have greatly accumulated by the surrender of most of the bushwhackers of Missouri, I have detained the Thirty-second and Thirty-third Iowa Infantry.
I have authorized a short expedition from Helena on the Arkansas Post, via White River, which only requires a trip of one day up White River on boats and a 15 mile march. I deemed it very important to check the progress of fortifications the rebels had commenced at that place. This move from Helena is so short that it will not prevent the force falling into line just as readily for a down river movement, which I take for granted you are maturing.
In connection with this, being telegraphed from Elkhorn Tavern that the Arkansas was bank full at Van Buren, I suggested a move of the Navy on that river with a gunboat; but the rear-admiral replied that his