HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, December 10, 1862.
Honorable JAMES W. GRIMES:
DEAR SIR: Yours of the -instant is received. Stanton is here, and will report, according to orders. In the matter of a down-river movement, Commodore Davis properly states the facts. The fleet came up to Helena soon after my arrival, leaving the mouths of the Arkansas rivers in the enemy's hands. My proper lines of operation in Arkansas required me to move across these rives, and I was therefore anxious to have possession of them. But the clearing out of the Mississippi, so that the rebels could not come out of their hives and go prowling up and down the rivers, was obviously a necessary preliminary measure. Commodore Davis concurred with me, and we came together at Cairo to confer with our chiefs at Washington. The commodore was ill, and I conducted a telegraphic correspondence though General Halleck, which concluded by the general saying, in substance, that the taking of Vicksburg should not be attempted at that time. I showed my correspondence to the commodore, and went back to Helena, when we got up a joint movement on a small scale. Went down and took and destroyed a battery in the mouth of the Yazoo, within 10 or 15 miles of Vicksburg; took a steamer loaded with muskets; marched into Louisiana, opposite Vicksburg, and destroyed the railroad depot and telegraph station some 15 miles west of Vicksburg. I am since informed that our movement created a great stampede in Vicksburg.
I am thus careful to reply only simple facts to your letter, as i dislike to speak of what I have suggested to a superior officer, and should not now have done so, if you had not asked me concerning what Commodore, Davis had informed you. I ask no credit for what I have not done, it having been my fate to find my hands always busy, as my heart is still earnest, in efforts to quell infernal rebellion. Iowa has tarnished every battle-field in the West with the blood of her gallant sons, and it is enough for me to feel confident the country will award us our due share of commendation.
You will mourn with me the recent loss of Lieutenant-Colonel McFarland, the only field officer we lost in the battle near Fayetteville, Ark.
Please give my kindest regards to Mrs. Grimes, and believe me, very truly your obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE FRONTIER,
In the Field, Rhea's Mills, Ark., December 12, 1862.
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: The only movement of the rebel army of which I have any fear is, that Hindman may unite his forces with those at Austin, in which case I would not have sufficient force to risk a battle. Cannot a force be sent to menace Little Rock, and attract the attention of the rebels at Austin? Can you inform me of the locality of General Warren's command, and can he be brought in supporting distance if I am threatened with an overwhelming force?
JAS. G. BLUNT,