not necessary to wait the move down river. Your quartermaster must gather up transport boats of suitable draught, and they must be protected by planking pilot-house and placing bales of hay around boilers and engines. I want to hear from you as soon and often as possible. This immediate move toward Little Rock will perhaps divert from the main move down the Mississippi, besides securing ulterior objects, to which I have alluded. I have just spoken to the quartermaster to send down more light draught boats to aid your movements up the rivers. I will write again soon.
I am, general, very truly, your obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Numbers 32.
Saint Louis, Mo., December 20, 1862.
The demand for fuel for steamboats engaged in the public and Government service requires that proprietors of wood-yards be specially encouraged to increase their supply of wood on the river banks. Owners and masters of steamboats traversing rivers in the Department of the Missouri will be required to make payment in cash for all wood received by them at any wood-yard on the banks of any river within this department. Such payments, at a reasonable price, must be made on the delivery of the wood. The refusal or neglect to make such reasonable compensation upon receiving the fuel will subject owners and masters of steamboats to arrest punishment, and their property to seizure and confiscation, at the discretion of the general commanding the department.
By command of Major-General Curtis:
H. Z. CURTIS,
HELENA, ARK., December 22, 1862.
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS:
DEAR SIR: The advance I wrote to you of a few days ago is being sent forward with commendable zeal. The preparation is large, and yet I think there will be but little fighting to get possession of Vicksburg.
A considerable band of guerrillas still lurk around here, committing all kinds of depredations. Last evening a company of the Sixth Missouri were on pick duty on the Saint Francis road, 26 strong and were attacked by this band of thieves, and 23 of the 26 killed and wounded, 3 only making their escape.
I still learn from secesh that all the troops in this State are under Marmaduke and Hindman, in the northwest of this State, and contemplate an attack on Missouri. The officers still continue to stimulate their men with the promise of leading them to Saint Louis to winter. Too strict a watch cannot be kept on them, as they will try no doubt to come Steward over the Federal troops by making raids past our lines, as they are very destitute and growing desperate. All kinds of meanness is practiced here, from the valuable of a jack-knife to a mule, and but for the strict watch that is kept a wholesale business would be done. More anon.
H. J. BROOKS.