HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, December 25, 1862.
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:
GENERAL: In obedience to your orders and suggestions, I have ordered my present command to be ready to move at once.
After a full conference with Generals Sherman, Washburn, an others, all concurring, I have determined to move to Napoleon and abandon this place. This point has no more military advantage than any other on the banks of the river, between Memphis and Napoleon. The large siege guns in fort must not be instructed to a small garrison. I have only 5,700 infantry and 3,100 cavalry on paper, as per report sent you four days ago. I will place the siege guns on the ordnance boat and the large wharf boat, and take them to napoleon and destroy the fort. By being at Napoleon, I am at the mouth of the Arkansas River, while Blunt and Herron are at Van Buren. In moving up the Arkansas, I will have the gunboats on my right flank, followed by the transports and supplies. The moral effect of the gunboats to inspirit our own forces and deter the enemy is known to be tremendous. A disaster cannot occur, and success is certain. But I must have at least 10,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, and thirty pieces of artillery, and 1,000 infantry, 500 cavalry, and one battery to be left at Napoleon. Shall tow up the Arkansas River to Old Post one mortar boat, which I have here, and leave one mortar boat at napoleon. By this move threaten Little Rock from the southeast, while Blunt and Herron threaten it from the northwest. At Napoleon I am midway between Memphis and Vicksburg.
I beg to inform you that General Hurlbut, at Memphis, and General Davies, at Columbus, have taken the responsibility to stop the Iowa and Missouri troops and the battery ordered by you to report to me. Colonel Chipman is here, and fully concurs in my plan of operations. He is writing you fully. I cannot garrison this place and move to any other with my present force.
This place has my maturest judgment and conviction.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. GORMAN,
SPRINGFIELD, December 25, 1862.
Major-General CURTIS, Saint Louis:
One of my spies, who left Cotton Plant, on White River, about three weeks ago, has just returned. He heard, at Carrollton, six days ago, a general report that McCulloch was on the way to re-enforce Hindman with 15,000 men. The report was not credited by intelligent men at Carrollton, but, taken in connection with that from Helena, is entitled to considerable weight. I have heard nothing from Generals Blunt or Herron since I left Saint Louis.
I will start for Fayetteville in the morning.
J. M. SCHOFIELD,