entirely on me? New Madrid is just as important as any other river point. I can send no more to memphis, and need forces on my side of the river.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
SAINT LOUIS, December 29, 1862.
Commanding Officer of the Army of the Frontier:
The attack on the railroad in rear of General Grant's army has given great trouble and made great demands on me, and prevented the possibility of a move from Helena at present. New Madrid is abandoned, and Thompson is moving into Missouri. General Brown fears a move on Springfield. You have finished the matter in Northwest Arkansas gloriously, and must come nearer supplies and nearer to other dangers.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, December 29, 1862.
Brigadier General WILLIS A. GORMAN,
Commanding District of Eastern Arkansas:
GENERAL: Yours of the 23rd, informing me of the successful departure of our troops for the down-river expedition, is duly received. You say nothing concerning my order for an interior move, which induces me to suppose Colonel Chipman had not yet arrived.
I trust General Grant has plenty of force to fight his way to the Mississippi, without drawing any more from my department, which I have terribly weakened for his success. I note your report says you sent 13,000, which is a thousand more than my limit, and just that number more than should have gone. Of several regiments I have started to your point, every one is stopped to accommodate other necessities, which General Halleck, General Davies, and General Hurlbut have advised me of this side of you.
General Blunt moved on Van Buren last Saturday (27th), and his hope was that you had moved so as to occupy the fears of Holmes' forces near Little Rock. I see that the downward pressure of you and the upward pressure on me have weakened us so much you will not be able to do good in a westerly move till matter improve elsewhere.
Since writing the above, Lieutenant Stimpson, with dispatches to the 25th, has arrived. I am glad you stopped the move over toward Grenada just as you did. A little move that way is just as good as a ten days' move, and you need the force on the west side.
The prompt and powerful force sent south from Helena should certainly satisfy the world that we are not holding back on the great move to open the Mississippi, and this will console me for the hazards I have to take in my own department.
I have elsewhere ordered troops to regard this transfer as temporary, but the embarrassment imposed upon me is harassing.
General Davies telegraphs that he ordered the commanding officer at new Madrid to destroy his guns and vacate that post. Jeff. Thompson is in that vicinity, with Burbridge and others, threatening me, and I send another regiment to recover the place and hold it till I order my guns spiked.