unfortunate withdrawal of troops, defeating important operations in Arkansas.
These mysterious remarks have has some light from information obtained from a speculator, Colonel Compton, who says a speculation was on foot to get the Arkansas Hot Springs on speculation, and certain officials were to have 25 per cent. of a half million affair. The Hot Springs belong to the Government. I do not know that the springs had been made the special object of somebody, but the zeal manifested so suddenly to go that way has a singular connection with Colonel Compton's story. I am very busy, and hope I have written on all necessary matters. Communications are very slow, but I hope you will continue to post me and come back soon.
I am, colonel, very truly, yours,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
STEAMER SUNSHINE, December 30, 1862.
We are on our return to Helena, after having gone below the mouth of White River several miles, but not to Napoleon. About midway of the island we were hailed by two men, and took them aboard. They proved to be of the crew of the steamer Blue Wing, which left Helena a day or two since with two barges of coal in tow, bound downward to the fleet. They support her captured at Cypress Bend, 8 miles below Napoleon, on the Arkansas shore. She was attacked by artillery, and, having no guard or escort or other defense, surrendered. The boat and barges were towed up the Arkansas River. This was confirmed by two conscript refugees whom we picked up on the island. They further said they understood that a piece of artillery was to be sent to Napoleon, and a small detachment of troops. They heard firing in the direction of Napoleon about noon yesterday; sounded like cannonading. As it is about time the Rocket, the dispatch boat sent to Admiral Porter, should return, the general (who concluded to go himself to Napoleon) fears it may have been attacked, but thinks, with a hundred good infantry and two howitzers, she can cut her way through. The general thought it imprudent to go to Napoleon, so we put about, and are Helena-ward bound now. From these refugees we learn that there is still a large force at Arkansas Post. They say that the road from napoleon up the Arkansas River is very bad - I should think impassable for artillery until the bluffs are reached, 20 or 30 miles from Napoleon. They report no large rise in Arkansas. They say that there is about 6 feet on the bars; perhaps little more. The White is in better stage. This is about the amount of our information derived.
The cotton-burners in Mississippi are again on a tour of incendiarism and conflagration. A great deal of cotton, which escaped up to the departure of Sherman's expedition, is now being under order of Jeff. Davis.
If you decide to give up Helena, what shall be done with the large surplus of transportation, mules, wagons, &c.? Where shall the siege guns be taken if, as I suspect, Napoleon cannot be fortified to advantage? Where shall the thousand contrabands be sent (the old men, women, and children)? where the accumulated contraband property, condemned and to be condemned quartermaster and commissary stores and property? A very large quantity stores is being sent to Cap-