tain Taggart. He has filled all his sheds and houses, and is compelled to hold boats for storaging purposes. Either Sherman or Grant, or both, are to be supplied from this depot. I very much doubt, from appearances, whether the giving up of Helena, and placing this depot on wheels, would, at this time, be approved at headquarters. I regard Helena as a more secure place than Memphis; besides, it is much nearer Sherman. If Napoleon will fill all the conditions now filled by Helena, it would not then be objectionable.
HELENA, December 31, 1862 - 9 a. m.
General McClernand is here, en route to the army down Mississippi River. I was present during a lengthy interview between him and General Gorman. He (General McClernand) thinks it highly important that Old Post be reduced at the very earliest day, viewing it only as a question bearing upon the Mississippi expedition. I told him very plainly that you had been crippled here by overdrafts upon the Helena army, and by stopping of troops at Columbus and Memphis, and the taking away of every gunboat, until you are now powerless. I further gave it as my opinion that when he got below he would find everybody so absorbed in the river movement that they will not be drawn aside to give the interests of your department consideration; that you had done much more than was originally asked of you, and you, therefore, had a right to claim some reciprocation; and submitted as a consideration of interest to both you and him whether or not Arkansas Post should remain garrisoned by 8,000 troops, menacing you and cutting his line of communication by capture of his supply boats, &c. I am glad to know that General McClernand has had a practical illustration of the insecurity of his rear (though it cost us a boat), and that he fully appreciates the necessity of dislodging the enemy at Old Post, and driving them away from his communications. Self-interest, if no other motive, will impel him to urge Admiral Porter to give you, at least, one gunboat.
Later.- The Rocket has just arrived. I have determined to go to Cairo and Communicate with you. Will write more fully en route.
N. P. CHIPMAN,
PRAIRIE GROVE, December 30, 1862.
I met the army 8 miles this side of Van Buren, at 10 o'clock last night, returning from a raid. They destroyed several steamboats and a considerable amount of corn and other property. I fear the loss of the boats will be a greater to us than to the enemy. We will probably have to supply their places soon. I have not yet seen General Blunt. General Herron thinks Hindman has retreated to Arkadelphia. McCulloch's force does not seem to have arrived; on the contrary, a small force, with some artillery, has gone down as far as Clarksville, perhaps farther. There appears no difficulty in my staying or going where I please, so far as force is concerned. Of this, however, I will not be sure until I get further information. I must move immediately, on account of forage. I propose to take two divisions, at least, into Madison County, north of the mountains.
J. M. SCHOFIELD,