sick enlisted men, so as to clear this post of surplus property and inefficient men. A large portion of the transportation heretofore belonging to General Steele's division was necessarily left here, and all his surplus camp and garrison equipage.
The supply of coal for steamers is almost exhausted. I have ordered 100 contrabands to cut cord-wood and put it on the river bank.
For my military plans, see another letter of this date.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. A. GORMAN,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., January 3, 1863.
Commanding Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.:
GENERAL: You say in your dispatch of the 29th that-
The downward pressure on me and upward pressure on you have weakened us so much that I will not be able to do good in a westerly move till matters improve elsewhere.
By this you are understood to say that I am not to move until I get more forces.
The Thirty-sixth Iowa Regiment, detained for a few days at Memphis, have arrived here. In your dispatch of the 30th you say to Colonel Chipman:
If necessary and possible, General Gorman must assist Memphis or any other point where our line of communications is in danger, deferring, if need be, all interior operations from Helena till we are re-enforced by General Grant, or other arrivals on the river.
In the same dispatch you say:
The Army of the Frontier will have to fall back for supplies, and wait till we can get strength enough to move up the rivers of Arkansas and hold them.
By this you are understood to order me to wait until you are strong enough to move up the Arkansas or White River, because the Army of the Frontier will have to fall back for supplies, as no connection can be made by one advancing and the other retiring.
The enemy have a battery of two rifled guns 6 or 7 miles below Napoleon. I am going down with an armed force to capture it or run them off.
No transports have returned from the fleet below, and I am afraid to let the supplies pass down to our army below without an armed force to protect them. Rear-Admiral Porter has sent up the gunboat Conestoga to watch and guard from the mouth of White River to Cypress Bend; she is now there cruising. I shall feel that the commissary boats are safer when I get them to her.
By your dispatches you are understood to favor the idea of this column moving up White River, as it will the better support this depot. When General Fisk's or other forces arrive, so as to increase my infantry force to 10,000, I will leave a garrison of 1,000 infantry, 500 cavalry, and a light battery, with part of the mortar fleet, to hold this place, and at once attack and take Saint Charles. And when I can have the co-operation of the gunboats up the Arkansas, will attack Old Post. I will immediately inform you when I get to Saint Charles. I would have preferred to have gone with transports and gunboats up the Arkansas