[DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI], January 17, 1863.
Your dispatches of the 14th and 16th received. Large expedition started up Arkansas and White about the 10th. It may return to resume Vicksburg, and my have gone to Little Rock. Marmaduke was whipped at Springfield and Hartville, retreating south, probably going toward Batesville. Forces from Houston and Rolla are pressing down on Marmaduke. Can you intercept his retreat? I hope the Fayetteville troops will be cautious. Phillips must make his headquarters near the southwest corner of the State. Where is most of your forces?
SAML. R. CURTIS,
[DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,] January 18, 1863.
Our troops and gunboats took Arkansas Post, with garrison and guns,on the 11th, and gunboats passed on toward Little Rock. if water keeps up, hope they will clean out the rivers. Gorman was going up White to Devall's Bluff if he could. Try to get communication with river forces if they get near you, so junction may be formed.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS, Devall's Bluff, January 18, 1863.
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: By dispatches just received last evening from General McClernand, I am informed that there is not yet sufficient water in the Arkansas River to enable him to advance on Little Rock safely. he also announces that the has been ordered by General Grant to Napoleon at once.
General Grant has informed General McClernand that he is about to re-enforce him with one division of his army,one brigade from General Curtis, and one brigade from General Wright.
General McClernand has sent an order to General Fisk direct to report to him "immediately at Napoleon, or wherever he may be." This, you see, leaves me powerless for any practical purpose again. My cavalry, sent by land from Helena to Clarendon (about 1,200), are waterbound and utterly powerless, owing to the late snows and rain, and gives me some apprehensions for the safety of the horses for want of forage, as the country is utterly inaccessible for any distance. I shall go to see General McClernand at once, but will hold this river at Clarendon and Saint Charles for the present.
The country between this point and Little Rock is utterly impassable for either infantry, artillery, or cavalry. It is one vast level plain, and mostly prairie, covered with bogs and bayous, and scarcely any settlements.
The railroad to this point is in good order, and the rebels have a pontoon bridge at Little Rock. But I find I cannot tow up coal this high to supply the gunboats. All the transports I have fully supplied with axes to cut wood, but gunboats cannot burn wood,and must have coal.