The river above Clarendon is so crooked that it is with great difficulty that the large boats can turn the bends, and I have not enough small ones.
As your instructions have always been to lend any possible aid to the movements on the Mississippi River, I will obey the request of General McClernand for General Fisk's brigade, and hold Clarendon and Saint Charles, the former only being 15 miles by land from this bluff, and no force dare venture to hold this place, as Clarendon seriously imperils their right flank and the railroad in their rear.
Much general, has been accomplished by this move. All the enemy have abandoned the east side of the Arkansas River, and left the whole of Eastern Arkansas free of rebel forces.
I assure you our fleet looked formidable, whether it was so or not,and has caused all the people in this section to give up hope of its being held by the rebels again.
I am, general, very truly, your obedient servant,
W. A. GORMAN,
HEADQUARTERS POST, Helena, Ark., January 18, 1863.
Major General SAMUEL R. CURTIS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: General Gorman reached and captured Saint Charles on the 14th; the enemy evacuated on the day before, carrying their guns up the river on board the steamer Blue Wing. They had two large guns and four small ones. General Gorman proceeded toward Devall's Bluff.
I have heard nothing from the cavalry expedition under Colonel Clayton. I presume they reached Clarendon, as they had not arrived at Saint Charles when General Gorman wrote me.
General Grant passed down yesterday. He advised me to repair the levee here as soon as possible. We have 1,000 sick men in hospital; 200 of these will never be fit for duty,and should be discharged. I find much room for reform. In many respects the public business has been extravagantly managed.
I have issued, and will enforce, stringent orders to rid this post of a host of mule and horse thieves who infest it.
I would be glad to have this post designated the District of Helena. I would then know the extent of my authority.
I have 50 men, paroled prisoners, captured before January 1, 1863. Are they exchanged; and will they be returned to duty without formal official order from department headquarters?
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS, Devall's Bluff, Ark., January 18, 1863.
GENERAL: I have taken and occupy this point. Here the Little Rock and Memphis Railroad terminates, and is in good running order.