as we must have the ferry secure against rogues. All the rebel force of Arkansas might venture to mass between Arkansas and White in the absence of our gunboats, so we must have the means of return or re-enforcement. Forage must be very scarce this side of White River, but while we are delayed in the main object for boats, we must not venture too far for forage. It will be better to seek it, as you suggested, on this side of Crane Creek till ferry and boats are ready.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Saint Louis, February 3, 1863.
Brigadier General CLINTON B. FISK:
GENERAL: I hardly dare to enter upon a line to you, I have so much to say and so little for talking. I cordially directed everything to be turned to account of Vicksburg effort, and the order of the President giving General Grant temporary command was necessary and proper to place everything in the vicinity entirely subordinate to his efforts. I hope he will act with wisdom, prudence, fortitude, and diligence, until you have the river cleaned out. I am very sorry that I cannot be with him to help him and all of you in this important crisis, and only console myself for my absence in knowing that I have enough to do to regulate a department that somebody must take care of, and I am always ready to do my share of drudgery. I suppose General Grant will take most of the troops to Vicksburg, but I think he is wise in going down to see where he can camp them. It may be high water will flood the whole country about there, and in that event our troops will have a terrible time in camps which can only be below the general level of the waters. I have seen Mrs. Fisk, and have acted upon her information regarding the sick. I will order arrangements for 1,000 on land and more on boats at Helena. The danger is we have not buildings sufficient at Helena. I suppose General Gorman will go below. I would immediately send a successor on this supposition if I considered the point still in my command. Your rank may allow your holding command of the post, while a higher officer might have the district. Helena seems to be the center of distraction and detraction. I would like to see new efforts to quiet the turbulent waters of that vicinity. I see they have it that I am in partnership with Gorman in cotton speculations. I hope he is as innocent as I am. They will probably scatter on receipt of Grant's order charging $100 for a permit. But my office calls make it impossible to write. This is my birthday, and I have a few friends to call this evening to visit me. I sincerely wish you could be with them. Support and sustain everybody, especially the most infirm of our comrades. Human frailty is very great, and we must make the very best of the men around us. Your good virtue will enable you to reconcile many difficulties, and I hope you will not weary in well-doing. Do not run into needless exposures, and do not encourage rash or precipitate movements. I hope strategy will be well considered, and human life saved as much as possible. Give my kind regards to my comrades about you, friends especially. Hold up their hands, and be assured my hopes and prayers will follow you in the trials and dangers of this eventful campaign.
I remain, very truly, your friend,
SAML. R. CURTIS,