HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI, Saint Louis, Mo., February 3, 1863.
Brigadier General C. C. WASHBURN:
GENERAL: I am just now in receipt of yours of the 22nd, and certainly approve of your conduct in writing me fully as to your views of things around you. I participate with you in the most kind regard for General Gorman. I knew him, and that was all. He was ordered to my command without a word from me,and his rank seems to entitle him to the position which I have given him. I suppose General Grant has made new arrangements, which I hope will quiet new difficulties and complications which ave accumulated in Eastern Arkansas. It is most extraordinary that we have so many incompetent men in official position, and still more that they seem to run things into excess of folly whenever they have any chance to make character. I sent you down to Helena, believing that men of no business capacity and very little brains would listen to reason. You made some impression, I am confident, but I afterward sent Colonel Chipman and Colonel Colburn to help restrain folly and extravagance. Recently,however, I am assured, things have got into utter confusion,which can only be rectified after General Grant and I fully understand our relative position. In one matter I shall exercise the functions of commander. I shall order the assistant surgeon-general to provide hospital arrangements for a thousand sick and wounded on shore, and further accommodations on water. I will also require a change in medical control, being informed that in this regard matters have become terribly deranged and disgusting. But the moving, shifting attitude of troops at Helena must confound and confuse matters at Helena, and I can make some allowances for difficulties of this kind. I write in the hurry of business,and only to assure you of my continued anxious efforts to keep matters right. We must bear and forbear, toil and toil on, and hope that Good in his mercy will ultimately secure our triumph and peace.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
SPRINGFIELD, MO., February 3, 1863.
Your dispatch of yesterday is received. I will go to Forsyth to-morrow and push forward the construction of boats and block-house or field-work, as your order. We have now lost five days of fine weather and good roads, and it will take from seven to ten more to get across the river at Forsyth. We could easily have reached Batesville in a shorter time than that named. I apprehend no danger from the rebels between the Arkansas and White Rivers; but if there is any, as you believe,it would seem wiser to move on a line where re-enforcements can be had from Warren and Davidson. There is forage enough for a moving army on either side of White River. There need be no delay, except in crossing and what may be caused by bad roads. I do not understand whether I am to judge and how far I may move, or whether I must wait for further orders. I will move at once with your permission.
Colonel Cloud informs me that he and his brigade are ordered to remain here. Are they detached from my command?
J. M. SCHOFIELD,