dian Bureau, which ought to take care of the matter of food, seeds, &c. You must keep the hospitals at Fayetteville supplied and supported in preference to all other wants. We cannot occupy the immediate valley of the Arkansas until we get full possession of the navigation of the Arkansas River, which we ought to have this winter. You are in General Blunt's command, and should report to him at Leavenworth, but at the same time also report to these headquarters, if the lines to this point are convenient. Colonel Harrison is also reporting to you and to me. I hope the Indian legislature will repent the ordinance of secession, but they must have their own way about the matter, and not be permitted to lay it upon any coercion of our troops. Yours is my extreme post command, and I regard it as very important. Great diligence and prudence are necessary to your security and success. I approve of your course so far, and hope yo will continue to keep watch and ward against a wily and unscrupulous foe. It is painful to hear of the suffering of the Indian inhabitants, who were so happy before the breaking out of this infernal rebellion. But we all have to suffer wherever the rebel flag is allowed to float.
I am, colonel, very truly, yours,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTH AND NINTH DISTRICTS,
Camp John Ross, February 17, 1863.
Major- General CURTIS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
SIR: I am again moving my whole command southwest. I have men out to support Colonel Harrison and hold or take the rebel force at Van Buren- nearly all my available mounted force- and I shall leave my trains at or near Bentonville, so as to be in supporting distance of Fayetteville, in front of Fort Blunt, southwest on the line between the State and Nation, 20 miles distant, where I have a strong station, and also be in way of Elkhorn, by which point, if hard pressed so as to meet them, any re-enforcements must come.
Here there is mud that often makes my wagons sink to the bed; swollen streams that stop or retard my movements, and little forage. Still, I hope to be able to hold at least all we gained in autumn.
Our Arkansas friends are anxious for us to make a forward movement southeast, but I have forbidden any movement of my troops in that direction, unless needed to take the boats or forces that have ventured to Fort Smith.
Our friends in Arkansas are anxious to have us forward, to show their loyalty, but I have deemed it inexpedient to call out demonstrations of loyalty until we can protect them.,
I have not taken Fort Smith (however easily done, and gratifying to our pride it might be), until we can hold the line of the river. I am still without dispatches or orders from you. Colonel Harrison informs me that General Schofield ordered the battalion of the Tenth Illinois away from Fayetteville. I thought it strange that orders to weaken my force should be sent, and not to my headquarters. There are strong reasons why I would urge that those three companies should stay. The Arkansas force is very raw, and ought not, I would respectfully suggest, be left with out the countenance of other troops. The handful of white troops I have got are insufficient to aid me in a proper discipline and restraint of the Indian troops, and I am in no condition to