the broken regiments, and paroled prisoners to some effect; but, in fact, my force has been relieved from battle to press forward through rain and mud and snow, barefooted, to meet your utmost expectations. When you require me to judge of numbers and destination, I use my best judgment. If you interpose yours, I obey. The moving of General Steele's force is no exception, as I will show you by the papers, although you continually present this as a mistake of insubordination. I have a single purpose in view, from which I will not swerve during this war while I am kept in service, and that is to labor to the utmost of my ability for the success of our arms, regardless of all consequences to myself. If my services here demonstrate the least incompetency or interference with the rights of others, I should be removed. It is no time for me to accept personal favors. I should despise myself if I urged any personal accommodation which might embarrass your general combination for the national success. Since His Excellency has published an order relieving me from this command, I hope the untimely death of the gallant Sumner will not prevent him from a consummation of his purpose, and I have taken the liberty to so request him, for the order being published seems to augment the arguments in favor of a change. However he or you may determine my position, I shall promptly obey, and cordially continue to do all in my power to accomplish your purposes.
Just half a year has transpired since I was assigned to this command. You know, from experience, the labors incident to it, and I am conscious of having exerted my utmost efforts to fulfill my duty, which is all a just commander or generous country will require of frail humanity.
If we can occupy the Arkansas River with a force, the troops needed in Missouri will be less; but it will not do for my successor to rely on civil authority, while the rebels continue to receive promise of some returning wave of rebellion, and the demon of discord continues to reign.
With a reasonable force and prudent successor, I shall confidently rely on the future progressive success of the Department of the Missouri.
I have the honor to remain, general, your obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
BLOOMFIELD, March 24, 1863.
Commanding District of Saint Louis:
GENERAL: I have the honor to state that I am now well informed, from several different sources, that Marmaduke has not left Batesville. He cannot move a numerous army in this direction at present. Even with the means of transporting his subsistence for men, he would have to wait for the grass for his horses. This will not be high enough before the middle of April.
From 400 to 700 of Jeffers' and Clark's men are scattered along from Chalk Bluff to Scatterville and Gainesville. I have spies amongst them, and will get well advised of situation and force. So soon as the storm now raging abates, I will move sufficient cavalry to take them by a bold dash. I shall also scour this ridge down to the Arkansas line, and send a strong detachment into Mississippi County to bag some guerrillas that have been running riot there for a long time, and to break up a contraband trade between Lane's Landing and Bayou Saint James.
12 R-VOL XXII, PT II