HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., July 18, 1863-1 a.m.
Major General U. S. GRANT,
Commanding Department of the Tennessee:
GENERAL: Inclosed I send you a dispatch* just received. You are aware that we have not the requisite force here to move as directed, not having at this time over 3,500 effective men. From the best information we can get, Holmes' force amounts to about 12,000 effective men, and I should not consider it safe to move against him with less than 6,000 or 7,000. If you could spare 9,000 or 10,000, it would, I think, insure success. If a force should be sent up White River with gunboats, I could take 2,000 men from this place and from the river forces at Des Arc or Cotton Plant. In retreating from this place, the enemy moved up on the east side of White River to Des Arc, where Parsons' brigade crossed over. The balance were seen 6 miles above Augusta, en route for Jacksonport. I think they will remain in the vicinity of Jacksonport for the present, unless forced out by Davidson.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. F. ROSS,
U. S. MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON, FLAG-SHIP BLACK HAWK,
Off Vicksburg, July 18, 1863.
Major General B. M. PRENTISS, United States Forces:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter giving an account of an attack of the rebels on you at Helena, and congratulate you on the success you obtained with so small a force over such vastly superior numbers. I am happy that the Tyler rendered such good service. Had my orders been carried out, you would have had a good force of gunboats at Helena, as I felt sure, from what I heard, that Price was moving in that direction. I do not think you will be troubled with him again shortly. I sent a force to the head of Tensas River, cut off four of his transports, and captured a good deal of his ammunition and supplies. He will be afraid of being cut off altogether, and begin to move toward Shreveport. Still, I think it prudent to keep the gunboats at Helena for awhile, and have in charge an officer (Captain Phelps) who will always be on hand.
Hoping that Army and Navy may always co-operate together so successfully, I remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAVID D. PORTER,
Acting Rear-Admiral, Commanding Mississippi Squadron.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST,
OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
Milwaukee, July 18, 1863.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
GENERAL: I have the honor, in answer to your telegram of yesterday, to submit the following statement:
The whole force with which General Sibley marched from his camp above Fort Ridgely was 2,800 men. The regiments were all new and
*See Schofield to commanding officer Helena, Ark., Part I, p. 20.