War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0454 MO.,ARK.,KANS.,IND.T.,AND DEPT.N.W. Chapter XXXIV.

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HEADQUARTERS ARKANSAS EXPEDITION,

Big Cypress Bayou, August 16, 1863.

Major General STEPHEN A. HURLBUT,

Commanding Sixteenth Army Corps:

GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose herewith dispatch received from General Davidson at this camp at 4 p.m. to-day.

According to information which I have received from different sources, I have no doubt but that Davidson is right in regard to Kirby Smith being at Little Rock now, and that the rebels are going to make a stand at Bayou Meto. Their force is much larger than ours now, and, with the advantage of a deep bayou between us, and of the fortifications which they are constructing and which I am informed we cannot avoid, together with the disadvantages to us of a long line of communications through a country almost destitute of water, I think their advantages over us are too great; besides, there is a strong probability that at least part of Kirby Smith's force will join Price's before we can reach there. I therefore agree with Davidson that we should have at least another brigade of infantry. Cavalry cannot do much against fortifications. Davidson thinks we have plenty of artillery. We could make out with what artillery we have, no doubt, but 10-pounder Parrotts are the heaviest. Two 20-pounders of the same arm would be much more effective against works of any sort than all the guns we have. I have lately had experience on this subject. They would be about as easily transported as the 10-pounders. At all events, I hope that the infantry re-enforcements will be sent up White River by steamer immediately. I do not intend waiting for them, but they can join us in time to prevent a failure of the expedition, in case we have been correctly informed in regard to the enemy's strength. They know exactly almost what force we have, and, if they make a stand, they will e fully prepared for it. I endeavored to procure water-kegs while at Helena, but could not do so. I request that six hundred, at least, more, if possible, may be sent with invoice, and my assistant quartermaster will receipt for the same. Please give me an early reply.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

FRED'L STEELE,

Major-General.

P. S.-The bushwhackers wounded one of our wagon-masters to-day with three buckshot. We caught one of them. I shall be at Clarendon, with all my force, early to-morrow. Rice's division reached there yesterday.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION,

Clarendon, Ark., August 15, 1863.

Major-General STEELE,

Commanding Army of Arkansas:

GENERAL: I have the honor to report to you that the expedition which I sent up the river, consisting of two gunboats, under Captain Bache, U. S. Navy, and a battalion of the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, under Major Eberhart, and of which I advised you by letter of the 11th instant, has returned, completely successful. The gunboats captured in the Little Red the two rebel steamers Kaskaskia and Tom Suggs, in complete running order, and destroyed the bridge of flats or pontoon bridge over which the ubiquitous Marmaduke had crossed the greater