The enemy in force are reported fortifying at Bayou Meto; strength, uncertain; probably, however, stronger than our united column. If it be necessary to breach fortifications, either there or at Little Rock, Steele wants a battery of 20-pounder Parrott guns. I have no such arms in movable condition, nor am I sure that General Grant has, in condition for transportation. I am now sending Davidson ammunition.
The question of forage for this command is a very serious one, but we are exerting every nerve to obtain in. Your personal attention to it at Saint Louis may expedite matters.
When Steele receives the re-enforcements, he will have 15,000 men, with a full supply of field guns. All that is wanting now is a rise in the Arkansas, which I do not expect before October.
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., August 19, 1863.
Commanding Arkansas Expedition:
GENERAL: I have on the march to this place True's brigade of infantry and a light battery. They will bring 2,300 men for duty, healthy and active, and will be ordered to report by boat to Helena, thence by land to Clarendon to you. This is all I can spare just now, unless you are in great need, in which case I will send you the Memphis brigade. I am ready to supply you to the last extremity, but with to throw no more troops over there than I can avoid, on account of supplies. I expect good things from the expedition, and as soon as the water rises in the Arkansas will be able to throw any required force into the country. Without knowing much of the country, it appears to me that the Bayou Meto can be turned. I have sent for 20-pounder Parrotts; I have none that are horsed. Keep me advised when you have opportunity, and, if you once break their array, let Davidson's cavalry pursue the railroad and rolling-stock, if possible, and send me estimate of what it will take to repair and run it from Memphis.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE FRONTIER,
Fort Blunt, August 19, 1863.
Major H. Z. CURTIS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fort Scott:
MAJOR: To-day I have a burning fever again, and the prospect looks as though I might be quite sick. I have all the time so far kept about (with the exception of a few days when first attacked) and attended to business, but as soon as I get this express off I shall remain quiet. This is discouraging. I have been waiting for my health to sufficiently recover to cross into Dixie. When I through I could venture, and was about to issue orders, I heard unofficially that Colonel Cloud was moving down through Faytteville with 1,500 troops and four guns of Rabb's battery. I immediately sent a dispatch to him, and concluded to postpone movements until I heard from this, which I have not yet done. I