War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0476 MO.,ARK.,KANS.,IND.T.,AND DEPT.N.W. Chapter XXXIV.

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position can be thoroughly reconnoitered an an approximate estimate made of his strength. I was informed by a respectable citizen of Brownsville that their principal fortification was between Bayou Meto and Little Rock. He (Dr. Wright) also informed me that there was a road which crossed the bayou west of the one occupied by the enemy, which might, perhaps be rendered passable for us by some repairs. Until I get a report from the front, giving me the result of the reconnaissance, I shall continue to strengthen this camp, build shelters, and cut away the timber so that the gunboats can have a clear sweep along the ravines on our flanks. This is a healthy locality, high plateau, no swamps in the vicinity, and the current in the river rapid. The health of the command has improved perceptibly since our arrival here. There is a grist-mill and saw-mill about 2 miles distant by a good road, and 4 by water, which can be put in order by supplying a few deficiencies. This can be done by sending to Des Arc and breaking up an establishment which has been patronized by the rebel army.

Our lumber had been obtained thus far principally by taking down vacant buildings, including one large church where secession doctrines have been extensively promulgated. There are some large crops of corn within a few miles of this, owned by rebels, and we hear of considerable old corn not very far off. There is also considerable beef. I recommend that some rolling-stock be sent for the railroad, which we know to be in good order as far as and beyond Brownsville. The telegraph is also nearly complete. I hope the re-enforcements will come up soon. If the reports which we get continually in regard to the enemy's strength and animus should be confirmed by the reconnaissance, I shall wait for them. I should like very much to have the famous Memphis Brigade, if it should be necessary to send more than the brigade you have already ordered. As I wrote you before, there will be no difficulty about getting supplies up this river. I have been told that there is only one locomotive and but few cars on the railroad, but the wagon road is said to be good. Fort Smith was formerly supplied by this route. I regard the plan of building the road from here to Memphis as impracticable, on account of the difficulty and expense of raising it above the overflow; my opinion is based entirely upon information derived from people who have seen the route at all seasons. If ever the rebels should be routed by us, our cavalry would annihilate them. I send back all the steamers that brought up supplies, except the Hamilton Belle, which is required for getting lumber, forage, &c., and the Sally List, which is at present needed for the storage of commissary stores.

Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,

FRED'K STEELE,

Major-General, Commanding.

SAINT LOUIS, MO., August 26, 1863.

Brigadier-General EWING,

Kansas City:

I wrote you yesterday about measures to be taken in the border counties of Missouri. Do not permit irresponsible parties to enter Missouri for retaliation; whatever of that is to be done must be by your troops, acting under your own orders.

J. M. SCHOFIELD,

Major-General.