for orders, and hence I have given him none, except my general instructions through you. I think it would be well now, to avoid the present anomalous arrangement, that General Steele be ordered to report directly to me. If this be in accordance with your views, please give orders accordingly to General Steele, and inform me of them.
Please accept my thanks, general, for your cordial co-operation heretofore, and for your assurance of additional assistance in case General Steele should need it in future. This is the more valuable to me at the present time from the fact that having sent too large a force to Vicksburg, before the fall of that place, and also some to Columbus, my remaining forces in this portion of my department are very weak, so that it is impossible for me to send re-enforcements to General Steele.
On the 6th instant I sent you a letter containing my plan of operations in Arkansas. As you make no mention of it, it occurs to me that probably you may not have received it; hence I inclose a copy* in this letter.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., August 31, 1863.
Kansas City, Mo.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to send you herewith a copy of a communication from Major-General Hurlbut,+ inclosing a report from Major General Steele,++ relative to matters connected with the Arkansas expedition.
I have but little to suggest in the connection, save to say that, from personal knowledge, I am inclined to the belief that Des Arc will eventually be found the best base of operations. The experience of many years' communication by merchants between Little Rock and White River results, to my knowledge, in the general adoption of the road from Des Arc to Little Rock for purposes of transportation as the very best and always the most practicable. I cannot think that the experience of years could have resulted in anything but the choice of the best road, and am consequently now of the belief that Des Arc is the best base of operations.
As to the sickness in General Steele's command, which seems to be frightful, I think I would urge General Hurlbut to re-enforce him to the utmost of his ability without seriously endangering his (General Hurlbut's) line of defense. The Arkansas expedition must succeeded, and consequently should be supported by all the means at our command. I do not know if you thought and have arranged relative to supplies required to be sent to Major-General Steele, as suggested by Major-General Hurlbut. I telegraphed you to-night to remind you of this matter. As a matter of course, you will remember what action you have taken in that matter, and I may be too uneasy relative thereto. Inform me of your pleasure, and I will have the necessary orders issued.
I write in haste, as there is but little time to prepare for the mail to-night.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General and Chief of Staff.
*See Part I, p.22.