War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0507 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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have not been able to get any information from the citizens yet. It is 15 miles from here to Austin, and the same distance from there to Little Rock. The ground in front of the enemy's works and to the south is of such a character that we may have to turn them to the north by way of Austin, or else move rapidly to Pine Bluff and throw troops across the Arkansas at or near that point. The more I learn of this country the more fully I am convinced of the correctness of the opinion I expressed in a letter to General Grant, written at Helena. Our line of operations should have been from Napoleon. It is a good road, plenty of supplies along the route, and good water in abundance; the country is more favorable for our operations in every respect. There are no timbered swamps there that they can hide in, and, at the season when the roads are bad, the Arkansas is navigable. Three days' rain will make the roads between this and White River quite impassable for loaded wagons. If I should cross my forces at Pine Bluff, it is my intention to change my base to the Mississippi at once, and move the depot at Devall's Bluff to Napoleon. I think this will be a very good strategic movement if it can be effected. The enemy's fortifications will be rendered useless to them. All my information goes to show that they have not broken ground on the other side of the Arkansas. With the transportation which we have and that belonging to the command now at Helena, we could easily have supplies from Napoleon. It is about 140 miles.

Please communicate your views on this subject. I have received no orders placing my command under Schofield. General Grant directed me to report to you.

Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,

FRED'K STEELE,

Major-General.

HEADQUARTERS,

Fort Lyon, Colo., September 2, 1863.

Lieutenant GEORGE H. STILWELL,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

SIR: I have the honor to report to the colonel commanding the district that reports are constantly being made to me of Indian depredations committed by Kiowa and Comanche Indians near the Cimarron Crossing. Three trains have arrived to-day entirely destitute of provisions, the train-masters reporting that they had been robbed of all their supplies, and one man fired upon by the Indians while he was passing their camp. I have authorized the commissary at this post to supply the trains with subsistence. These train-masters also report that the indians have a number of white men and women prisoners. I have accordingly ordered Lieutenant Edington, with one section of the Ninth Wisconsin Battery, and Lieutenant Ackley, with 70 men from Companies F and K, to proceed immediately to the Cimarron Crossing and establish a camp. I shall leave here in time to overtake them by the time they arrive at the Indian camp, and, should I find that it is not necessary to punish them, shall establish a camp, returning myself immediately to this post. Should I find that it is necessary to punish them, I shall administer as severe a chastisement as it will be possible for me to do with my shall command. They number about 3,000. I shall try by all fair means to avoid an Indian war, but shall proceed as rapidly as possible in case it becomes necessary to have one.

Last week two horses were stolen from the quartermaster's herd. I ascertained beyond a doubt that they were stolen by Kiowa Indians,