I approved the movement from Napoleon, and have written General Grant, recommending that a division be sent from below to Napoleon to co-operate with Steele. This movement will open the cotton-growing plantation country, and therefore the disloyal part of Arkansas, hitherto unpunished in this war. The enemy will unquestionably abandon Little Rock and break for Texas, and with Davidson's cavalry will be broken up. The railroad from Devall's Bluff to Little Rock is in working order, and I am now sending two engines around, to be used after taking Little Rock, and until the Arkansas rises that command can be supplied by White River and the railroad. I duplicate this to Major-General Schofield.
S. A. HURLBUT,
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., September 9, 1863.
Major General FRED. STEELE,
Commanding Arkansas Expedition, Brownsville, Ark.:
GENERAL: I have just received your letter of the 2nd, from Brownsville. I regret that Colonel True suffered himself to be separated from his ammunition and provisions by train. Send all incumbrances by water. I very thoroughly agree with you in considering true strategy to flank their works and establish a new base upon the Mississippi. I apprehend, however, that this will not at present meet the views of Generals Halleck and Schofield; the latter especially seems to have a constant and very lively sense of apprehension as to the State of Missouri. Heretofore there has been some color for this, but now that the enemy has been forced to concentrate on Little Rock by your advance on the one side and Blunt's on the other, there seems no peril to Missouri. In fact, a movement on the south side of Arkansas, avoiding their works and threatening their rear, and thus their communications, will draw them rapidly still farther south, and probably lead to their retirement into Texas. In addition to this, there is a strong expedition now on foot for Texas, and I consider it of grave importance to cut off this force, or force it down, broken and demoralized. A victory sharply followed up at or near Little Rock will clear Arkansas, send all the Missouri Confederate force out of the war, and disband any resistance to our arms north of Red River. The plan of the fall and winter campaign, then, will involve the occupation of Texas and the Rio Grande.
I now have two engines and ten cars, seized on the Little Rock Railroad, which I shall send you in a few days. The gauge is 5 feet 6 inches, which is 6 inches larger than ours, and corresponds with the Missouri gauge. I shall order twenty cars down from Saint Louis. In the mean while I hope your force will gather health, and, even if you do not move at once or for some time, you paralyze and alarm the enemy. I fear that Napoleon and the country above is very sickly at this season, and this seems the only difficulty in the way.
I have sent a copy of your letter to General Grant, and proposed to him to send Stevenson's division, now just returned from Monroe, to occupy Napoleon, and move up, joining you at Pine Bluff or such other point as you may indicate. If you require more infantry, you will let me know, and send round the boats for them. I cannot very well spare them, but will do it, and trust to such troops as may be sent me from above.