WASHINGTON, D. C., September 25, 1863.
GENERAL: Yours of September 18 is just received. While General Grant's operations were confined to the Mississippi River and its vicinity, it was necessary that he should have the direct control of all troops which could be employed in these operations, without regard to department lines. This has been done in many other cases, and is unavoidable; but it may soon be possible to restore more definitively the lines of respective commands. In regard to General Steele's operations, it was supposed that he would be mainly left to work out the problem for himself, Generals Grant and Hurlbut giving all necessary assistance. What he will now do must depend upon contingencies and operations elsewhere, as it may be necessary to withdraw some of his forces. The policy, military and civil, to be adopted in that State must also depend upon the circumstances as they are developed. Should the rebels withdraw their forces to Texas and south of the Red River, we must occupy the latter in force as a line of defense, instead of the Arkansas, and a smaller force on the latter will be sufficient. We cannot scatter troops over the whole country, as was done in Missouri. Fort Smith, Little Rock, Arkansas Post, a point on White River, Helena, and, perhaps, Napoleon, will probably be as many as we can occupy. A considerable movable force will always be required. Your views on this matter are solicited. All point occupied should be fortified.
You are authorized to raise as many volunteers in your department as you can in accordance with existing regulations and orders.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
NEW MADRID, September 25, 1863.
Major General JOHN M. SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Department, &c., Saint Louis, Mo.:
SIR: The four companies which I sent to Osceola, under command of Captain Joseph Schmitz, Company B, Twenty-fifth Missouri Volunteers, have returned. They were transported both ways by the Davenport, costing the Government nothing in addition to the permanent contract with that boat. Captain Schmitz reports that the inhabitants were glad to see our forces and sorry to have them leave. They profess to be willing to arm and mount themselves if they can have support, and to act as pickets, guides, &c. The country is rich in forage and subsistence. The people were all Union until the Legislature of Arkansas passed their secession ordinance, and then they became rebels, but are anxious to return to their allegiance. They gave our men forage for the animals and plenty of fresh meat and vegetables. I think the post is better worth holding than this, where the inhabitants expect me, with infantry, to protect them from guerrillas, while they will not even give me correct information as to where the bandits are, much less will they raise a hand in their own defense.
Captain Schmitz captured two citizens (smugglers), one a doctor, who had several ounces of quinine, some pounds of opium, and other medicines in his carpet-sack. The opium is said to be worth $350, and I propose to send it to the medical purveyor at Saint Louis. The other medicines we needed, and I have directed the surgeon to take them up