say, but I much doubt whether, at this season of the year, it will be possible to make such a journey with troops and a large train without great suffering to the men and the loss of most of the animals and wagons. I have, however, directed General Sibley to furnish the necessary escort, provided he considers it possible to make the journey, having ox teams haul the soldiers' rations, as mules could not possibly survive such a trip over a country nearly destitute of grass. The cost to the War Department of furnishing this escort will be large, and the troops composing it will not able to return this winter; but I have thought it best to comply with the application of the Indian Bureau, as I do not wish the failure of these Indian reservation operations on the Upper Missouri to be attributed to the military authorities. From General Sully's account (herewith inclosed) of the deplorable condition of affairs at that reservation, I have little expectation that the Indian Department will be able to maintain the Indians there through the winter. If the General-in-Chief thinks that the expense of this escort ought not to be incurred, please telegraph me at once on the subject. All mules and wagons not absolutely needed in Minnesota for the winter I have directed to be sent to General Allen, Saint Louis, to be distributed to the army.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., October 23, 1863.
Captain T. H. HARRIS,
SIR: I have the honor to report that, on the 13th instant, the S. B. Progress arrived here with E. E. Clark, W. M. King, and J. W. Marshall, with custom-house permits to land at Friar's Point and Island Numbers 63 a large amount of goods, say from $5,000 to $10,000, and that the parties had also General Hurlbut's permit to load at Friar's Point 400 bales of cotton; and the papers indicated the obtaining 400 more at points below. Mr. J. H. Terrill, of Paducah, Ky., was of the party, and evidently interested in the cotton. I communicated to you the circumstances under which I permitted them to land at Friar's Point, where they took on board 407 bales of cotton.
On the 17th instant, the Progress went below, under the convoy of the gunboat Queen City, Captain Brown.
On the 19th, Captain Brown wrote me he was ordered to the mouth of White River, and would leave the Progress to come back.
The Progress reported here to-day,and E. E. Clark and others exhibited me bills of lading dated Friar's Point, October 22,as follows, to ship to Memphis:
Shipped by J. W. Marshall................................. 300
Shipped by E. E. Clark.................................... 301
Shipped by W. M. King..................................... 54
I asked all the parties if they had landed at Friar's Point on returning, and the answer was "no." I was left no infer it was got below, as permitted, under the protection of the gunboat.
The Progress was delayed here to get wood. While writing you this