dispatch, it occurred to me to inquire what has the Progress been doing from the 19th to the 23rd-four days? She has been but 30 miles below this place. I again sent for the captains, J. H. Young, and learn that the boat has been anchored 123 yards from Friar's Point for three days; that they floated into the river and took on board at that place, on the 21st and 22nd, 130 bales of cotton, and that the whole amount taken at that place was 537 bales, and at Island Numbers 63, 118 bales; total, 655 bales.
I am also informed by G. H. Norfleet that Clark, Terrill, Marshall, and company were ashore, and that Captain McMahan, the rebel conscripting officer of that county, was there at the same time.
Herewith I inclose you Colonel M. Montgomery's report, by which you will see that 46 persons were the original owners of 225 bales, which were stored all over the village, and taken when he was there.
It appears to me that all the parties have been engaged in speculating in cotton below Helena, and violating General Grant's Orders, Numbers 57; and that if they had not, directly, and understanding with the enemy, the boat would have been burned, as was the Mist on the 21st.
The guerrillas were seen in force above Friar's Point yesterday.
As the boat and cargo will be in Memphis when this paper reaches you, the matter will be in General Hurlbut's hands. I send you also the report of Captain H. N. Payne, who commanded the fatigue party, and who is an intelligent officer.
I am, captain, your obedient servant,
N. B. BUFORD,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHEASTERN MISSOURI,
Pilot Knob, Mo., October 23, 1863.
Commanding Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis:
I have another consignment of 22 guerrillas of desperate [character], from Oregon County. Deserters from Price's army are thronging to my lines. I am at a loss what to do with the increasing multitude. Batesville is undoubtedly occupied by troops from General Steele's command.
CLINTON B. FISK,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,
Iuka, Miss., October 24, 1863.
Major General FRED. STEELE,
Commanding Little Rock:
DEAR GENERAL: I have this moment a letter from General Grant, at Louisville, en route to Chattanooga, giving me many orders and instructions, among which is the following:
Communicate with General Steele, and urge the necessity of his sending you [me] the division of Kimball, of the Sixteenth Army Corps. The fact is, an immense concentration of the enemy in front of Chattanooga forces the Government to counteract the danger by abandoning all minor matters and stripping all points not absolutely necessary to cover this great center of the war.
I know my mere enunciation of the proposition in General Grant's language, which I have quoted above, is as strong as I can put the case. I am utterly ignorant of the state of facts, and of the condition of things
43 R R-VOL XXII, PT II