War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0739 Chapter XXXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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If I can be of any service to you in other ways than I am at present, I hope you will advise me.

While General McNeil treats General Blunt with studies courtesy, I think he knows him thoroughly, and is watching him closely. Many subordinate matters I can talk to you about on my return. I must congratulate you on the kindness and cordiality I have invariably hard you spoken of, and the earnest wishes expressed for your final triumph over the "embattled hosts of darkness," to all of which do I most heartily cry, "Amen."

Most truly, yours,

CHAMPION VAUGHAN.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, December 11, 1863.

Major-General SCHOFIELD, Saint Louis, Mo.:

General Banks, when last heard from, proposed to operate from New Orleans toward Red River. Should he do so, it will assist General Steele; but, as his plans have been so often changed, it is not safe to rely upon them. You will, therefore, give General Steele all the assistance in your power. I will also telegraph to General Grant to do the same.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, December 11, 1863.

Major-General GRANT, Chattanooga, Tenn.:

General Steele reports that the rebels forces, under Price, and from Texas, are advancing upon Little Rock. It is also reported that they are seriously threatening West Tennessee and the Mississippi River. Admiral Porter reports that Port Hudson is also threatened. Would it not be well, under these circumstances, to send back some troops to Hurlbut, so that the troops detached from Steele and Schofield to West Tennessee may be returned, and also to instruct General McPherson to assist, if necessary, General Banks' forces on the Lower Mississippi? Rebel papers received here indicate that an effort will be made to reclose the Mississippi River during the absence of your army and that of General Banks. The movement of the latter on the Rio Grande was unexpected, and contrary to the advice of the Government.

H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief.

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,

Saint Louis, December 11, 1863.

Major General FRED. STEELE, Little Rock, Ark.:

GENERAL: Your letter of the 3rd was received yesterday. I telegraphed General Halleck its substance, and asked him if Banks' force had retired down the Red River, as reported in the news dispatches. He replies:

Banks, when last heard from, proposed to operate from New Orleans toward Red River. Should he do so, it will assist General Steele; but, as his plans have been so often changed, it is not safe to rely upon them.