as to lines and defenses as may seem necessary to harmonize the plan [in] adjacent departments, prevent misunderstandings, and promote the general welfare. After having control of the Mississippi and tributaries, the Arkansas becomes the proper base of operations and line of defense for Missouri and my department. The main force designed to prevent raids from the south should be on the Arkansas.
That river, being occasionally navigable, must be the means of occasional use for carrying supplies, as at such times it is altogether the most expeditours and cheap way of privisioning such depots. For these reasons deports on the Upper Arkansas should be carefully located and fortified. Fort Smith is included in my department and represents a most important location. It is no fort, and in view of the enemy being now south of the Arkansas, it is on the wrong side for a deport, while Van Buren, on this side, and only 4 miles below, is every way better as to surrounding heights, which can be easily fortified, and far less easily approached by the foe.
Stone Point, Van Buren, Fort Smith, or some other strong point, should be selected, and I have telegraphed for an engineer to aid me in a proper determination of the matter. The road and Boston Mountain passes are to be guarded by the garrison appertaining to Fort Smith. What was called the "Army of the Frontier," partly in the inclosure and partly distributed at outposts in the vicinity, is part of the same thing and should all go together. They are to close the door against raids into Missouri and Kansas, or the garrison must repel or pursue as circumstances may seem to require. Fort Smith and dependencies should therefore be in the Arkansas command, including the Indian Territory, or the troops which support it, and the mountain passes and outpost should be included in this department.
I suppose without instructions the dependencies, i. e., the outposts of Fort Smith and the troops formerly commanded by General Blunt and General McNeil, are included in the order attaching Fort Smith to this department. If I am mistaken I command a post almost without a garrison, and country without troops to defend it. A proper force located and fortified in that vicinity would either restrain or take in flank any rebel raid that attempts to cross the Arkansas and, as formerly, to move into Southwestern Missouri or Southeastern Kansas. I write you specially on this subject, because I suppose you reserve to yourself any modifications or explanation of your orders creating the department, and also the use of such arms as I require to fortify the depots which I design to establish in connection with these views.
I have directed Major McNutt, in charge of this arsenal and ordnance depot, to send on for ordnance stores, including siege guns, which I desire to properly locate and fortify at or near Fort Smith and Fort Gibson, or Fort Blunt, as the present post is called. We have new and excellent store-houses here at Fort Leavenworth and no arms in store, although they are needed for field-works, as well as for one artillery company partly raised and the regiments of artillery nearly full. I hope you will favor my efforts to get this deport properly supplied, for the few troops I have need arms, and new difficulties connected with great excitements in the gold mines may require prompt use of light artillery and cavalry. I do assure you I will be careful of such stores, and try to use them only to maintain the honor and success of your department. I will be greatly