which is a town of several thousand inhabitants. There is no fort here and no ferry worthy of the name. I shall immediately strengthen the place by field-works, and make better arrangements for crossings. I desire that Brigadier-General Davies may be assigned to my command. I take the liberty to telegraph you the complete organization of my department. I find the enemy in force 60 miles south. Only small guerrilla parties north of the Arkansas. Respectfully,
S. R. CURTIS,
FORT SMITH, ARK., February 10, 1864.
(Received 6.30 a. m.)
Major General H. W. HALLECK, General-in-Chief:
Arrived this morning and find no fort, and only a small flat-boat for a ferry. All I have written concerning depots and the exposure of stores at this place is fully verified. Shall immediately erect two field forts and try it, and accommodate connections with the other side of the river. General Thayer reports Captain R. R. Russell, assistant adjutant-general of the rebel General Hunter, a prisoner, taken on the Ouachita River, Ark. Some talk of guerrillas in Missouri threatening raids into Kansas. Otherwise all quiet.
S. R. CURTIS,
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, February 11, 1864.
Major-General BANKS, New Orleans:
GENERAL: Your dispatches of January 29 and February 2 are received. In the former you speak of awaiting orders and instructions in regard to operations on Red River. If by this it is meant that you are waiting for order from Washington, there must be some misapprehension. The substance of my dispatches to you on this subject was communicated to the President and Secretary of War, and it was understood that while stating my own views in regard to operations, I should leave you free to adopt such lines and plans of campaign as you might, after a full consideration of the subject, deem best. Such, I am confident, is the purport of my dispatches, and it certainly was not intended that any of your movements should be delayed to await instructions from here. It was to avoid any delay of this kind that you were requested to communicate directly with Generals Sherman and Steele, and concert with them such plans of co-operations as you might deem best under all the circumstances of the case.
My last communication from General Sherman is dated January 29, and received here to-day.* He says the stage of water in Red River is such that he cannot operate in that direction earlier than March or April, and that in the mean time he would operate on the east side of the Mississippi River. I think he had not then communicated with you. Nothing of a recent date has been received from General Steele in regard to the condition of affairs in Arkansas or his intended movements. In regard to re-enforcements for your
*See Vol. XXXII, Part II, p. 259.