covering our commands, and they should properly report to us. But if that be not allowed we must try to keep up the most friendly intercourse with them and ourselves to avoid surprise and disaster. I shall therefore constantly try to keep you advised of whatever I may learn of interest to your command, and hope you will as far as convenient reciprocate may advances.
I have sent out scouts and troops on both sides of the Arkansas, and only find the enemy in force near the Red River. Price crossed with his force south of Red Rive a few days ago, and Colonel Phillips drove some of Cooper's forces beyond the Canadian last Saturday.
On this side of Arkansas small bands from 3 to 50 are occasionally found; several such bands are near Fayetteville, Ark., where the First Arkansas Cavalry hold a very loose and scattered command. I also hear of bushwhackers in the Sni Hills, about 60 miles south of Kansas City, which of course you have also heard of. The country below this point to the Arkansas is almost destitute of forage and depopulated of all sorts of people, white, Indian, and black. Even a rebel raid must wait till grass grows before they can make much of a movement in force against us. Cattle are in considerable numbers both sides of department lines, and in Pineville the women of rebel officers and soldiers have quiet command of the neighborhood.
I found a company of your troops at Neosho, under Major Burch and Lieutenant Kelso, good officers for the border service, cordially co-operating with my pickets at Dry Wood, about 70 miles this side. At Carthago I found Captain Walker with a company of provisional troops, who seems anxious to do his duty, but is a stranger in the neighborhood, and finds it difficult to discriminate where all pretend to be friends.
North of Carthage and east of this place I have pickets near the line on my side, but I wish you could increase the force on yours, with instructions to keep up intercourse with mine.
I left a scout at Carthago with Captain Walker, at his request, to give him a better knowledge of matters in that region, mays scout having been raised in the neighborhood, and well acquainted with the people and with my pickets. I have thus given you such general facts as may interest you concerning our mutual interests, and hope you will received them as they are intended, with my most sincere and hearty desire for your success and the welfare of our unhappy country.
I go from here west through the border settlements and Sac and Fox Nations, returning to Leavenworth via Topeka and Lawrence. If you find it convenient to visit Saint Joseph and Kansas City, important places in your command, I hope you will take Leavenworth in your route, when I would be glad to confer with you personally in relation to border difficulties between Kansas and Missouri, which you and I must try to extinguish. In all matters, general, that I can serve you I hope will give me early notice, and expect me to cordially embrace the opportunity.
I have the honor to be, sir, your very obedient servant and fellow soldier,
S. P. CURTIS,
25 R R-VOL XXXIV, PT II