by brigadier-generals, very rarely indeed, at present, by major-generals. When I was ordered to the corps it was at the urgent solicitation of General Ord, and with the expectation both from him and from my own calculations that I should soon succeed to the command of it. That hope now appears cut off, and still I see my juniors commanding corps in the field and also enjoying independent commands.
I merely mention this circumstance to show the reasonable expectation I have of a better command than a division if I make a proper effort. If my reputation for ability and attention to duty is fair at the War Department (and I know of no reason why it is not) my rank among those major-generals who are in active service is sufficiently high to entitle me to a command not less than a corps. My presence here does not seem necessary; the only division here belongs to General Washburn, and is now commanded by Brigadier-General Warren, who has received letters recently from General Washburn, saying that he was coming back to Texas about this time.
Brigadier-General Lawler, who is also a very competent officer, is also present with it. Brigadier-General Benton, who is senior to both of them, is expected very soon. There are four general officers belonging to the division and only ten regiments present with it, two of which are veterans expecting furloughs. Major-General McClernand is also ordered to this post, and will probably arrive to-morrow or next day. Even if I wished ever so much to remain here, I do not see that I can be of any use. There is certainly no suitable place for me. If I supposed there was scarcity of general officers in the Department of the Gulf, or that the public interests would suffer at all by a diminution in their number, I certainly would not ask the commanding general to incommode himself or the service by entertaining my application; but I believe there is an unusual number present, and, while I have no motive like a desire for selfish gratification or idleness, I believe he will indulge me in entertaining such personal motives as are often justifiable and sometimes inexpressible, as well as a proper desire for advancement into responsible and more useful positions.
I have written this much in reply to your not calling for reasons, and beg to remain, with much respect,
N. J. T. DANA,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF EASTERN ARKANSAS,
Helena, Ark., March 5, 1864.
Major W. D. GREEN,
SIR: I feel it my duty again to call Major-General Steele's attention to the inadequacy of my white troops for the duties required at this post. The Fifteenth Illinois Cavalry reports 299 enlisted men for duty; the Thirty-fifth Missouri Infantry reports 236 enlisted men for duty. This is my all. The Government has leased the abandoned plantations in the district extending 13 miles below this place, and a large plantation is taken for the freedmen's farm. I have to protect them, or the Government's plans are frustrated and much property will be lost. To attempt to do it with colored troops,