November 2, 1863, Saint
Major General J. M. Schofield to Major General Fred. Steele
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, November 2, 1863.
Maj. Gen. FRED. STEELE,
Commanding Army of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark.:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of October 19 ; also the reports of subordinate commanders and your supplementary report of your operations in Arkansas. I inclose a copy of a dispatch which I sent you on the 18th of October, in compliance with orders from General Halleck. I presume you have not been able to send a large force to Memphis, but hope you have found it practicable to send a few regiments. I am not definitely informed what operations are going on in Louisiana and Texas, but I presume nothing which will enable you to advance. Everything in the West seems now suspended upon the grand operations of the combined armies under General Grant. We will have to act on the defensive at least for the present. I did hope that you would be able to change your base to Red River as soon as that should be high enough for navigation. Possibly you may yet be able to do so some time this winter.
I am informed that Shelby, with a remnant of his force, has got back across the Arkansas, and that all the guerrillas, under Quantrill, Jackman, and others, left Missouri with him. I expect no more trouble from them this winter. This will enable me to gradually diminish the force in Missouri, and send re-enforcements to you and McNeil, who relieves General Blunt. The troops to be sent south are nearly all cavalry. I have very little infantry in Missouri and Kansas.
The dispositions you have made, as stated in your letter of October 19, with the addition of some cavalry along the White River, to prevent the organization of guerrillas, will, I believe, be the best we can do until operations elsewhere will allow you to advance. I am somewhat anxious about supplies for Fort Smith during the winter. The Upper Arkansas is perfectly dry for about 200 miles, and I fear the river will not rise so as to be navigable from Little Rock to Fort Smith before spring. It will hardly be possible to supply the troops at Fort Smith from Springfield or Fort Scott, on account of the want of forage on the route. Will it be practicable to haul supplies by wagons from Little Rock to Fort Smith?
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
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