The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 22, In Two Parts. Part 1, Reports. Page: 886
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M3., ARK., KANE., IND. T., AND DEPT N. W. [CHAP. XXXIV.
unfortunate withdrawal of troops, defeating important operations in
These mysterious remarks have had some light from information ob-
tained from a speculator, Colonel Compton, who says a speculation was
on foot to get the Arkansas Hot Springs on speculation, and certain
officials were to have 25 per cent. of a half million affair. The Hot
Springs belong to the Government. I do not know that the springs
had been made the special object of somebody, but the zeal manifested
so suddenly to go that way has a singular connection with Colonel
Compton's story. I am very busy, and hope I have written on all nec-
essary matters. Communications are very slow, but I hope you will
continue to post me and come back soon.
I am, colonel, very truly, yours,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
STEAMER SUNSHINE, December 30, 1862.
We are on our return to Helena, after having gone below the mouth
of White River several miles, but not to Napoleon. About midway of
the island we were hailed by two men, and took them aboard. They
proved to be of the crew of the steamer Blue Wing, which left Helena
a day or two since with two barges of coal in tow, bound downward to
the fleet. They report her captured at Cypress Bend, 8 miles below
Napoleon, on the Arkansas shore. She was attacked by artillery, and,
having no guard or escort or other defense, surrendered. The boat and
barges were towed up the Arkansas River. This was confirmed by two
conscript refugees whom we picked up on the island. They further said
they understood that a piece of artillery was to be sent to Napoleon,
and a small detachment of troops. They heard firing in the direction
of Napoleon about noon yesterday ; sounded like cannonading. As it
is about time the Rocket, the dispatch boat sent to Admiral Porter,
should return, the general (who concluded to go himself to Napoleon)
fears it may have been attacked, but thinks, with a hundred good in-
fantry and two howitzers, she can cut her way through. The general
thought it imprudent to go to Napoleon, so we put about, and are Helena-
ward bound now. From these refugees we learn that there is still a
large force at Arkansas Post. They say that the road from Napoleon
up the Arkansas River is very bad-I should think impassable for
artillery until the bluffs are reached, 20 or 30 miles from Napoleon.
They report no large rise in Arkansas. They say that there is about 6
feet on the bars; perhaps little more. The White is in better stage.
This is about the amount of our information derived.
The cotton-burners in Mississippi are again on a tour of incendiarism
and conflagration. A great deal of cotton, which escaped up to the
departure of Sherman's expedition, is now being burned under order of
If you decide to give up Helena, what shall be done with the large
surplus of transportation, mules, wagons, &c. ? Where shall the siege
guns be taken if, as I suspect, Napoleon cannot be fortified to advantage t
Where shall the thousand contrabands be sent (the old men, women,
and children) ? Where the accumulated contraband property, condemned
and to be condemned quartermaster and commissary stores and prop-
erty ? A very large quantity of commissary stores is being sent to Cap-
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United States. War Department. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union And Confederate Armies. Series 1, Volume 22, In Two Parts. Part 1, Reports., book, 1888; Washington D.C.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth154600/m1/889/?q=Blue: accessed November 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.