None of ‘our Western generals’ had then done anything very ‘creditable and brilliant.’ Even Grant was the object of grave charges and bitter attacks. Powerful influences were at work to supersede him in command of the army in west Tennessee. Had there been any available general at that time capable of commanding public confidence, the military idea would doubtless have prevailed, but in the absence of such a leader the politicians triumphed in part. The old department, called Department of the Mississippi, was divided, and Major-General Samuel R. Curtis was assigned to command the new Department of the Missouri, composed of the territory west of the Mississippi River. For some months the radicals had it all their own way, and military confiscation was carried on without hindrance. When this change occurred I was in the field in immediate command of the forces which I had assembled there for aggressive operations, and which General Curtis named the ‘Army of the Frontier.’ My official report of December 7, 1862, gave a full account of the operations of that army up to November 20, when sickness compelled me to relinquish the command. As will be seen from that report and from my correspondence with General Curtis at the time, it was then well known that the enemy was concentrating in the Arkansas valley all the troops he could raise, and making preparations to return across the Boston Mountains and ‘dispute with us the possession of northwestern Arkansas and southwestern Missouri’; and I had placed my troops where they could live to a great extent on
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