troops occupied the battle-field of Prairie Grove
when I resumed command on December 29, and the remainder were making a raid to the Arkansas River
, where they destroyed some property, and found that Hindman
had retreated toward Little Rock
It was evident that the campaign in that part of the country for that season was ended.
The question was ‘What next?’
I took it for granted that the large force under my command—nearly 16,000 men—was not to remain idle while Grant
or some other commander was trying to open the Mississippi River
; and I was confirmed in this assumption by General Curtis
's previous order to march eastward with two divisions, which order, though premature when given, might now be renewed without danger.
At once, therefore, I set to work to organize a suitable force, including the Indian
regiments, to hold the country we had gained, and three good divisions to prosecute such operations as might be determined on, and at once commenced the march north and east toward the theater of future active operations.
Although I had at first esteemed General Blunt
much more highly than he deserved, and had given him most liberal commendation in my official report for all he had done, I became satisfied that he was unfit in any respect for the command of a division of troops against a disciplined enemy.
As was my plain duty, I suggested confidentially to General Curtis
that the command of a division in the field was not General Blunt
's true place, and that he be assigned to the District of Kansas, where I permitted him to go, at his own request, to look after his personal interests.
rebuked me for making such a suggestion, and betrayed my confidence by giving my despatch to James H. Lane
, senator from Kansas
, and others of Blunt
's political friends, thus putting me before the President
and the United States Senate in the light of unjust hostility to gallant officers who