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[96] more like a commander of a beaten army, anxious to avoid the enemy, than a commander who had fought and won a great battle and was eager to secure the fruits of his victory. He clamored incessantly for reinforcements when there was no enemy to oppose him, and not until the first of June did he get things to warrant him, in his own mind, in taking the offensive. Then he was supported by an ironclad fleet on White river, and a cooperating force, 7,000 or 8,000 strong, was moving down from Fort Scott, in Kansas, prepared to invade Arkansas from the northwest. But Curtis had waited too long. His eminent conservatism had caused him to lose the golden opportunity.

Before that time Gen. Thomas C. Hindman had been assigned to the command of the Trans-Mississippi department. He was wounded at Shiloh, but as soon as he recovered sufficiently to be able to travel he came West, accompanied only by his staff. He was admirably fitted for the peculiar duties that devolved upon him—which were to defend an unarmed country and make an army out of nothing. He was fertile in resource; prompt, aggressive, and regardless of the forms of law when they conflicted with the accomplishment of the purpose he had in view. He began the work of making an army by stopping, en route for Corinth, a force of more than a thousand Texas cavalry, and using them to deceive and frighten Curtis, as well as making them the nucleus of the army he was about to organize. He created the belief that he was receiving heavy reinforcements from southern Arkansas and Louisiana and Texas, and an abundant supply of arms and munitions of war from east of the Mississippi, and caused information to that effect to reach Curtis. With his cavalry he hovered around him, drove in his pickets, and at every favorable opportunity attacked him in flank and rear. These maneuvers and deceptions had their effect, for in a short time Curtis became alarmed and retired with his army of 15,000 men

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