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 of the ground; and when he reached Clarendon on the 9th of July, he was informed that the flotilla had left twenty-four hours before. After so long and fatiguing a march, this was a cruel disappointment; the junction he had been on the point of effecting was thenceforth impossible. In coming so far to find nothing but a deserted, arid shore, he had lost, without any compensation, all the advantages of the position he had occupied either at Pea Ridge in the west, or at Batesville in the centre of the State. Meanwhile, he could neither retrace his steps through a country destitute of resources, nor remain on the borders of White River without food, without ammunition, without the means of communicating with any base of operations. There was but one course for him to pursue, and that was to gain the waters of the Mississippi as quickly as possible; so that he was compelled to take up his line of march again with his worn-out soldiers toward the east. In proportion as one approaches the great river, the country becomes more humid and broken. An almost tropical vegetation transforms every marshy stream into an impenetrable copse. It was, however, necessary to push on at all hazards, and not to suffer himself to be delayed either by the enemy or by nature. Washburne, with all the cavalry, numbering two thousand five hundred horses, accompanied by five howitzers, cleared the road, and traversed the distance of one hundred kilometres intervening between Clarendon and Helena in twenty-four hours. Curtis, following him by long marches, reached the latter point on the 13th of July. He there found the provisions he so greatly needed; but fastened to the banks of the Mississippi, and separated from the Arkansas by the regions he had just traversed with so much difficulty, he found himself utterly powerless, and during the whole summer his troops, occupied in guarding posts along the river, had no other duty to perform than to cover the extreme right of the army, which was operating on the other side. He had thus left the western counties of Arkansas and Missouri at the mercy of all the small bands which his presence had hitherto held in check; and this long march, justified in some degree by the military events of which the valley of the Mississippi was the theatre, actually involved the abandonment of those vast
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