upon the Island, a force might be detached from the latter, which, marching upon the line of his advance, could cut him off. I think a Garrison at Helena consisting of an efficient brigade of Infantry, with 500 Cavalry, a battery of light Artillery and a few heavy guns in position, the whole properly entrenched, would suffice to secure that place. And, I think, a Garrison of one Division of Infantry, 1500 Cavalry and 3 Batteries of light Artillery on the Island, with a Gunboat to patrol the Mississippi, White and Arkansas rivers in that vicinity, would serve to secure that place. To guard against overflow on the Island a levee might be soon thrown up around the immediate camp by the Garrison, or by negroes found in the vicinity." DfS, McClernand Papers, IHi. On Feb. 27, USG forwarded this letter to Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck. DNA, RG 108, Register of Letters Received.
On Feb. 28, McClernand wrote to USG. "Still keeping in view the proposed Expedition to clear Arkansas and the west bank of the Miss. river of an organized hostile force, I have continued to avail myself all means of obtaining useful information in that respect. It appears that the force of the enemy on the Arkansas river is disposed somewhat differently from that it was according to my last communication upon this subject. Genl. Prentiss informs me under date of the 24th inst. that there is rebel force of 2000 at Pine Bluff; 10.000 at Little Rock, of which 4000 are sick; and I learn, otherwise, that there is a force of some 1500 at Post Arkansas. Genl. Prentiss' informant informs him that these troops are very scant of wholesome food, are much dissatisfied and demoralized, and are apprehensive of an attack coming from the Mississippi river. The force I suggested in my previous communication, suddenly thrown upon them, ought to capture or disperse the whole of them. If in your judgment the time has arrived for the movement I would be glad to lead it. In that event, I would like to confer with you in regard to the proportions of Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery which the movementshould to combine." ALS, ibid., RG 94, War Records Office, Dept. of the Tenn. O. R., I, xxiv, part 3, 73.
Before Vicksburg, Miss.
February 19th 1863.
HIS EXCELLENCY A. LINCOLN, PRESIDENT,
Mrs. Hoge of Illinois has shown me a letter from yourself expressing a willingness to commission her son, Holmes Hoge