supporting this movement from the Current River Valley. If it be of a formidable character, I shall have to rely upon entrenchments at this point. If it be only the movement of McBride's forces, I shall cut off his communications if the advances, and fall upon his rear.
It will be necessary that two companies of pioneers, with their equipments, should be sent forward forthwith to this point, if it be designed to put this post in a defensible attitude. So far, I have had nothing, neither tools nor men of experience in engineering, other than Major Trout. If the position is deemed of sufficient importance, it should not only be cared for in such respects, but the necessary artillery, with a sufficient number of artillerists, should be at once sent down. I have scrutinized Colonel Hecker's regiment, and found seventeen good artillerists, who are now organizing to take charge of the guns at this point. As the company of artillery whose time is out refuse to do any further service other than such as I have compelled them to perform, they should be recalled.
I would also ask for information what I am to do with spies and suspicious characters I find daily haunting this vicinity. Courtsmartial will disable my command. I had thought of forming a military commission of three officers to take such cases in hand as a court of inquiry. Where the proof is found on the men they ought to be dealt with promptly.
In addition to the other embarrassments, I have to report that there is a portion of my own immediate command whose term of service expires on the 8th instant, and they insist upon being returned to Saint Louis at that time. Such persons are not fit to be relied on as soldiers, and I would submit the propriety of dispensing with the further service of all such. In fact, the thee-months' volunteers have been only a source of demoralization to the Army of the West at the best, and I shall be heartily glad to get rid of them.
There has been for some days post a movement of the families and goods of secessionists form this point, which either betrays fear of our presence or a knowledge of the approach of the enemy. I am inclined to think the latter.
If I shall receive no further advices this evening I shall call in colonel Hecker's command in the morning, only leaving strong pickets to note the movements to the west of this position, and sending out scouts to glean all the information possible.
Colonel Bland's regiment returned barefooted, and with a very insufficient supply of clothing. It should be put in condition for effective service promptly. He complains very bitterly that his requisitions have received no attention.
B. GRATZ BROWN,
Captain JOHN C. KELTON,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Saint Louis.