day we arrived in Kirksville, and took up position at Felb's Bridge, in the southwest corner of Knox County, on Salt River. Their numbers are daily decreasing, but the desperate men among them are moving in a body south, towards Monroe and Ralls Counties, and will probably cross the railroad near Clarence.
I have sent out daily strong parties of observation, who generally succeed in meeting small bodies going to or returning from camp. In these rencounters some casualties have occurred. Before my arrival Corporal Dix, of Company C, Third Iowa, with a few Home Guards, was surrounded by a large body of rebels, and after a most desperate resistance, in which five of the enemy were killed, the corporal was killed and his detachment dispersed. The enemy laid out his body decently, and sent notice to this camp. The body was recovered, and buried with military honors. Having learned on my arrival that his weapons were in the same neighborhood, and probably in custody of a man named Jackson, on whose ground the rebel camp on Bee Branch was situated, and well known to have furnished large supplies to them, I sent a strong body into that neighborhood, who recovered the weapons, and found at Jackson's house some fourteen rebels, guards on one of their officers, severely wounded in the skirmish with Corporal Dix. The rebels fled, and were fired upon. One, a man named Brown, From Schuyler County, was killed; Jackson wounded in the knee, and brought in, with three others, prisoners. The others escaped. The officer was too severely wounded to be moved, and was left on parole.
Communication with Macon City had been cut off by a band under Captain Gross, from the neighborhood of La Plata, who will be dispersed to-day. The mail-carried is a secessionist, and avails himself of the disturbances to refuse to perform his duty.
I am waiting anxiously for two things-to establish communications with Moore and his command and to hear from Foster. The wealthy citizens of this county are very sick of guerrilla warfare. I have spread your proclamation as fully as possible, and informed this neighborhood that this force must be maintained by them, which is done with proper discrimination. I found about 500 Home Guards here, whom I have dismissed, except about 100 active mounted men, whom I retained for outside pickets.
A great difficulty besets us here in obtaining timely information. Union men are slow to come in and inform us, and we rarely know the movements of the enemy until too late.
The Third Iowa are entitled to great credit for their efficiency in this detached service and the steadiness with which they have held their post.
As soon as junction can be effected with Moore, I shall follow these marauders. I would not hesitate to attack, disperse, or destroy them, with three discreet companies of cavalry, though they are 1,200 strong. Without cavalry it will be difficult, but will be done.
My line of progress from this place will be down the divide of Salt River to the railroad; thence to Marion County. I have received no communications from any source since I came here. I send this by messenger, who visits Saint Louis to see Mr. William P. Linder, cashier of the Branch Bank of this city, who had foolishly fled.
As soon as communications are re-established I will report again.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army.
Brigadier General JOHN POPE, U. S. A.