At the same time I was notified that similar instructions had been sent to Brigadier General C. F. Smith, commanding Paducah, Ky., and was directed to communicate with him freely as to my movements, that his might be co-operative.
On the 2nd of the same month, and before it was possible for any considerable preparation to have been made for the execution of this order, the following telegraphic dispatch was received:
SAINT LOUIS, November 2, 1861.
Jeff. Thompson is at Indian Ford of the Saint Francois River, 25 miles below Greenville, with about 3,000 men. Colonel Carlin has started with force from Pilot Knob. Send a force Cape Girardeau and Bird's Point to assist Carlin in driving Thompson into Arkansas.
By order of Major-General Fremont:
The forces I determined to send from Bird's Point were immediately designated, and Colonel R. J. Oglesby, Eighth Illinois Volunteers, assigned to the command, under the following detailed instructions:
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI, Cairo, November 3, 1861.
You will take command of an expedition, consisting of your regiment, four companies of the Eleventh Illinois, all of the Eighteenth and Twenty-ninth, three companies of cavalry from Bird's Point [to be selected and notified by yourself], and a section of Schwartz' battery, artillery, and proceed by steamboats to Commerce, Mo. From Commerce you will strike for Sikeston, Mr. Cropper acting as guide. From there you will go in pursuit of a rebel force, understood to be 3,000 strong, under Jeff. Thompson, now at Indian Ford, on the Saint Francois River.
An expedition has already left Ironton, Mo., to attack this force. Should they learn that they have left that place it will not be necessary for you to go there, but pursue the enemy in any direction he may go, always being cautious not to fall in with an unlooked-for foe too strong for the command under you.
The object of the expedition is to destroy this force, and the manner of doing it is left largely at your discretion, believing it better not to trammel you with instructions. Transportation will be furnished you for fourteen days' rations and four or five days' forage. All you may require outside of this must be furnished by the country through which you pass.
In taking supplies you will be careful to select a proper officer to press them, and require a receipt to be given, and the articles pressed accounted for in the same manner as if purchased.
You are particularly enjoined to allow no foraging by your men. It is demoralizing in the extreme, and is apt to make open enemies where they would not otherwise exist.
U. S. GRANT,
Colonel R. J. OGLESBY,
Commanding, &c., Bird's Point, Mo.
Colonel J. B. Plummer, Eleventh Missouri Volunteers, commanding Cape Girardeau, was directed to send one regiment in the direction of Bloomfield, with a view to attracting the attention of the enemy.
The forces under Colonel Oglesby were all got off on the evening of the 3rd.
On the 5th a telegram was received from headquarters Saint Louis, stating that the enemy was re-enforcing Price's army from Columbus by way of White River, and directing that the demonstration that had been ordered against Columbus be immediately made. Orders were accordingly at once given to the troops under my command that remained at Cairo, Bird's Point, and Fort Holt. A letter was also sent to Brigadier