HEADQUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT, Jefferson City, September 29, 1861.
SIR: You are directed to fall immediately back upon Fort Leavenworth, sending up the Government stores, should there be any in Kansas City, by water to Leavenworth, or destroying them in case there are no means of transport.
Should there be any regular troops at Leavenworth, or immediately expected there, you will effect a junction with them, and proceed by railroad to Chillicothe, and from there move by the Grand River to join General Pope.
You will instantly advise General Lane, who at the last accounts had a successful engagement with the enemy at Papinsville, and was between that place and Warsaw, of all your movements, if practicable, by a verbal message. General Prentiss has been instructed to facilitate your movements, and in concert with Governor Robinson, of Kansas, to use every possible endeavor to hold Fort Leavenworth. As, however, under no circumstances ought the Government stores to fall into the hands of the rebel forces, you will make all necessary preparations to effect their speedy and certain destruction should the enemy attack that place in such force as to render its capture certain.
J. C. FREMONT,
HEADQUARTERS KANSAS BRIGADE, October 4, 1861.
GENERAL: I have inspected the letter of General Fremont of September 29. Are you not satisfied it was predicated upon the fact that the enemy crossed a force on the north side of the river that we know had recrossed?
I am satisfied if this order is acted upon we will present the singular spectacle of retreating from an army that is itself retreating. Can we be mistaken in our information or is General Fremont? Let me see you, general, before you act on this letter.
HEADQUARTERS KANSAS BRIGADE, Camp Mitchell, October 4, 1861.
SIR: I have had further time to consider the order of Major-General Fremont of September 29, and I am so confident that it is founded in misconception of the enemy's movements, and intentions, that I do again earnestly solicit a conference with you before a single step is taken in the premises. To obey the order is to give up the contest in the West, to stampede the people of Kansas, and to devastate it. Not until a battle is fought and a defeat suffered should Kansas City be given up to the enemy. Allowing the order to be predicated upon correct knowledge, I am clear that Fort Leavenworth and Kansas should be defended at or near Kansas City. I will await a message from you naming a time and place for a conference. It would suit me very well to have it here.
J. H. LANE,
Commanding Kansas Brigade.