McCulloch, but my own belief is that if pursued he will not halt this side of the Arkansas line unless forced to do so. If it be the purpose of the general commanding to pursue as rapidly as possible, I would respectfully suggest that a limited supply of transportation and cavalry would enable General Sigel's division and my own to move forward immediately. I think our combined force amply sufficient to deal with Price, who from the best information has not over 20,000 men with him. It is believed among people here that he will divide this force in order to subsist if during his retreat south, and General Sigel and myself, if not able utterly to rout him, will at least be able to force a halt until he can be dealt with.
I would suppose that 150 wagons, with what can be collected by pressing, would be sufficient to enable these two divisions to move efficiently.
I shall send this letter if possible by special express, and hope by to-morrow afternoon to know what are the purposes of the general commanding in relation to my division-whether it had not best be concentrated either here or at some point south of this place. I will report to-morrow the exact condition in all respects of Davis' brigade.
I am, colonel, respectfully, your obedient servant,
Acting Major-General, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI, Cairo, October 9, 1861.
Captain CHAUNCEY McKEEVER, Saint Louis, Mo.:
Yesterday I visited Cape Girardeau, and found that Colonel Plummer was working every available man upon the fortifications, and had really accomplished more in one week than would have been done under an inefficient officer in two months. At the same rate Cape
Girardeau will be very completely fortified by Saturday; requiring, however, some more heavy ordnance. I am very much in favor, as a general thing, of 24-pounder pieces on siege carriages, instead of ponderous guns, that take so much to mount and are moved from one place to another with so much labor. I never would use them except in permanent positions. Cape Girardeau wants four, can use six, pieces. Colonel Plummer reports the Home Guards as of no use, and not to be found when called upon. I authorized the discontinuance of all recognition of them; also recommended, rather authorized, Captain Powell, an efficient officer of the Twentieth Illinois Volunteers, who has been acting as engineer, to raise a company to manage the siege guns. He reported that the company can be raised in two days at Cape Girardeau. This authority was given subject to the approval of the commander of department. Information here would indicate that troops are assembling ready to attack Paducah. My belief is that the attack will not be made for the present, however, but should it I will give General Smith all the aid prudent. The fact is, when I sent troops to Paducah, I selected the fullest regiments and those best armed and equipped, leaving here the raw, unarmed, and ragged. I would recommend that authority be given the quartermaster here to purchase horses for the use of Captain Houghtaling's company of light artillery. They can be purchased here as cheaply as at Saint Louis, and on certificate to be paid there.
I would renew my recommendation that huts be put up for winter quarters for such garrison as it may be contemplated will occupy this