retreat of Lyon's army, although it was supposed in Saint Louis that Price and McCulloch were following it, and that Hardee had moved up to cut off its retreat on the Gasconade.
An advance of these regiments would have enabled the army to retrace its steps and to beat the forces of Price and McCulloch so badly, that they would have been unable to follow our forces in their retreat. It is said that every officer in Lyon's army expected to meet re-enforcements, and to return with them, and drive Price and McCulloch from the southwest.
General Hunter arrived at Saint Louis from Chicago, called thither on a suggestion from Washington, as an adviser. General Fremont submitted to him, for consideration and advice, a paper called "Disposition for retaking Springfield (See Exhibit Numbers 13, C). It sets out with a statement that Springfield is the strong strategical point of that wide elevation which separates the waters of the Osage from those of the Arkansas, the key to the whole of Southwestern Missouri, commanding an area of nearly 60,000 miles. Why did not this enter the brain of the major-general before the full of Lyon, and he strain every nerve to hold that important key when in his possession?
General Hunter, in answer to the paper, replied, "Why march on Springfield, where there is no enemy and nothing to take. Let me take the troops and proceed to Lexington," in which direction Price was marching, and where he expected to be joined by 40,000 rebels. Instead of this, he was sent to Rolla, without instructions, and remained there until ordered to Jefferson City, still without instructions, and thence to Tipton, where we found him.
No steps having been taken by General Fremont to meet Price in the field, he moved forward his line of march, plainly indicating his intention of proceeding to Lexington. When within some 35 miles of the place he remained ten or more days, evidently expecting that some movement would be made against him. None being made, he advanced, and with his much superior force laid siege to Lexington, defended by Mulligan, with 2,700 men, September 12, and captured it the 21st, nine days thereafter.
Now for the facts to show that this catastrophe could have been prevented, and Price's army destroyed before or after that disastrous affair.
Before Price got to Lexington the forces to resist him were as follows: Jefferson City, 5,500; at Rolla, 4,000; along the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad, about 5,000; western line of Missouri, under Lane, down near Fort Scott, 2,300; Mulligan's force at Lexington, 2,700; a large force in Illinois, along the Mississippi River, and on the Iowa line; outside of Saint Louis, some 17,000; in Saint Louis, 18,000, but say 10,000.
Hunter's plan, up to Sunday, September 22, was to concentrate from Saint Louis, Jefferson City, and Rolla, also from the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad, 20,000 men, and relieve Mulligan. He said that if Price was a soldier Lexington had then fallen, but he could with energy be captured, with all his baggage and plunder. The objection that there was no transportation is idle. The railroads and river were at command, and the march from Sedalia was only 45 miles. The force could, General Hunter supposed, be thrown into Lexington by Thursday, as it appears before it was taken.
General Fremont ordered Sturgis, in North Missouri, to Lexington, and by crossing the river to re-enforce Mulligan. Sturgis had only 1,100 men, and on reaching the river opposite the town found it com-