manded by Price, and of course was compelled to fall back. Hunter's plan of moving these troops was to strike the river at a point below Lexington in our control, cross, and march up to the place. In the interview with General Fremont the question was asked whether any orders had been given to re-enforce Mulligan, and the reply being in the negative, General Hunter suggested orders to Sturgis; and had the order then been given by telegraph he would have reached the river before Price had taken possession of the north bank and could have crossed. The order was not given until three days after the interview. This loss of time was fatal.
Mulligan was ordered from Jefferson City, then garrisoned with 5,000 troops, with only one regiment to hold Lexington until he could be relieved. When Lexington fell, Price had 20,000 men, his force receiving daily augmentations from the disaffected in the State. He was permitted to gather much plunder and fall back towards Arkansas unmolested until we were at Tipton, the 13th October, when the accounts were that he was crossing the Osage. Fremont's order of march was issued to an army of nearly 40,000, many of the regiments badly equipped, with inadequate supplies of ammunition, clothing, and transportation. With what prospect, it must be inquired, can General Fremont, under such circumstances, expect to overtake a retreating army, some 100 miles ahead, with a deep river between?
General Hunter expressed to the Secretary of War his decided opinion that General Fremont was incompetent and unfit for his extensive and important command. This opinion he gave reluctantly, owing to his position as second in command.
The opinion entertained by gentlemen who have approached and observed him is that he is more fond of the pomp than of the stern realities of war; that his mind is incapable of fixed attention or strong concentration; that by this mismanagement of affairs since his arrival in Missouri the State has almost been lost, and that if he is continued in command, the worst results may be anticipated. This is the concurrent testimony of a very large number of the most intelligent men in Missouri.
Leaving Tipton on the 13th, we arrived at Saint Louis late in the evening, and on the 14th the Secretary of War directed me to issue the following instructions to General Fremont.*
Instructions were previously given (October 12) to the Honorable James Craig to raise a regiment at Saint Joseph, Mo.
We left Saint Louis October 14, and arrived at Indianapolis in the evening. Remained at Indianapolis October 15, and conversed freely with Governor Morton. We found that the State of Indiana had come nobly up to the work of suppressing the rebellion. Fifty-five regiments, with several batteries of artillery, had been raised and equipped; a larger number of troops in proportion to population than any other State had sent into the field. The best spirit prevailed, and it was manifest that additional troops could readily be raised. The governor had established an arsenal, and furnished all the Indiana troops with full supplies of ammunition, including fixed ammunition for their batteries of artillery. This arsenal was visited, and found to be in full operation. It was under the charge of a competent pyrotechnist. Quite a number of females were employed in making cartridges, and I venture to assert that the ammunition is equal to that which is manufactured anywhere else.
Governor Morton stated that his funds for this purpose were exhausted, but the Secretary desired him to continue his operations, informing him
*See Thomas to Fremont, October 14, p. 532.