War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0648 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T.

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CAMP SIKESTON, MO., August 13, 1861.

Major A. WAUGH, Commanding Scott County Battalion, Present:

DEAR SIR: You will take 50 picked men from your battalion, and go as far northward of this point as may be safe and necessary to guard against the approach of the enemy in that direction. It is reported that 500 men are at Benton. Watch them closely, that they do not cut off your communication and retreat towards me. Your infantry should go about 5 or 6 miles north of this place, but I will send you 50 dragoons, to advance as vedettes and pickets, under your direction, to effectually guard against danger from that direction. Rations will be forwarded to you or can be procured there, as you see fit. Should I not send you a courier or messenger, return to-morrow after sunrise; and should you hear three guns from this point at any time, fall back immediately. I have cautioned the picket towards Bird's Point that if they hear three guns to fall back, unless fighting themselves, when the signal will be for you to come to their assistance. If you are fighting, the signal will be for them to come to your assistance. Six guns will mean come anyhow. I leave the details of your movement, after you start, to yourself.

Yours, &c.,

M. JEFF. THOMPSON,

Brigadier-General, Commanding.

CAMP SIKESTON, MO., August 14, 1861-6.30 a.m.

Brigadier General GIDEON J. PILLOW, New Madrid, Mo.:

DEAR SIR: Last night, about 11.30 o'clock, a courier came in from towards Benton, and also from Charleston, reporting both parties approaching the enemy, and the courier from towards Benton reports him advancing. I immediately sent you two cavalry companies, a company of dragoons and one of infantry, to support the party towards Benton, and the party at Charleston to obey their original orders, as I have no one to send to their support. I have not much faith in the reported advance from Benton, but provided against it anyhow. If Walker's regiment had been here I would have sent them to Charleston, and held that place against the enemy until you came to my help, as there is a rich neighborhood there, which could furnish us much transportation and provender. No couriers have come in since the hour named. I will write constantly as news arrives. I ordered Walker up las night, and expect him in a few hours. I send a requisition for ammunition; please let me have some.

Yours, most respectfully,

M. JEFF. THOMPSON,

Brigadier-General, Commanding

CAMP SIKESTON, MO., August 14, 1861-7.30 p.m.

Brigadier General GIDEON J. PILLOW, C. S. A., New Madrid, Mo.:

DEAR GENERAL: The party sent to Charleston has returned, and of course tell many remarkable stories about their adventures. They brought in 2 prisoners, who were privates in the dragoons (who charged through the town this morning, and were thrown from their horses), and they both agree in saying that all of Fremont's force is at Bird's Point, and numbers about 13,000. One says he had been sent on picket