About a week after the surrender of Lexington I learned that General Fremont was concentrating at Georgetown, near the terminus of the North Branch of the Pacific Railroad, a large force, and knowing that the enemy has also some 4,000 men at Kansas City, I deemed it prudent not to risk being hemmed in, but for a time to abandon the Missouri River and fall back south. This I have done by slow and easy marches, and am now within a couple of days' march of General McCulloch's advance position; thus at any time enabled to form a junction with him should the movement of the enemy make it necessary.
My force now consists of from 10,000 to 12,000 men, variously armed, and tolerably well supplied with ammunition. I expect daily accessions to my force from the southwestern part of the State, which is and always has been true to the cause of the South.
General Fremont's force at Georgetown and vicinity is variously estimated at from 15,000 to 24,000 men. His extensive preparations of land transportation evidently anticipated a move southward, and to-day I am informed that, having been joined by the troops from Kansas, General Fremont is moving south will a well-appointed army of some 24,000.
Should this report be confirmed, I will immediately form a junction with General McCulloch, when, aided by the nature of the country, so well adapted to defensive operations, I trust we will be able to drive the invader from our soil. I learn that most of the enemy's force has been withdrawn from Saint Louis to strengthen General Fremont, which, if true, leaves that city almost defenseless, and may have an important bearing on your operations. It will afford me much pleasure to co-operate with you or receive suggestions in relation to future movements.*
I am, general, with much respect, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Mo. S. G.
CAMP POLK, ISLAND Numbers 10,
October 16, 1861.
Major General LEONIDAS POLK,
Commanding General Department Numbers 2:
GENERAL: The Mohawk goes back to Columbus to-day. We are working hard towards completing the fortifications at this point or at least putting them in such condition that any body of troops, if ordered here, can by their labor in a few days thereafter finish the works for a strong defense. The lines are laid off complete for the three batteries. One fort (the redan) is ready for its full complement of guns, nine or ten.
It has four 32-pounders mounted.
The entrenchments connecting this fort are not complete to the bayou, but the troops, whenever it becomes necessary to occupy them, can finish them. Much timber had to be cleared off the ground on the island and immediately opposite. We have but 60 negroes now at work, the others having gone home. Those now here leave us on Saturday. We shall then be without laborers to put the works in the condition I have stated-that the troops could finish in a few days whenever ordered here.
I have learned from Mr. Griswold, who had been down on duty connected with our work, that they have actually more hands at Fort Pil-
*See Johnston to Price, October 31, post.