HEADQUARTERS MISSOURI STATE GUARD,
Camp at Neosho, October 23, 1861.
Brigadier General BEN. McCULLOCH, Commanding Confederate Forces:
GENERAL: I had reliable information yesterday from scouts and travelers that General Fremont has not yet crossed the Osage. General Sigel has crossed it, and has been at Warsaw. There has been a party of several hundred Home Guards at Osceola and Bolivar, and they have as usual been engaged in a wholesale destruction of property. I place confidence in this information. I can see no reason to resist its truthfulness. I can further say that I am fully convinced that General Fremont does not intend to advance upon me here. When I receive my artillery from the South (which cannot fail to reach me, under the charge and escort of General John B. Clark, within ten days, or two weeks at furthest), it is my deliberate conviction, from a careful survey of the whole ground, that duty, as well as the best military calculation, requires me to return at once, and rapidly, to the Missouri River.
Allow me, general, to state some of these reasons. I think that Kansas' power to depredate upon us and assist the enemy should be broken, but I would not now, in this section, destroy that which is absolutely necessary for the subsistence-I may almost say the existence-of the surrounding inhabitants. Let the policy be to commence these offensive demonstrations on the Missouri River. First, we should destroy the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad, thus crippling if not almost depriving the enemy of the ways and means of re-enforcing their allies, in the section too weak at that time to make a substantial resistance to us. Kansas' power to injure us is located near the Missouri River. It is there that abolitionism reigns; it is there her wealth is held; it is there her fighting men are raised; in short, it is the center from which all her depredations upon Southern rights and Southern property radiate. Should we commence there, after first destroying the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad, they cannot re-enforce from the great points of their strength-I mean the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois-for al these forces must come that way, if they are designed at all to check or prevent the operations we will have in view; whereas if we commence on the southern border of Kansas these vast re-enforcements will be collected, with all the necessary machinery of war, on the Missouri river by the time we reach there, giving us much to fear, if they did not seriously jeopardize the full success of the whole movement. Pursuing the course suggested I think will certainly guarantee us the prize. Let us then move, as indicated, upon the Missouri River, where I shall have abundant supplies of every kind and any number of men and the hearty sympathy and co-operation of the people. Your march in that direction with your force would inspire confidence and arouse enthusiasm. What, then, can prevent your going to a section where the people would hail your coming with the greatest joy, and where your name and fame and that of your gallant men would bring to our standard an army of full 50,000 men, in fact all the many thousands needed for the most energetic and offensive operations, and I believe the thorough establishment of Southern independence in the Mississippi Valley, if it were not more comprehensive in its results even than that. Let us, then, by all means move to the Missouri River.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General, Commanding Mo. S. G.