idea that the enemy in that force will think of pressing far into the State.
Not doubting you will act wisely in the whole matter, I remain, respectfully, your obedient servant,
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, WESTERN DEPARTMENT,
Columbus, Ky., October 25, 1861.
Commanding Missouri State Troops:
SIR: I am in receipt of your letters of the 18th, 20th, 22th, and 23rd.*
The reports of your operations are highly interesting, and we have been pleased to know that you have so completely accomplished the main object of your expedition-that relating to the destruction of the bridges. I am glad to know that you can speak so satisfactorily of the behavior of your troops at Fredericktown, but regret to their you should have sustained a loss of the valuable men whole names you mention. I note what you say of sending you regiments to support you from my command. I regret to say that the information we have of the position and purposes of the enemy in our immediate front makes it impossible for me to detach any portion of my force for service remote from my position. I have not the force to spare.
My opinion is that you should do one of two things, either fall back into Arkansas to Pitman's Ferry, or fall back on to the plank road and come out at Point Pleasant. If you conclude to do the former, you can cross the river at the Ferry, and take al the boats at the western side, and make your stand on the opposite side, where you can make successful resistance.
If you conclude to take the latter course, which, considering you are at Bloomfield, I think the most probable, then you must make your way to the river by the plank road, and if you cannot maintain your position on the other side, you must cross over and take up your position on the bank at Island Numbers 10.
Your force can be usefully employed there until we can obtain re-enforcements from the South and be prepared to move on Southeastern Missouri. I am making that position one of strength, and it is as important to Missouri as to any other State. I shall have a boat always at Island Numbers 10, where you might be crossed over, or, if you think to go below, wherever you want her. I hope you will keep me well advised of your movements. I send by one of your messengers a dispatch to Colonel Borland, to advise him of the course and purposes of the enemy. You will have no doubt given him warning yourself, but I have certain suggestions to make to him which I hope will be in time.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
LITTLE ROCK, October 25, 1861.
Honorable J. P. BENJAMIN, Secretary of War:
Intelligence has reached here to-day that Fremont, with a large force, is approaching the northwest border of Arkansas. Price retreating to
*See reports, pp. 225-228.