I have been greatly embarrassed in my endeavors to ascertain the true condition of affairs here. On my arrival I was without a single staff officer to assist me. General Hamilton accompanied me, but he was without a commission or orders and could exercise on authority. I was told by yourself and General Thomas that Captain Fry, assistant adjutant-general, was ordered to this department, but afterwards learned that he had been sent to the Department of the Ohio, where there were already two. As most of the officers here were charged with being involved in the existing disorders, I have been unable to obtain a sufficient number for staff duty. I hope that a few more regular officers may be sent to this department for staff, mustering, and inspecting duty.
This is absolutely necessary for the public service.
Reports come to me daily of troops being in a suffering, disorganized, and mutinous condition, and I can ascertain the real facts only be sending out officers of experience and worthy of confidence. This department is almost stripped of regular officers. The organizing and mustering into service troops who claim to have served for months without being mustered is a matter of pressing necessity, but it is very difficult to find officers capable of performing this duty. I shall keep you informed by telegraph and letter of the condition of this department so far as I can ascertain it. I have not written before, as I had nothing of particular importance to communicate.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
HDQRS. ARMY NORTH MISSOURI, Numbers 1. Quincy, Ill., November 28, 1861.
I. The undersigned having been, by General Orders, Numbers 9, dated Headquarters Department of the Missouri, Saint Louis, November 26, 1861, assigned to the command of the District of North Missouri, comprising all that portion of the State of Missouri north of the Missouri River, hereby assumes command of the said district.
* * * *
B. M. PRENTISS,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., November 28, 1861.
Colonel FRED. STEELE,
Commanding at Sedalia, Mo.:
Yours of the 26th received. No orders have been given to fall back, nor is there any intention to do so. The only movement contemplated is an advance. I fully approve your views.
H. W. HALLECK,
ROLLA, MO., November 28, 1861.
A party just from Springfield states there were between 4,000 and 5,000 of the enemy, Arkansas troops, at that place on Friday. He saw