The enemy moved in three division and with great caution, throwing off at Greenfield a strong flank guard to Montevallo. His advance was at Stockton before I knew it. Ritchie had gone to Carthage. Hearing the enemy had some force still behind, I dared not move all the force from Fort Scott. The movement of the enemy evidently menaced Sedalia, but I feared he would strike to the left if he found Sedalia too strong. I informed General Hunter of the enemy's advance, and, without waiting for orders advanced to Osawatomie, to cover our trains and prevent the enemy from outflanikng me.
The enemy numbers full 10,000, and has twenty pieces of artillery, most of them rifled. Here, at Osawatomie, General Denver's order reached me, directing the Fourth Regiment to Wyandotte; Newgent's to remain at Paola; Jennison's to Leavenworth; Rabb's battery to Leavenworth; Third and Fourt to Fort Scott. I have kept Denver posted in the movements of the enemy; but I am coolly snubbed with the information that Price's advance is all stuff; that Price has no army; that his army is disbanded, &c.
To-day my scouts bring the word that a force 700 to 1,000 strong is at Butler. A dispatch this evening brings the word that 400 or 500 rebels are in full view of Barnesville and advancing. The dispatch thinks the enemy is advancing in force. Price made a speech in his camp at Sauk Crossing, in which he said he would make a "wide sweep" into Kansas beforre Christmas. This last move looks as if he intends to make his words good.
You will see at a glance that I am in no condition to fight if the enemy comes in force. The measles are still raging in our camps, and our regiments are reduced to mere skeletons. One mountain howitzer and an 8-pounder gun, with 6-pounder ammunition, constitute my show for artillery. With sucha a show I must say I fear the worst.
In haste, yours,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT SOUTHEAST MISSOURI,
Cairo, Ill., December 8, 1861.
Brigadier General JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
Colonel W. H. L. WALLACE,
Commanding Third Brigade:
I am instructed by Brigadier General U. S. Grant to say, owing to the inability of the gunboats to co-operate, the proposed expedition to New Madrid is postponed.
JNO. A. RAWLINS,
ROLLA, December 9, 1861.
Major-General HALLECK, Saint Louis:
A dispatch from Salem has just reached me. Bowen was in full chase of Freeman in Texas County, 5 miles in his rear; intends giving him battle if he can overtake him. A rumor had reached Salem that McBride was moving from Huntsville with 1, 600 men and two pieces