HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., December 11, 1861.
Brigadier General JOHN POPE, Syracuse, Mo.:
Colonel Steele is ordered to re-enforce his expedition to Marshall and Waverly. Expedition to Warrensburg suspended till further orders.
H. W. HALLECK,
DECEMBER 11, 1861.
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: The constantly-increasing disturbances in all this region, occasioned by the efforts of Price's scouting officers and straggling parties of guerillas, exhibited in the general alarm, the robbing of peaceful inhabitants, the outrages of every description perpetrated in every village, hamlet, and farm-house, are caused directly by the encouragement and countanance given to such acts by the presence of the enemy in such force on the Osage. Once driven from that position and forced back into the region of country which he has so recently laid waste, and all encouragements would be withdrawn from his adherents and sympathizers now disposed to enlist in his army.
We can march from the railroad in this vicinity with a full and wellappointed army of 15,000 men and forty pieces of artillery and still leave force enough along the railroad to guard all the public stores and protect the road itself from any damage. I would respectfully suggest, therefore, that to quiet all the disturbances and uneasiness engendered by the presence of so large a hostile force in this region an advance in force against Price be made as soon as possible. For this army of 15,000 men there is a abundance of transportation and of supplies, and they constitute a force large enough, considering the difference of organization, discipline and arms, to deal with Price easily, even had he they 50,000 men he calls for in his proclamation. Most of his men are only armed with shot-guns, and have scarcely the pretense of an organization. He has perhaps, 4,000 or 5,000 tolerable troops, armed with muskets, and about thirty pieces of artillery, few of which can be properly served, and some of which are rought iron pieces, made in Missouri.
Our forces here are in such condition that they can march with two hours notice. Each regiment has its own transportation, and there is nothing necessary except to throw into the wagons camp equipage and rations.
Should such a movement be intrusted to me I would respectfuly suggest the following plan: The first object to be kept in view is that the enemy to some extent must be surprised, in order that he may be broght to an engagement. For this purpose I would propose that for several days before the real movement was made strong bodies of cavalry, with some artillery, be sent forward on the Warsaw and Clinton roads, to force in their pickets, reconnoiter in force, and then return; that this operation be repeated several times, and that finally, under cover of such a movement, the whole force be rapidly thrown forward to the Osage at Warsaw. I believe by proper management and vigor the advanced division of this army could cross the Osage before the news of the movements could reach the enemy. If he then crossed the river and attempted to retreat to the southwest he must at least lose his baggage train and supplies. Whilst his line of retreat would be