threatened, if not intercepted, by such a movement, ours would be open to the railroad at amlost any point east of Otterville. I, however, do not suppose for a moment that he will stand unless retreat is cut off, and in either event the disturbances in this section will be ended. Such a campaign would not last more than twenty-days, if so long, and the forces here would enter upon it with a feeling very different from that of going into winter quarters on the La Mine.
I submit these views to you with much diffidence, and should probably not do so at all, but that I am imperessed with the belief that neither secession in Missouri not Price's army can survive another retreat toward Arkansas.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
SYRACUSE, December 11,, 1861.
I transmit a number of letters capture with the mail-carrier.*
There is a large number of them, but in substance they convey the same information, viz, that Price's force is desintegrating; that he has short of 10,000 men now with him; that recruiting is very slow; that unless he can raise five regiments to enter the Confederate service he cannot get a commission in their army, &c.
I am satisfied that a rapid movement would utterly destroy his army, either as the result of an action or of a retreat. His army cannot possibly survive another retreat south. His men are only kept together now by the speedy termination of their terms of service and the prospect of getting home by New Years' Day. They will not be led south again in any large number. With the delightful weather we have had and which promises to continue for some time and the good roads, such a movement would consume, but a few days, and would destroy in a moment all hope of recruiting for Price in this whole region.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
SAINT LOUIS, Mo., December 11, 1861.
Colonel J. W. BIRGE, Present:
SIR: Your regiment or command will immediately proceed to Centralia and Renick, Mo., about one-half to be statione at each place. Immediately on your arrival you will send out strong detachments, one from Centralia, in the direction of Columbia, and another from Renick, in the direction of Fayette, to scor the country and arrest all enemies. Particular caution should be observed in regard to these detachments, as rebel forces may be moving from the river counties upon these points or the railroad. Little or no transportation will be required for these detachments, as they are not expected to be sent more than two or three days from their posts, and will probably be able to get a part of their subsistence in the country passed over. As
* Not found.