country. Fortunately I was warned in time to protect this city and the principal bridges. Much damage, however, has been done at places where it was least expected, as near Quincy, Palmyra, Hudson, Mexico, &c., almost under the noses of our troops. At other places my telegrams were received in time to save the bridges. Evidences of this plan of the enemy have been received from so many sources as to leave very little doubt of its correctness.
The arrangements made to break up the bands of bridge-burners in the northeastern counties of the State have been very successful. Immediately after the burning had commenced a small force of cavalry started in the cars from Hudson City. In this way they surprised a large party of secessionists, killed 8, took a number of prisoners,horses, &c. On the 28th ultimo General Prentiss, with 240 of Colonel Glover's cavalry and 200 of Colonel Birge's Sharpshooters, attacked a body of rebels under Colonel Dorsey, about 900 strong, at Mount Zion, Boone County, and dispersed them. Enemy's loss reported 150 killed and wounded, 35 prisoners, 95 horses, and 105 guns captured. Our loss 3 killed and 11 wounded. This disparity resulted from the long range of the rifles of our sharpshooters.
Several other skirmishers have taken place and some 200 prisoners taken. Brigadier-General Schofield captured about 50 in the vicinity of Mexico. The enemy has scattered in every direction, but as our troops are scouring the country thoroughly I think many of the bridge burners will eventually be caught. Most of them are from Price's army, and have returned home under the pretense that they were Union men impressed into Price's service. No reliance whatever can be placed upon these pretended refugees from military impressment.
A body of some 1,800 cavalry was sent some days ago to make a forced reconnaissance in the vicinity of Springfield and to ascertain the position and numbers of the enemy and so far as possible his intended movements. The commander, Colonel Carr, was directed not to attack the enemy if in force, but to cut off scouting parties and to hand on his rear if he should be still retreating. A depot of supplies is established at Lebanon, and the infantry and artillery at Rolla are held in readiness to move if the enemy should manifest a disposition to give battle. If it should be found that Price's and McCulloch's forces are as strong as represented and that they are disposed to dispute the possession of Southwest Missouri a portion of the troops at Sedalia must also be sent against them. If not, a part will be withdrawn for service elsewhere.
One of the greatest difficulties with which we still to contend is the want of arms. Of the 11,000 rifled arms reported by you some weeks ago to have been sent to me, the first (only about 1,800) arrived to-day. Where the remaining 9,000 are and when they may be expected, I am still ignorant. Those which have arrived will be immediately issued and two additional regiments put into the field. Cavalry is almost the only effective force which can be used in the interior counties to keep down insurrections and prevent a renewal of bridge burning.
I regret very much that the two regiments of Illinois cavalry have been sent to Kansas. There can be no pressing necessity for their services there, while here they would have been invaluable, and, moreover, would have enabled me to send five or six infantry regiments to Cairo and Paducah, to co-operate with General Buell by a demonstration in the enemy's rear. The order, I understand, was sent directly to