will be preparing to feed our concentrated force, which will be so moved as to come there as soon as the Tipton force can reach them. I shall send a messenger to the Osge to meet the division and send from that point intelligence of matters.
I have trouble with pioneer companies that I have set to work on the road. I wish these companies had been included in the recent order concerning the U. S. Reserve Corps, for a New York paper has taken up the cause of Gerster just in time to put the deserters who were thrown out of the U. S. Reserve Corps.[?] I will, however, find little or no difficulty, if extra-duty bills are paid that are justly due for work done last fall.
Bridges and boats will be made when it is necessary, for I have among the volunteers men who can work at every trade, and mud and water can only delay but never stop an onward movement. I shall go myself, sending Captain Sheridan, my chief quartermaster and commissary, to aid the supply business and direct matters in front. The remainder of the force will be moved as fast as necessary, to combine at Lebanon.
Since writing the foregoing I have received the general's letter of the 23rd, in which he expresses the belief that Price will not wait to give battle, and recommending me to press forward, without waiting for Davis' division, if found expedient, saying this force must not cross the Osage unless it is absolutely necessary.
I had, as the general will see, already anticipated the general's wishes so far as occupying Lebanon and pressing forward troops to commands. The general will understand that it is the food that delays, and m y progress now must depend on procuring or hauling supplies. My information of Price is by two surrendering parties; one left Saturday and the other Sunday last. The men who left Sunday are apparently intelligent, communicative, and Mrs. Phelps writes may be depended on. They say Price and the army supposed I had fallen back to Rolla; that some efforts were going on to recruit; and this is corroborated by the fact that the rebel Captain Tom Craig that our men killed in Lebanon Wednesday had the inclosed card on his person, and had come to recruit at Lebanon immediately after my force retired from there.
One report says that Rains had gone to Granby, with 400 men, to work the lead mines, and that some cavalry had gone out of Sprinfield south, but this does not look to me like leaving; as he would, if he designed to retreat, move his artillery first and his cavalry last, as bad roads retard his retreat with artillery first and his cavalry last, as bad roads retard his retreat with artillery s it does my advance. I also fear he may escape, but he stood against Sigel at Carthage. He fought you with no very insignificant force, and it was said he would stand against Fremont with his 40,000. Although he has not much force in and about Springfield, he has men scattered through the country ready to come at his call, and I see no great necessity elsewhere that should prevent us having at least an equivalent to his probable force, when our success must depend on our ability to procure and take his thirty-five or forty-two pieces of artillery.
My advanced posts are now within 35 or 40 miles of Springfield, ready to act if occasion shall offer; and I shall press forward all this force just as fast as supplies can be procured for them. When at Lebanon I am within a day and night's forced march of Springfield. Colonel Davis' division, to be available as a reserve, should be this side of Osage; Davis' division, to be available as a reserve, should be this side of Osage; otherwise the distance is too great for forced marches at this season of the year. All estimates put Price's force above 10,000, while my force without Davis will not, I fear, exceed 8,000 when I concentrate all I