tion, but he authorizes you to absent yourself from your command for twenty days, at your own discretion.
I am, sir, &c.,
HDQRS. SOUTHWESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI,
Rolla, January 25, 1862.
Brigadier General FRANZ SIGEL:
GENERAL: General Halleck has intelligence which makes him believe Price will escape us, which of course we have great reason to fear. I cannot, however, see how he can have later intelligence than mine, since I see men every day direct from Springfield, and have supposed by my backward movement of cavalry I have quieted the nerves of the enemy as to an attack.
We must not, however, delay a moment, and I leave to-morrow for Lebanon, with a view of procuring all I possibly can in the way of supplies, watching the movement of the enemy, and being ready for a final blow.
General Halleck thinks we best not wait for Colonel Davis, but allow him to wait at Osage. We can tell better when we get in the immediate presence of the enemy as to the need of that force, but if occasion arises I wish you would give the general the benefit of your experience in regard to the force of Price. It always will be underrated by our friends, who are over-anxious for us to come to their relief, and by our enemies, who are anxious we should not come too strong. Besides, his force is never in camp except when a battle is anticipated, when they come in from all the hills and hollows of the surrounding country.
My object is to have you come on at your earliest convenience, and move the remainder of your forces at least as far as we can feed them with regiment trains.
I hope as little as possible will be made public of our movement, as the starting of generals is more likely to give the alarm to the enemy, who I hope to keep ignorant of our purpose as long as possible previous to our concentration at Lebanon.
I hope Davis will not move one way and look the other. As at present advised he should keep his eye on a union with us at Lebanon.
I am, general, very truly, your obedient servant,
SAML. R. CURTIS,
CAIRO, January 26, 1862.
Major-General HALLECK, Commanding:
Information came yesterday, corroborated to-day, that M. Jeff. Thompson, with cavalry variously estimated up to 500, was between Commerce and Price's Landing. I immediately ordered detachment of cavalry and infantry from Bird's Point and Cape Girardeau under instructions to co-operate for the purpose of cutting him off.
The Fifth Illinois arrived and going to Smithland.
JOHN A. McCLERNAND,
Brigadier-General, Commanding District of Cairo.