river, from Mount Vernon to Rocheport Ferry Landing, Booneville, and Clarke's Fork, and to break up an entirely destroy the pestiferous gang of which you have advised me.
The expedition, when it reaches Pisgah, will number three companies of the Sixth Missouri Volunteers (infantry), two companies of Missouri State Militia (mounted), and one section of the Third Indiana Battery, under Lieutenant Thomas. Owing to the heavy guard duty at railroad bridges, &c., the companies of infantry will not be very strong, but the force I apprehend will be amply sufficient to crush out the marauders. They will doubtless move from Pisgah some time to-day, and are intended to move rapidly.
It is rumored here that the ferry at Providence is in the habit of crossing these marauding bands, and doing it after night. Also that a flat crosses men a short distance above Providence, and perhaps another just above Rocheport. If you will carefully examine into this matter on your side of the river I will endeavor to do the same on this side, and, if necessary, I shall break up every ferry between here and Booneville. I would give you more particulars as to the expedition, but am in doubt as to whether you will receive this safely.
If I learn anything of importance on your side of the river or in connection with this expedition I will inform you.
Keep a good lookout on your side as soon after the arrival of your express as possible, and to-morrow be surely on the watch.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, Commanding District.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE SOUTHWEST,
Cross Timber, Ark., March 24, 1862.
Captain N. H. MCLEAN:
CAPTAIN: The general's dispatch about saltpeter works received. Had sent spies two days before preparatory to the purpose suggested. Will attend to it.
Last of my forward cavalry movement just in. They went southwest from Fayetteville; came up line road to Pineville. Indians ran back into Territory. Colonel Pease commanded. Took several prisoners, among them Captain Boone, who says he escaped from former captivity by jumping from cars on being transferred from Saint Louis to Columbus.
Some Union fugitives have just come in from east of Fayetteville, the rebel force coming again to devastate and destroy. I think it merely a foraging party of the enemy. The cavalry suffered for forage and food. The country is stripped from this point to the Arkansas, and my foraging teams have to make two days' journey north to get anything.
Hospital stores arrived yesterday. They are thankfully received, and I am grateful to the general and the Sanitary Commission for promptness in this regard. Many an aching wound is comforted by this. God bless the ladies that care for the sick and wounded soldiers.
SAML. R. CURTIS,