earnest entreaties, accompanied me to that river immediately, after the battle of Springfield, we could easily have maintained our position there until my army (which was, in fact, augmented from less than 6,000 to more than 16,000 men during few days we lay there) would have been increased to at least 50,000, and four-fifths of the State would have fallen without a struggle into our possession. As it was, however, I was soon threatened by overwhelming numbers and compelled to fall back again to the southern border of the State, and thousands of those who had flocked to my standard, feeling that they had been betrayed and abandoned by the Confederate Government, returned to their homes discontented and disheartened.
Again, after the late retreat of the enemy from the southwest I begged General McCulloch to accompany me to the Missouri, and he again refused to do so. I started thither with my own army, and reached the Osage just as the time of service of three-fourths of my own men was expiring. Nearly every one of them had left his home months before, without an hour's notice, leaving their families unprotected and unprovided for. A severe winter was at hand; the men were themselves badly clad, and not one of them had ever received a dime in payment of his services. Many of them insisted upon going home for a few weeks to procure clothing for themselves and make some provision for the comfort of their families, who were exposed not only to the seventies of a Missouri winter, but to the fury of an enemy whose barbarity cannot be described.
I could not refuse their reasonable request, and my army became so small that it would have been highly perilous for me to have crossed the Osage, threatened as I was from Kansas, from Sedalia, and from Rolla. Knowing, however, that thousands of the people on the north side of the Missouri would come to me even at this season if I could but open the way for them, I sent a detachment of 1,100 men to Lexington, which, after remaining only a part of one day, gathered together about 2,500 recruits, and escorted them in safety to me at Osceola. Could the detachment have remained on the river only a few days longer the number of recruits would have been indefinitely in creased; but the enemy, having gotten insight into the movement, concentrated their forces against it and compelled it to return. There are many counties north of the river in which organized companies of from 500 to 1,500 are now ready to join and are only waiting an opportunity to do so.
Appreciating as I do the great importance of this movement in the direction of the Missouri, I wrote to General McCulloch again on the 6th instant, begging him to co-operate with me in it. I received a reply a few days ago, written on the 14th instant at Fort Smith by Colonel McIntosh, who commands the division in the absence of the general. He said it is impossible for him t grant my request, because he had been compelled to send three regiments into the Indian Territory, and was expecting to send others for the defense of Memphis, and because also for the want of clothing for his troops, and of "the great distance to be traveled in the depth of winter over the bleak prairies of Missouri." With the co-operation of these troops I could not only have advanced to the river and recruited my army to any desirable extent, but could have destroyed the railroads, of which the enemy have always had possession, and which gave them an immense advantage over us; and this being done, we could easily have driven the enemy into Saint Louis before the opening of spring, and while accomplishing this we would have created a powerful diversion in favor of our arms