down, but it will be two or three weeks before his command can reach here.
Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,
EARL VAN DORN,
HEADQUARTERS TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DISTRICT,
Pocahontas, Ark., February 14, 1862.
Major General STERLING PRICE,
Commanding Army of Missouri:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch by the hands of Colonel Taylor, your aide-de-camp. I send orders in the morning by express to General McCulloch to send all of this infantry under Colonel McIntosh to Springfield to report to you. I presume (I have no returns) that he has about 5,000 men. I had already ordered General Pike to Mount Vernon, in Lawrence County, with about 7,000 men, mostly cavalry, from the Indian Territory. I am told by the general that most of these are half-breed Indians, and good, reliable men. His force will be increased by several regiments of Arkansas infantry now in process of organization, also by two or three batteries of artillery.
General McCulloch, with the cavalry, will come here, where I am raising an army from Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana; I hope 12,000 or 15,000 men or more. I hear of active measures being taken in Arkansas to comply with my call for 10,000 men. Louisiana will probably send me 4,000. This will give me, with McCulloch's cavalry and some other troops here and coming, say 18,000 men at the Missouri line above this point. You at Springfield will have of Missouri troops, say, 10,000 men by the 1st of March, McIntosh 5,000, Pike 8,000, in all 23,000 for defensive operations, or 15,000 for offensive operations (Pike's command being intended for defense alone or as a corps of observation on the Kansas border).
The above will be our probable force by the 1st of April; at least I hope so. I will first state, general, my plan for the campaign in Missouri; afterwards what I desire should be your plan of action. It was my wish to see and consult with you on this subject in person; but I found I could not leave here, at least for the present, and am therefore compelled to put in writing what would have been better discussed personally. I shall, however, instruct Colonel Taylor to destroy this dispatch in the event of his being arrested, for its contents should be known only to yourself.
I design attempting Saint Louis. As soon as I can get my wing ready to march from Pitman's Ferry I intend putting your column in motion toward Salem, in Dent County, covering your object by moving your advance towards Rolla. I will move so as to join you between Salem and Potosi, leaving Ironton to my right. These movements will be made secretly and rapidly, without tents or baggage, except for the sick. From the point of junction of the two columns I will push on by rapid marches to Saint Louis, and attempt it at once by assault. As we advance, the bridges on the railroads from Sedalia, Rolla, and Ironton will be destroyed, thus throwing the enemy upon the wagon roads, and preventing him from re-enforcing the city soon enough to oppose us there.