This seems to me the movement best calculated to win us Missouri and relieve General Johnston, who is heavily threatened in Kentucky. Once in the city of Saint Louis, the railroads leading to ti from the east should be at once destroyed by our cavalry as far as practicable; also the road to Cairo. We should fortify opposite, on the Illinois side. The city once ours the State is ours, and the armies of the enemy on her soil and in Kansas would supply us with arms for her people, who would gather to our standard from the west and north.
Flour, salt, and a little bacon in our wagons, and beef cattle driven with us, should be our commissariat. Grain-bags, to contain two days' rations of corn, to be carried on our troopers' saddles, and money our paymaster's department, and sufficient ammunition our ordnance department.
Being between Ironton and Rolla, if we are immediately threatened on either hand we can strike without whole force to the right or to the left, as might seem most advisable, taking the two armies in detail. If we were repulsed from Saint Louis, or if we found it not advisable or practicable to attempt it, we could attack the enemy in the field towards Rolla and Sedalia, passing up the river, and gathering together our friends in that section of country to re-enforce us.
This is as much, general, as I can now write, as I desire to send off couriers early in the morning to Generals McCulloch and Pike and Colonel Hebert; but I hope to see you before the 1st of April, when I will confer fully with you upon the subject.
Now, with this plan in view, I do not think it advisable to disturb the enemy or alarm him any more than is necessary until we are ready to march. But if in the mean time, with the force at your disposal, you think it perfectly practicable to strike him a blow at Rolla, secure his arms, and check his intention of advancing for a while, it is well to do so. Having done this, pause where you are, and call in recruits from northwest, and maneuver your column over the country between Rolla and Springfield until I am in readiness with my column to join you at or near Potosi. Pike can id you in this, but he should not go too far, as he would leave Western Arkansas, the Indian Territory, and the counties west of you exposed too much to the half-savage enemy in Kansas.
If I could enter more fully into this subject and set forth the advantages which it presents to my mind, I think, general, that I would have your hearty co-operation in the campaign in Missouri. I am truly devoted to the interest of the whole Confederacy, and look to the whole field of operations from the Potomac to the plains of New Mexico for my study, and pray God to guide me in the true paths to victory and my country's independence.
I sincerely hope that if you attempt this move you may add new laurels to the wreath already encircling your brow, and that Missouri may again boast of having struck another gallant blow for her liberty and the vindication of her rights.
I send you copies of letters I had sent to Generals McCulloch and Pike.* I send them in the morning orders to move, as I have already stated, and to hurry the troops on to you. I have taken it for granted that you can supply these re-enforcements from the country around you by purchases. I have been informed by Colonels Snead and Taylor, as well as by other reliable gentlemen,, that the counties