Forsyth. There I heard that the Confederates were manufacturing saltpeter, 8 miles below its mouth, south side of White River, protected with a guard of 50 Confederate troops. I sent Captain Drummond, of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry, to ascertain if the works could be destroyed from this side, and moved the rest of my command on the road 5 miles north to support him, and if necessary to cross to secure the Talbot Ferry, 3 miles below the works. Captain Drummond found the caves lightly guarded, and arrested 3 men he supposed to be pickets on this side, and ordered them to cross 8 of his men and Mr. Doyle, our guide (who volunteered), in three canoes, under cover of 8 of his best rifle-men, stationed opposite on this side of the river, and succeeded in destroying the works, which were very extensive. The courage and gallantry of Captain Drummond and his command deserve the highest praise, and I hope the destruction of the works will meet your approbation.
In taking Talbot's Ferry the guard to protect the saltpeter works fired upon Lieutenant Heacock's command, Company I, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, from log houses on the opposite side of the river, and it pains me to report that brave officer fell mortally wounded. Then I ordered forward the howitzer, which soon shelled them out of the place, with what loss to them not known; no other to us. I took possession of Talbot's Mill and Mr. Bean's, on Big North Fork, and all of the ferries, as ordered; but owing to high water found I could not sustain my command and would not order our baggage there, but returned to the vicinity of Rockbridge or Vera Cruz, when I received your order of the 21st instant to move my command, being about east of Forsyth; came in here this morning, and am waiting further orders.
General, we have had a hard time, and hope all of our acts will meet with your approval.
Lieutenant-Colonel Wood, with his command, is here. He came in yesterday. Will leave for Arkansas to-morrow to hunt for Colonel Coleman, who it is reported has 200 secesh under his command. Colonel Wood tells me, 30 miles southeast on the Arkansas line there is a large flouring-mill called Spring Mills, and is a good foraging country, and should your army advance it ought to be taken possession of.
Your obedient servant,
L. F. McCRILLIS,
Commanding Southwestern Army.
APRIL 25, 1862.-Skirmish on the Osage, near Monagan Springs, Mo.
Report of Captain William E. Leffingwell, First Iowa Cavalry.
Osceola, Mo., April 28, 1862.
COLONEL: I arrived at this post on the 23rd instant with my command, and, in compliance with your orders, assumed command of the post on the 24th. Learning that a small band of jayhawkers were upon the north side of the Osage, near Monagan Springs, I detailed 50 men, under Lieutenant Barnes, of Company K, to proceed there and disperse or capture them. He marched from here at sunrise, and returned the same evening, 25th. He found 17 of the marauders in