to put my command in readiness to march. To execute the order, I determined at least to threaten Springfield, and operate in the country between there and Rolla, and create the impression that the force was sufficiently large to take and hold the country.
On the morning of December 31, 1862, at daylight, Colonel J. O. Shelby, with his Missouri brigade, about 1,600 effective men, some without horses; Colonel J. C. Monroe, commanding Carroll's Arkansas brigade, about 500 effective men, and Colonel Emmett MacDonald, with his Missouri battalion, about 270 effective men, marched from camp near Lewisburg, the two latter with orders to march via Clinton to Yellville. Shelby, by a route more westerly to same point, moved on different route, on account of scarcity of forage.
On the morning of December 31, after the troops were on the march, I received orders to detach Carroll's brigade from the expedition and order it to operate against the enemy then at Van Buren Creek. The order was obeyed. Previous to the moving of this column, I had ordered (by consent of Lieutenant-General Holmes) Colonel J. C. Porter to take command of White's Missouri cavalry brigade, at Pocahontas, and to march with his entire effective force north and west, and make junction with the troops from Lewisburg at Hartville, January 9, 1863. The distance from Lewisburg to Hartville was about 200 miles; from Pocahontas to Hartville about 140 miles; both routes difficult, mountainous, and barren. Colonel Porter with his brigade, about 700 effective men, marched from Pocahontas January 2, 1863. Shelby, en route to Yellville, in the Boston Mountains, surprised about 100 jayhawkers (tories and deserters), killed a large number, and captured 27. The vigor with which his troops attacked and pursued those scoundrels terrified them, and broke up, for a time at least, the lawless bands in this part of the mountains. Shelby and MacDonald reached Yellville January 4, 1863. From Yellville this column moved northward, crossing (fording) White River at Dubuque.
On the night of January 6, MacDonald with his men marched to destroy Fort Lawrence, on Beaver Creek, Mo., some 17 miles to the right of my line of march. At daylight, MacDonald stormed the work; 300 of the enemy abandoned the fort and fled in wild fright and disorder. A number of them were killed and some 20 taken prisoners and paroled. The fort, arms, ammunition, wagons, mules, horses, quartermaster's and commissary stores were destroyed, save the little which MacDonald in his forced marches could carry with him.
On the evening of January 6, from scouts and other sources, I learned that Springfield, with its rich army stores, was weakly garrisoned, though strongly fortified, and, if surprised, I thought it could be captured. I determined to attack it. Dispatched to Colonel Porter, by different couriers, my plans, and ordered him to move to my support as rapidly as possible; Shelby to move forward in the direction of Springfield, through Ozark, a fortified town, garrisoned by 400 militia; MacDonald by way of Fort Lawrence to Springfield. The courier to Porter failed to meet him till January 10, too late. Shelby, destroying the fort and stores at Ozark, the enemy fleeing before him, and arriving on the 8th of January, at early dawn, in front of Springfield, rapidly and judiciously made preparation for the attack, dismounting the greater part of his brigade to fight as infantry. The delay necessary to reconnoiter, and for the arrival of MacDonald, who had made the detour (some 35 miles) via Fort Lawrence, deferred the engagement till 10 a. m. Shelby's brigade, on the right in line of battle, stretched from the Rolla to the main Ozark road; MacDonald's command, except one company dis