without intermission till the next day, as well as the uncertainty of finding a road through that swamp, you can form an idea of the obstacles presented to us.
Arriving within 4 miles of the swamp (at Bollinger's Mills), I left the light wagon, with the provisions we carried along, with orders to return. We here crossed the Castor River, which most of my men had to swim, and I took 40 of the best horses and men and pushed rapidly forward, having heard that McGee with 35 of his men had passed there that morning I left Captain [William T.] Hunter with the rest of the command (50 men) to follow slowly. After a sharp trot of 10 miles, we suddenly came to the house of S. Cato, a man who had been harboring these outlaws for a long time, and perceiving a considerable number of men feeding their horses, we dashed upon them before a single one had the chance to escape. They were at once recognized as McGee's band, and as our approach was as sudden as it was unexpected, they fled in confusion across the large corn-field in the center of which the house of Cato stood. My men now were in their element,and whilst others quickly tore down the fence of the corn-field, the rest surrounded it, and within fifteen minutes we had exterminated the whole band. We took no prisoners from amongst them, as I had previously given the order not to do so. We counted 9 killed, amongst them McGee; 20 mortally wounded, and 3 slightly, the latter of whom we brought in. We did not lose a man. Besides, we captured some 25 horses and equipments, many of which have already been identified as having been stolen by them from Union men, and some arms, all of which are ordered to be turned over by different commanders of companies to the quartermaster. Not having time to bury the dead and attend to the crippled and dying, I left them to the tender care of their good friends, of whom there are plenty close by; and, being meanwhile joined by Captain Hunter, I pushed on to Bloomfield, which town I entered amidst a terrible snow-storm at midnight. Although we at once surrounded the town and every house in it, we did not capture more than 8 prisoners, some of whom, being on furlough from the so-called Confederate Army, were paroled, and ordered to report to this post at end of each month. Adjutant Macklind will hand in their names. All the rumors I heard of a force of 200 or 300 being at that place, and of a still larger force 40 miles below, at Four Mile, are without the slightest foundation, and the only reliable information I obtained was that [W. L.] Jeffers, with 2,000 men, was at Epsom Bottom, 150 miles below Bloomfield, and that he was preparing to join General Holmes at Pocahontas. I quartered my men, who had been without food since morning, at the different houses in the town, and having sufficiently refreshed the horses, i returned through the swamp the next morning by a different route than the one I came, with the hope of getting a few more of them, should there be any.
On my route back I divided my command into six parties, with orders to thoroughly scour the country and meet me a Dallas the next day. We returned here on the 7th instant, having accomplished our object and restored peace to a part of the country to which McGee for the last year has been a terror. Officers and men behaved admirably throughout the scout. They bore the severe hardships of fatigue, hunger, and cold, through the most desolate part of Missouri, and a march in the midst of a most violent snow-storm, with alacrity and without a murmur, and so well did they do their duty that it would be injustice almost for me to mention any particular name. Those, however, who were the most conspicuous for their gallant conduct were First Lieutenant [Thomas H.] Macklind, acting adjutant; Captain [William C.] Bangs, commanding Company G; Lieutenant Pope [Erich Pope], Company A;