to their last encampment, which they had left but an hour and a half before; the camp-fires still burning. About 2 p. m., and when only fifteen minutes behind their rear guard, orders came to me to halt until further orders. An hour or more elapsed before I was ordered again to march, and the enemy, evidently being apprised of our near approach, as their scouts were seen taking observations from the high points in front, was enabled to get considerably the start of us again. About 5.30 p. m. I again came up with a party left to tear up a small bridge, and captured 2, with their horses. The balance of the party, having succeeded in destroying the bridge, escaped. I set all hands to work on the bridge, and has succeeded in getting it repaired so as to cross, and, when about to move, an order came from the rear to not move, whether the bridge was repaired or not, until ordered to do so. A picket guard was, however, sent ahead to Spring Hill, distant a mile or so, near where they surprised a party of 6, killing 1 and taking a lieutenant prisoner. They were not encountered again by us until after we reached Bloomfield, at which place I was put under the orders La Grange, as before stated.
I am clearly of opinion that I could have captured many of the enemy if I had been suffered to pursue him without hinderance. The road passes through open woods, and bordered on one side by an impassable swamp most of the way. In attacking them on the march, the head of the column only could be engaged, and one regiment is as effective as a greater number. All accounts represented their rear guard as weak and the stragglers numerous.
I remain, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. F. BENJAMIN,
General JOHN McNEIL,
Commanding Sub-district, Southwestern Missouri.
Numbers 11. Reports of Brigadier General William Vandever, U. S. Army, commanding Second Division, Army of the Frontier, of the pursuit of Marmaduke.
PILOT KNOB, MO., April 23, 1863.
GENERAL: Just arrived with advance of 2,000 men. Main body will be in soon after noon. Hear nothing of an enemy toward Centerville or in that direction. Have parties out who will report to-day.
Major-Generals CURTIS and HERRON.
PILOT KNOB, April 23, 1863.
GENERAL: I have temporarily assumed command of the forces, and continue to head my orders as of the Second Division, Army of the Frontier. I have no additional news from the enemy. He was reported to be at Fredericktown last evening, 3,000 or 4,000 strong. No intelligence from there to-day.
Major General FRANCIS J. HERRON, Rolla.