passing this way need not suffer. If we give up this route to the enemy, it will enable him to approach Saint Louis nearer by land than he can by any other route, and subsist himself. A number of reasons occur to me which I could urge upon the general, verbally, better than I can in a communication, and I am anxious to see him with you.
From here the route is open to Pocahontas, Jacksonport, Batesville, or any point below on the White River. We are within reach of Crowley's Ridge, where there are abundance of supplies, and for operations against Little Rock it is the direct route. If Price is attempting to go to Missouri, we can turn his flank get in his rear. A pontoon train, however, is necessary to operations down this way.
My orders upon the post at Girardeau about keeping us supplied with rations have not been complied with, and we are short. I am subsisting my men wholly on corn-meal and beef. I gather the corn in the country and grind it. I find plenty of beef. I shall be obliged to go to the Cape to refit. Dragging the artillery over heavy roads has pulled down the horses, and I must have some fresh ones; otherwise we are in good condition, except that our rations are not of the regular kind. I have regretted every step of the way that you were not along with the rest of the Army of the Frontier, as I believe it was the opportune moment for driving the enemy south of the Arkansas River.
Pardon this hurried and ill-written communication, as I am much pressed at this time.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major General FRANCIS J. HERRON,
Commanding Army of Frontier.
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, ARMY OF THE FRONTIER,
Bloomfield, May 4, 1863.
GENERAL: In obedience to order from department headquarters, I have fallen back to this point, after driving the enemy from the limits of the State.
I have already sent forward one brigade toward Cape Girardeau, and will follow with the rest as soon as practicable, except Colonel Glover's command, which I will dispatch direct from this point to Pilot Knob, instructing him to keep strong reconnoitering parties in the direction of Greenville and Patterson, which places will be on his left flank. Colonel Glover will start in the morning. [G.] Hauck's battery, which for the time being to General [J.] McNeil, who will take it to the Cape. I was induced to do this for the reason that I desire Colonel Glover to move with celerity. He will have Captain [G.] Stange, with one section and Colonel Lindsay, with two small pieces, along. Supplies have not been sent forward to me from Cape Girardeau, as I have ordered them. They are understood to be on the way, and I am compelled to go forward and meet them. My men are now subsisting on corn-meal and beef alone.
General McNeil will remain at Bloomfield until the morning of the 6th, when he will also move back to the Cape.
The portion of my command belonging to the Army of the Frontier proper I take with me to Cape Girardeau, that being the nearest point at which I can refit.