men and horses ready for further efforts. The rebels must have no rest in Missouri. I am anxious about McNeil, who left Bloomfield when you left Rolla.
[SAML. R. CURTIS.]
SAINT LOUIS, MO., April 23, 1863.
Your message received.* I wish you would have the Iron Mountain Railroad patrolled by cavalry on a side road as far as Irondale, 12 miles above the Knob, for the present, as the ground at the Knob is contracted. I want Tyler to go on with his defensive arrangements, as the cavalry will move as soon as the infantry arrive. Let me know if you are supplied with everything you want; if not, send up a staff officer for what you need. Even the short time you are there have drills twice a day by the troops that are not working, that the officers may be kept with their companies. I have ordered fifteen days's subsistence for 5,000 men; seven day's forage for 5,000 animals on hand. I think the enemy's aim is to get possession of some point of the river. Smart should get intelligence of McNeil, if possible. He certainly can test the enemy at Fredericktown, and he owes to it to himself and his regiment to do it.
J. W. DAVIDSON,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., April 24, 1863.
Major McConnel has been exchanged, and gives his account of the rebel force. Marmaduke has 5,000 or 6,000 and ten pieces of artillery, with no baggage. I think this is more than he has, and, no doubt, the troops are exhausted and weakened by marching. It seems to me they can be whipped badly by your forces anywhere. General McNeil is at Cape Girardeau; is also pretty strong in cavalry.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
[DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,]
April 24, 1863.
General McNEIL, Cape Girardeau:
Major McConnel, who was taken prisoner by Marmaduke, is released, and he tells me Marmaduke has some 6,000. Such reports should always be taken as extravagant. If you and Vandever could unite in a chase, you could soon drive him out of the State. I have so said to Vandever, who is still at Pilot Knob. Marmaduke acted as though he was moving on Saint Louis, but he expected to gobble you up, which shows a different direction.
[SAML. R. CURTIS,]
* Not found.