I have ordered a move out from New Madrid to cut off the rebel retreat, and before this reaches you I suppose all our efforts against Marmaduke will be at an end.
Tender my thanks, general, to the officers and soldiers of your command, for the energy, courage, and victories they have won. General McNeil's gallantry will deserve a separate and special notice. You have added to your former well-earned distinctions in the field, and your State and country are proud of such a soldier.
I remain, very truly, your friend and fellow-soldier.
SAML. R. CURTIS,
Itinerary of the Second Division, Army of the Frontier, April 4 -May 2, 1863.*
April 4-6.-Marched from Elk Creek to Camp Totten, 10 miles southwest of Rolla, 55 miles.
April 9.-Brigadier General William Vandever arrived and assumed command.
April 21-23.-Brigadier-General Vandever, with all the cavalry of the division and Battery E, First Missouri Artillery, marched to Pilot Knob to meet a cavalry raid under General Marmaduke.
April 26.- Moved on toward Cape Girardeau in pursuit of the enemy. Marched 40 miles, over roads considerable of the way. Within 5 miles of Jackson captured a few straggling rebels. Within 2 1\2 miles of Jackson, at 9 p. m., found the enemy in some force. Sent the First Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, Major [Joseph W.] in with the saber by moonlight, and scattered a brigade of the enemy, making considerable captured of prisoners and horses; used artillery that the garrison at Cape Girardeau, General McNeil commanding might be apprised of our presence and act accordingly. If they had moved out properly, Marmaduke would have been captured.
April 27. -The enemy, finding us in possession of his desired line of retreat via the Dallas pike, from which the First Iowa Cavalry had driven a brigade, was compelled to take the road due south from Jackson, which he did, destroying all bridges in his rear. We pursued him vigorously, skirmishing several times, killing a few and capturing some prisoners. Marched 15 miles; found the enemy had escaped over the White Water (not fordable), and destroyed one span of the bridge. Before leaving Jackson, a messenger was sent to Cape Girardeau, ordering General McNeil to move out rapidly on the Bloomfield road and get the road near White Water ahead of the enemy and cut off his retreat. Although General McNeil had but 9 miles to march, over a macadamized road, to do this, he did not reach the intersection until after the enemy had all passed and our troops arrived at the river. This was unfortunate, and guaranteed to the enemy his escape, unless perchance the Castor River should not be fordable, and we could compel him to fight before crossing that stream. The bridge over White Water was therefore ordered to be repaired, which was done early on the morning of the 28th, in the face of the enemy's rear guard.
April 28.- The command crossed the White Water and pushed through the desperate swamps for 5 miles to higher ground, and, on General McNeil having been recently stationed at Bloomfield, and his command knowing the country, was given the advance, with instruc-
* From "Record of Events," on return for month of April, 1863.