AUGUST-, 1863.-Scout from Pocahontas, Ark., to Patterson Mo.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel William J. Preston, Fourth Missouri Cavalry (Confederate).
HEADQUARTERS BURBRIDGE'S REGIMENT,
Near Pocahontas, August 6, 1863.
MAJOR: I have just returned from a scout into Missouri. I visited Greenville with the intention of destroying 30 wagons of commissaries deposited at Widow McMinn's, near Hog-Eye, in Bollinger County. Upon arriving at Greenville, I was reliably informed that they had some days before destroyed their goods and left in haste. I then proceeded to Patterson, where I caught a sutler's wagon with a load of goods, a Federal captain, paroled by Colonel Greene, 3 privates of Leeper's company, and the deputy provost-marshal and enrolling officer. There were two squadrons of cavalry at Stony Battery, apprised of my whereabouts and lying in ambush. My force being small, I concluded not to attack them, but endeavored to draw them out. After staying in Patterson for four or five hours, I moved slowly in the direction of Van Buren, with the intention of attacking a company at Barnesville, who, however, withdrew toward Ironton. I succeeded in interrupting their Congressional election and enrollment. I have advanced my individual scouts as far as Lebanon, in Laclede County, with the intention of visiting that section and the tributaries of the Osage River, and mounting this regiment should General Marmaduke permit me. It is perfectly feasible, and would diversify the forces of the enemy.
At present there are three companies of cavalry at Big Creek Bridge, just beyond Stony Battery, 300 infantry at Rolla, and one company of militia at Lebanon. Pursuing scout by-ways, I would meet with no opposition. I sincerely petition for permission to make the trip.
Captain Reves would engage the attention of the enemy near Patterson, and Captain Lineback on the ridge. Major Smith (now on the ridge) would be recalled to make the trip.
I forward under guard two privates of Leeper's company and the provost-marshal, who was enrolling negroes. I inclose his documents.* I hope and respectfully request that none of the three be released from guard for awhile. Should the general conclude to release Whybark, send him through my lines, giving me due notice of the same.
WM. J. PRESTON,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding Regiment.
Major HENRY EWING,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Marmaduke's Division.
P. S.-Don't forget my trip to Missouri. I move to-day to the intersection of the Thomasville road and Eleven Points for forage, leaving a lieutenant and 12 men here to guard the ferry and sustain the line of communication.
35 R R-VOL XXII, PT I