On the morning of the 15th, we marched up 6 miles on the west side of Black River, crossed the ford, and proceeded in the direction of Greenville, encamping at Camp Law, on Otter Creek, 25 miles from Poplar Bluff.
On the 16th, broke up camp at daybreak, passed through Greenville, an went into Camp Rogers, 18 miles from Dallas and 25 from Camp Law.
[August] 17, reveille at 3 a. m. Left Camp Rogers at 4 a. m., and marched to Camp Thomson, within 23 miles of the Cape.
[August] 18, left Camp Thomson at 4 a. m., and arrived safely in camp at Cape Girardeau about 3 o'clock the same day.
From Bloomfield to Saint Francisville the road leads across a high and rolling country, but from Saint Francisville to Ash Hill there is little or nothing but glades and swamps, which, at any other season of the year, would be utterly impracticable for artillery. The roads through Ash Hill are indistinct and wretchedly bad, and again, upon striking the river, there are about 10 miles of glades to pass through before reaching Poplar Bluff. The little howitzer that I had with me was the first thing in the shape of artillery that ever passed over that road. I think the instance from Bloomfield to Poplar Bluff, via Ash Hills, is about 50 miles. Forage out of the question, the men in that country preferring bushwhacking to honest labor. The roads from Poplar Bluff to Dallas mostly pass through rolling, barren, and uninhabited sections, but are good, and must be at all times practicable for the heaviest artillery. I found great difficulty in procuring forage enough for my command between Poplar Bluff and Dallas, Marmaduke's and General Davidson's commands having consumed everything within reach. New hay is plenty between Dallas and the Cape, and the farmers at those points are assiduously at work rasing good crops of corn.
From all the information that I could collect, I have good reason to believe that there are no considerable armed bodies of rebels in the State, as I had good information that they were all ordered south toward the line of Texas, and those that now remain are merely mutineers or guerrillas, who have refused to obey the orders, taking it as a subterfuge that they belonged to the old State Guard and cannot be taken move in any direction through this portion of the State.
To the officers and men under my command I tender my sincere thanks for their good conduct and cheerfulness throughout the trip. During the march of 200 miles I never heard a murmur, although we frequently marched twenty-four hours without eating. I especially recommend to your notice Captain McClanahan and Buglers [E. Z.] Shannon and [W. C.] Thatcher for their unflinching courage and bravery in following me where none but the brave and true could have fought and lived. To them I owe my life and a never-ending debt of gratitude.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRED. R. POOLE,
Major, Commanding First Batt. Second Missouri State Militia Cav.
Colonel J. B. ROGERS,
Commanding Second Missouri State Militia Cavalry.