next day (the 22nd) started on the march for 1,500 miles. My command consisted of detachment from the three regiments composing my brigade, [Benjamin] Elliott's battalion of scouts, and a section of two pieces of artillery, under Lieutenant [David] Harris, of [Joseph] Bledsoe's battery, the entire force numbering about 600 men, rank and file. The weather was propitious, and the glorious skies of a southern autumn flashed cheerily down upon waving banners and glittering steel as we marched proudly by the white-haired chieftain, General Price, and his hearty benediction was solemnly prophetic of my entire success.
From the 23rd to the 127th I traveled hard, determining to force the line of the Arkansas River before notice could possibly be given of my advances, and then, if necessary, rest in the Boston Mountains, whose fast and eternal precipices could bear no fatal dispatch ahead.
My advance on the 27th, always led by the daring and dashing [W. W.] Thorp, skirmished for miles with these Federal outlaws and jayhawkers, always killing or scattering of heavy timber, forced Thorp back from range. I immediately ordered two regiments to dismount, who skirmished with them until [G. P.] Gordon and [David] Shanks got on either flank, when a simultaneous charge scattered them like chaff, and our rough riders rode them down like stubble to the lava tide. The enemy's loss was about 10 killed, 20 wounded, and 50 prisoners. This fight occurred 12 miles from the Arkansas River, so I determined to push rapidly for it, cross and pass north of Ozark before morning. The fording was shallow, but treacherous and dangerous from the shifting sands, yet n accident marred the spirits of the men, and the last beams of the golden sun went down upon 600 veterans with bright eyes looking far away northward, and the stern purpose in their hearts to conquer or die. After halting two hours, feeding both men and horses, distributing captured property (which consisted of three wagons loaded with quartermaster's and commissary supplies), and scouting well toward Clarksville and Dardanelle, I commenced march again at 10 o'clock, and by daylight passed through Ozark, and continued over the Boston Mountains to Mulberry Creek, where the tired and jaded horses had rest. For the next three days I made slow and easy marches, gathering up the utmost strength of my command, for soon it would be stretched to its utmost tension, and the gleam of its banners, yet warm with southern breezes, would sparkle with the frosty diamonds of a northern latitude.
On the 29th, I passed through Huntsville, and encamped for the night at Bentonville, destroying, as I crossed, the telegraph wire, on the Fayetteville road, for miles.
On the 31st, I moved out to McKissick's Springs, and waited until Colonel [D. C.] Hunter joined me with 200 men, which he had been recruiting for some time in Missouri and Arkansas.
October 2, I marched from McKissick's Springs to Pineville, where Missouri breezes blew and Missouri skies looked down upon us. Here Colonel [J. T.] Coffee joined me with 400 men. I had determined to march upon Neosho the night of the 2nd, but Colonel Coffee's forces coming in only be squads and companies, I resolved to remain in camp at Pineville until the next morning, in the mean time guarding and picketing every highway and by-way leading in a northerly direction.
At daylight on the morning of the 3rd [4th], I started for Neosho, where there were 300 Federal cavalry stationed-a terror to the country, the