CAPE GIRARDEAU, March 15, 1863-10 a.m.
H. C. FILLEBROWN,
I have just received the following dispatch from General McNeil, sent from Bloomfield at 3 o'clock this morning. I have sent a note to Colonel La Grange, hurrying him up with his column, double-quick, to re-enforce the general. Colonel La Grange will reach Bloomfield, with the First Wisconsin Cavalry, Welfley's battery, and a detachment of Thirty-second Iowa, to-morrow morning. Colonel La Grange has gone out 15 miles to seek a location for a battery across Whitewater. Following is General McNeil's message:
I have just returned from a scout against Thompson. I have driven him from the State, and captured half of his ragamuffins. Marmaduke now threatens me, and, from the way I am re-enforced, I except they intend he shall have me and my regiment. Major, for God's sake, hurry up the command sent to me. Do get Welfley to march night and day. Until he gets here with his battery, I shall not feel right.
F. S. CRAMER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, March 17, 1863.
Major-General [E. V.] SUMNER,
Saint Louis, Mo.:
GENERAL: In my letter of February 17,* to Major-General Curtis, in regard to operations in the Department of the Missouri, I urged upon him the importance of sending all the forces he possibly could down the Mississippi River to assist in the operations under General Grant. If Vicksburg should be reduced, the line of the Arkansas River can be so occupied as to prevent any large forces of the enemy from threatening Missouri. It seems most probable that, if the enemy should evacuate Vicksburg, he will throw strong re-enforcements into Tennessee and Kentucky. You will, therefore, send all disposable cavalry in your department to General Rosecrans, on the Tennessee River. Cavalry is more needed there than on the Mississippi River. It is reported here that the Fourth Missouri and the First Wisconsin Cavalry can readily be spared from near Pilot Knob. If so, you will send them to General Rosecrans as early as possible.
It is represented here, by very reliable persons from Missouri, that General Curtis has retained in that department an unnecessarily large force, at the very time, too, when troops are most needed on the Mississippi River. Applications are continually made to send troops to particular localities, or to retain those now there, on exaggerated accounts of impending dangers. I have found that most of such accounts are mere pretenses, gotten up by interested persons. If these applications were granted, our entire army would soon be so scattered as to be utterly paralyzed. There are not many points in Missouri that require military occupation, if the points of concentration are judiciously selected. All of Missouri is now in the military occupation of the United States. The inhabitants are, therefore, bound by the laws of war (without any regard to their civil allegiance to the Government of the United