Yesterday (Sunday) I chased West and his gang until 12 o'clock at night. It seems impossible to catch him. My men have been on the move incessantly through the past week, until their horses are completely jaded. I have at least 25 men dismounted, and it is almost impossible to get horses here.
I wish very much, colonel, if you can possibly do it, that you would send the Second Battalion, at Lindeln, out here, to be divided between Colonel Crittenden and myself. We need them, and can use them to good advantage to the country and your district. The rebels are passing almost daily to the north, and trouble may be anticipated west and northwest. We have to send out heavy escorts with trains after forage, after flour, after rations, and for everything; besides, our patrol guards are heavy. This soon consumes a battalion that is small.
I have frequent reports from Colonel Crittenden. He is having a lively time with bushwhackers; says they are numerous. He caught Walton, of Newton County, a few days since. I have him here in irons; will send him up to Springfield in a few days. The scoundrels, Dan. Creach and William Homes, whom I sent to Springfield last week in irons, got out of prison next night, after your provost-marshal received them. Your provost needs stirring up. Creach and Homes, I understand, state that they bribed the sentinel. They were 12 or 14 miles north of this last Saturday, jayhawking, devastating, &c. I have caught them twice, and the third time ought to suffice.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. F. PHILLIPS,
Colonel Seventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
HDQRS. DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., March 30, 1863.
I. The District of Kansas, Major-General Blunt commanding, is hereby modified as follows: To extend south to the Arkansas River; the eastern boundary line south of the Missouri River to the east line of the western tier of counties in Missouri, and such line prolonged to the southern boundary. Other districts are modified, and commanders will report accordingly.
II. Major General F. J. Herron will assume command of the Army of the Frontier.
III. The District of Southwestern Missouri is extended southward to the Arkansas River, and Brigadier General J. M. Schofield is assigned to the command.
IV. The District of Rolla, Brigadier-General Davies commanding, never having been designated in orders, is described as follows: Commencing at the intersection of the fifth principal meridian and the northern line of Washington County, Missouri; thence west to the Gasconade River; thence up that stream to the western line of Pulaski County; thence south to the State boundary line between Arkansas and Missouri; thence east to the fifth principal meridian, and thence north to the place of beginning. Other districts concerned are modified accordingly.
V. Major W. M. Dunn, judge-advocate, having reported for orders, is assigned to duty at these headquarters, on the staff of the major-general commanding.
By command of Major-General Curtis:
H. Z. CURTIS,