and on the ridge watching your front. These need not be stronger than one company.
I cannot as yet tell which side of the Saint Francis the enemy will move up. Be prepared, therefore, to fall back by the way of Dallas and Fredericktown, so as to concentrate with the troops from Patterson and Pilot Knob. Be vigilant, and ready to fight or move according to orders. Organize good spies, and send them out.
J. W. DAVIDSON,
SAINT LOUIS DISTRICT, April 16, 1862.
Commanding, Patterson, Mo.:
Keep your patrols well to the front, as ordered, examining well the line of the Black River from Greenwood Valley to Reeves' Station. If the enemy comes up in force, move back to Pilot Knob. Report all occurrences at once by telegraph. Matthews has been ordered to join you from Jackson. Organize good spies, and send them out in your front.
J. W. DAVIDSON,
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE FRONTIER,
Forsyth, Mo., April 16, 1863.
Major General F. J. HERRON,
Commanding Army of the Frontier, Rolla, Mo.:
I have had two scouting parties down each side of the river some days. As they sent back no message, I infer from this that they have heard nothing of any enemy. I start another party out this morning to West Plains. Four refugees, after being in the woods some time, arrived here from Searcy County. Last they heard of Marmaduke he was at Batesville. I accordingly concluded, as informed heretofore, that he has moved to Pocahontas. The supply of forage within obtaining distance of here is about given out. I have a forage train now out eight days; have heard from it. The country is so broken between here and the forage region that wagons move slowly. Already a number of companies (independent) are operating on our side in the country south of us. The inhabitants are moving-some north, some south. I have sent for the other brigade to return from neighborhood of Fort Scott. We badly need quartermaster stores, which can only be procured at Rolla. Under these circumstances, might I not join your headquarters with my command? I could join the other brigade and proceed through a good forage region down the Osage. No rebel army can come north by this point, as there is no forage north of the Crooked Creek country. Grass is well advanced, but it grows too sparsely on the mountains to support a large army; besides, White River can be forded anywhere. I ford it here with my loaded wagons and artillery. The mounted militia and Arkansas troops could make this a rendezvous, and, by being out continually scouting, could subsist themselves and the better watch the movements of the enemy. There are no inhabitants here. The proposition above made is, of course, upon the idea that no movement south could be made before I reached Rolla. I am requested to ask if the men to be furloughed may not visit you in person to obtain