Also the fort has been dilapidated by the high water, and all the guns removed or dismounted, except three. I have also daily evidence that there is getting up an armed opposition to the war policy of the Government in Southern Illinois that may require a small army to quell. All the State of Illinois is in General Burnside's department, except Cairo, Mound City, and Alton. You will see from these statements in what a poor condition I am to render aid to New Madrid or any other post. I have in the guard-house here and at Mound City more prisoners of war, stragglers, and deserters from our own army than I have troops.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
N. B. BUFORD,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, June 17, 1863.
Colonel J. M. CHIVINGTON,
Commanding District of Colorado, Denver City:
COLONEL: Your letters of the 1st and 6th instant have been received. Your disposition of troops appears to be wise and judicious. I have full confidence that you will do the best possible in your important command. It is impossible for me at this distance to give minute directions for the disposition of your forces, and I desire to leave you free to act as your judgment and accurate knowledge of the country shall indicate as best for the service.
Forces so remote and scattered as those of Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico are necessarily very dependent upon each other for mutual support in case of unusual danger, and are too distant to act in such emergency under orders from department headquarters. Hence I rely upon the commanders in those districts to give each other all possible assistance in case of need, and to act promptly, without waiting for orders from me.
I am about sending a regiment of cavalry (Third Wisconsin) to re-enforce the Santa Fe line or the overland route in Nebraska, or both, as shall seem to be most needed. The regiment will be ready to leave Fort Scott about the 1st of July. I believe about four companies will be needed in the western part of Nebraska, and the remainder on the Santa Fe route, perhaps in New Mexico. I desire, if possible, to avoid so grate a separation of a regiment. If you can supply the necessity of the overland route by moving a part of your force, and allow the Third Wisconsin to occupy the Santa Fe route and points in its vicinity, this difficulty will be removed. Please consider the matter, and inform me soon how it can be arranged.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
COLUMBUS, June 17, 1863.
The commanding officer at New Madrid assisted me yesterday with three companies of infantry. Finding, however, from your communication of the 15th instant, that danger is apprehended to that post, I will at once return those companies; but, being myself threatened, I cannot possibly spare a man from my much reduced command.