HDQRS. SIXTH CAVALRY, MISSOURI STATE MILITIA,
January 18, 1864.
Commanding District of Southwest Missouri:
GENERAL: I would respectfully report that Lieutenant Finley, Company F, Sixth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, has just returned with his command of 30 men from a scout of seven days. He left camp on the 12th instant. He reports that he proceeded first to Montevallo, in Vernon County, from thence scouted through the counties of Cedar and Benton. I did not see or hear of any guerrillas in that section, nor see anything that would indicate that there had been any there in the last month. He reports that there are but few inhabitants in that section of the country; the most of the houses in that part have either been burned or vacated. He returned with his command on the evening of the 18th, without any casualties whatever. Distance traveled about 300 miles. Reports forage tolerably plenty.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. W. MURPHY,
Captain, Commanding Sixth Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST,
Milwaukee, Wis., January 18, 1864.
Brigadier General H. H. SIBLEY,
Commanding District of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minn.:
GENERAL: I transmit inclosed copy of a letter to General Sully for your information. The posts at Devil's Lake and on James River will be established by you as early in the spring as possible. It is my purpose that the whole cavalry force in your district shall be massed, with two or three pieces of field artillery, to take the field as nearly as possible in the spring and sweep the whole region now occupied by hostile Indians north of the line from Fort Pierre to Abercrombie.
They should go as little encumbered with trains as possible. From the most available points the companies of infantry designated for the post at Devil's Lake will be brought together at Abercrombie, and will from there escort the provision trains to their post. The companies of infantry for the post on James River will be assembled on the upper Minnesota at such point as you deem best, and will thence march to their post in charge of trains of supplies. All the supplies which it is possible to carry with the wagons in your district must be sent. If larger escorts of infantry be necessary they must be sent, but the extra companies will return again to Minnesota as soon as the posts are fairly established. You will select the cavalry companies for each post and directed them to proceed to their stations as soon as their summer campaign is over.
The infantry companies for these new posts must be taken from the same regiment. The colonel of the infantry regiment will command the post at Devil's Lake: the colonel of the cavalry regiment the post on James River. One of the first things to be done is to open a trail from Devil's Lake to the post below Fort Clarke, and from the post on James River to Fort Pierre. As soon as practicable after the troops arrive at their stations, all the wagon trains