citizens as spies who are acquainted with the country, send them amongst them, and against their intentions. Be careful, and don't be napping. If the enemy should approach your post with too large a force to defend yourself fall back to this post. Watch their movements so that you will not be outflanked. Above all, be sure to use all proper diligence to keep me advised of anything that is going on.
JOS. A. EPSTEIN,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding District.
HDQRS. DETACH, FIFTH [MISSOURI STATE MILITIA] CAV.,
Salem, Mo., February 14, 1864.
Captain J. LOVELL,
Asst. Adjt. General, District of Rolla, Rolla, Mo.:
CAPTAIN: In accordance with orders, I have the honor to transmit to you the following report of scouts and escorts: On the 6th instant, I sent Sergt. Stephen Alt and 5 men of Company C and 3 men of Company M, Fifth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, on scout in the direction of Little Piney.
They struck a trail of a squad of bushwhackers. They followed their trail across the Rolla and Houston road. They found a very deep sink where some 5 had camped a night or two previous. They followed their trail on farther and found several more camping places in two large caves. They say they have sufficient proof the D. P. Neport, a man who has taken the oath of allegiance, in 1861, is often seen with the bushwhackers, and assists them in conveying goods from Rolla to the most notorious rebels that reside in that country. They returned to camp, traveling a distance of 80 miles.
On the 9th instant, I sent 1 corporal and 6 men of Company M, Fifth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, in pursuit of 5 bushwhackers that had robbed the mail and stripped the mail boy of horse and equipment. They followed their till dark, and in the morning pursued on their trail until they scattered and set the woods on fire behind, so they could not trail them any farther; returned to camp, traveling a distance of 60 miles. On the 10th instant, I sent Sergt. Stephen Alt and 5 men of Company C and 5 men of Company M, Fifth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, on a scout to Little Piney. They struck their trail about 18 miles from here, which they pursued in various directions thorough the woods until night. In the morning they pursued their trail to Bee Creek, where they lost their trail and could not ascertain any further information in regard to their movements.
On the 12th instant, learned of where another band had camped, then received information that they had gone north. They proceeded to reconnoiter the woods, hoping to intercept them on their retreat, but failed in the act, and not being able to ascertain any further information, they returned to camp, traveling a distance of 180 miles.
All quiet in this vicinity and no large force of the enemy near, but there are a great many bushwhackers around plundering and stealing horses. I have 3 scouts out that will be in to-morrow. I will do my utmost to keep you posted in all rebel movements. I wish you would send me a train of forage and escort, as I need all my