attacking at Pine Bluff or any other point on the line of the Arkansas Sherman's movement down the Mississippi caused them to change their plans. It was believed in the rebel camp that the expedition was going up Red River, and they commenced immediately to move west. Price moved to Spring Hill, about 25 miles from Washington. Part of his troops have crossed Red River. They have a pontoon bridge at Fulton. All the rebel troops along the Ouachita now are mounted. I can hear of none except Fagan's brigade of mounted infantry and Shelby's cavalry, in all, perhaps, 3,000 men.
One of my regiments of cavalry has just returned from a scout between the Saline and Ouachita Rivers. They could hear of no force above Princeton except guerrillas. Part of Fagan's command is at that place and the balance at Camden. I have ordered a reconnaissance by cavalry in considerable force, which will probably stampede what is left of the rebels on the Ouachita. From all that I can learn they intend to fall back to the other side of Red River whenever we advance upon them. They say they will hold the line of the Red from Alexandria up I doubt whether they will make a very obstinate resistance. I am confident that Arkansas will be free from rebel troops as soon as we can advance in the spring. My only apprehension now is a want of cavalry horses and means of transportation. Owing to the severity of the weather and a want of long forage our loss in animals has been very heavy, but we shall make every effort to overcome these difficulties.
The recruiting service in Arkansas is doing well. A very fine regiment has been raised here by Captain Ryan, of my staff, and others will soon be full. Prominent citizens, who fled on our approach, are coming in daily and taking the amnesty oath. The civil department will soon be off my hands. It is believed that there will be votes enough cast in the District of Little Rock bring the State back, but the largest vote will be cast in the District of the Frontier. The fort is ready for defense, and the armament-20-pounder Parrotts-will be here in a few days. I hope the veteran regiments that have gone home will be sent back as soon as they can be organized, in order to give the rest an opportunity of going.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHWEST MISSOURI, Springfield, Mo., February 25, 1864.
Lieutenant ROBERTA CROCKETT,
Company L, Sixth Missouri State Militia Cavalry:
You will proceed to-morrow morning with 30 men of your company, supplied with 40 rounds of ammunition each and six days' rations, to McDonald County, Mo., to ascertain whether sufficient forage can be obtained in the vicinity of Pineville, or any other portion of that county, to supply a company of cavalry; also to ascertain whether any bands of guerrillas are committing depredations or occupying that county, and, if so, to capture and destroy them or drive them from the State. You will also ascertain and report the condition of the people of that country and their proposed action in regard to raising crops this coming season. Having performed this duty you will return to these headquarters and submit your