field of plunder. This morning I am advised of Caledonia having been a place of prey, about 10 o'clock last night, to about 15 to 20 burglars. They are said to have stolen from $1,200 to $1,500 worth of store goods of all kinds, even thimbles and little children's shoes, in fact anything they laid their hands on. They seem to have come up from Black River, in the lower counties of this State, and are now returning with their booty, if not intercepted by some of my men. I think I am correctly informed as to their way of retreat and have taken measures to catch them if possible. I have sent this morning a detachment of 45 men to scout between here and Centreville to find out about the report of yesterday, which I shall communicate to you as soon as I am in receipt of it.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. N. HERDER,
Lieutenant Colonel First Infy., Missouri State Mil., Commanding Post.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF KANSAS,
Fort Leavenworth, March 20, 1864.
Major General H. W. HALLECK,
Yours of the 12th instant, speaking of mine of the 28th ultimo as conveying "implied censures," which" fall on the President" and not on your, because I speak of words in the order creating this department as "entirely void of military meaning," is just received. I protest, general, that I did not so express myself. I said that the construction reported by General Thayer left these words, "entirely void of military meaning;" but I have constantly insisted this is not a right military construction.
I did and do say that, with such a construction of the words "the military post of Fort Smith" as leaves only a stone inclosure in my command, without troops in it, surrounded by a town, troops, and progressing forts, all not belonging to the command of the inclosure, and all commanding it, then the 200 feet square so located has no military meaning or importance and should be eliminated from my order as worse than surplusage. In presenting these stubborn facts in my plain vernacular I mean neither disrespect nor "censures;" I go on the supposition they were not so understood, and suppose on proper presentation the ambiguity will be remedied.
I am not to be commander of Fort Smith in orders and have no power to command it by construction. That is the dilemma I desired might be removed. If I have not plainly presented the matter before have I done it now? If there is the slightest disrespect implied before I withdraw it now. I concur with you that the status of troops was fixed when the order was promulgated on the 1st January, and I have strictly complied with that idea, allowing no orders to issue when even doubts arose, because I had submitted the doubts to you and to the honorable Secretary who issued the order.
Troops that were in the Indiana Territory, and therefore unquestionably in this department, on the 1st of January, have gone east into Arkansas for convenience of forage. I have not ordered these, but asked you by telegraph to h ave them directed to report to me, avoiding all possible complications. General Blunt telegraphs that the Eighteenth Iowa, Second Kansas Battery, Companies B, K, L,