5,000 recruits since. His horses are in bad condition for want of shoeing. Much depends now on our prompt action and concentration with Rosecrans' forces. There can be no necessity for troops north of the Kansas River. Leavenworth is in no danger, unless Price advances on this line. In my opinion our right should be extended to Lone Jack and connect with Rosecrans' left. If we mass our forces in the right position, and do it rapidly, we can move against Price in force and crush him. With this disposition of troops I do not see how he can escape us. I consider it of the highest importance that we mass our forces on a line south of Price's position, and then it matters little whether he (Price) moves east or west, we can cut him up; while, on the other hand,s if our forces are divided, and with the kind of forces we have on the border, we cannot successfully resist his columns unless Rosecrans attacks him vigorously in the rear, and he will make his retreat through Kansas. I make these suggestions for your consideration.
JAS. G. BLUNT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE BORDER,
Independence, October 20, 1864.*
In the Field:
GENERAL: I have no time to explain. Your forces must take position here, where dry corn and provisions are arranged. The militia will not go farther forward, and the Big Blue must be our main line for battle. We must not break down our best regiments in the episodes of our contest, and, therefore, the Eleventh, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth, and Ford's regiment must have some rest. Leave two howitzers, and, say, 400 men at the Little Blue, and come back yourself with the remainder. Probably Moonlight better be left in command of that point, not to fight a battle, but to delay the rebel approach and fall back to our main force. I will now be able to bring forward to Kansas City a respectable force. We must pick our battle line, where we can have united councils as well as a strong position. This we are securing at the Big Blue and elsewhere. The blow you gave the enemy is doing good in the rear. It is crushing some of the silly rumors that had well night ruined my prospects of a successful defense.
S. R. CURTIS,
OCTOBER 20, 1864-10.03 p. m.
My command is in camp on west side of the Blue, in a strong position-that I can defend this line against a largely superior force. Have plenty of forage for the present. Have sent forward scouting parties to the front. My cavalry horses are considerably fatigued. Can you not send me Colonel Ford's command at once, to scout to the front, as they are well acquainted with the country, and their horses must be
*For this dispatch as quoted by Curtis, see Part I, p. 476.
10 R R-VOL XLI, PT IV