shortest line to Kansas. Your sergeant reports he knows the shortest route and messengers arrived at your headquarters from Pleasonton just as he left. I will wait in hopes of hearing from Pleasonton before I dispatch you.
W. S. ROSECRANS.
INDEPENDENCE, MO., October 23, 1864.
Major General A. J. SMITH,
Camp on Little Blue:
Pleasonton was on the military road eight miles from Westport at 3 p. m. Curtis, from camp at 2.30 p. m., says we had a stubborn fight, but when Pleasonton came in on the enemy's right flank he was completely routed. Pleasonton's dispatch informs you that McNeil was at Little Santa Fe. Move by the shortest route to Hickman Mills, and thence to Little Santa Fe, in Kansas, where you can get forage. Send your spare wagons, if you have any, with men disabled by rapid marching, to Warrensburg under a brave and competent officer. Keep the men in the wagons and forage in a body with their accouterments on. Don't allow them to park their trains except defensively. I will connect with your headquarters by courier to-morrow. Take part of your escort to follow the telegraph line down toward Pleasant Hill, keeping on your left flank as far as the Pleasant Hill road to Hickman Mills, there to report to you the breaks in the line. If the line merely swings tell them to prop it up and report breaks. This march will take you in the direction of your supplies, and there is one chance of your co-operating with the cavalry. It would be desirable, if practicable, that infantry skirmishers should pick up rebel deserters who will hang about your flanks. I now regret I did not follow my better judgment and send you to Pleasant Hill.
W. S. ROSECRANS,
LEXINGTON, MO., October 23, 1864-1 a. m.
Your dispatches of 4 p. m. and 8 p. m. were duly received. Smith has been ordered to march to Independence by the shortest line. Delay a general engagement until he arrives, if possible. Try to keep as much to Price's south as possible, so as to communicate easily with Smith, who will probably be up by this p. m. at latest. We will join you as soon as possible.
W. S. ROSECRANS,
HEADQUARTERS CAVALRY DIVISION,
Big Blue, October 23, 1864-5 a. m.
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
GENERAL: Your dispatch of 8 p. m. last night and also one for General Curtis received. Have been driving the enemy all night. Their rear guard is very strong. Price's whole command is moving on the military road to Fort Scott. His whole force was at Independence, and but for