HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE,
Cassville, November 7, 1864.
The morning report of this brigade shows 950 men present for duty. We had when we started 2,600. Half the horses will not stand the march a week, and must be led half the time to do that. If we are to follow Price it will be best done on foot. An inspection of the horses made lately shows that but 300 of the 900 are serviceable. We must leave here to-morrow to seek forage. It cannot be had within twenty miles of this place. Please send me orders so that I may move as soon as my men have voted in the morning.
Cassville, November 7, 1864-12.15 p. m.
Major General W. S. ROSECRANS,
Commanding Department of the Missouri:
I find the situation as follows: The army of Price has scattered to subsist, part going with Price, via Cane Hill, and into the Indian country, part with Fagan on to the White River, while several large parties are still in our rear and threatening our communications. General Curtis undoubtedly gone to Fort Smith to follow him, and to forage our horses would be difficult on the route and impossible when we get there. Northeast Arkansas is a difficult country to operate in with cavalry, especially against an enemy who can fight and run as he chooses, and substantial success so far from supplies will be doubtful. The other course left to me (and although less desirable than an active pursuit of the main army to me personally is one I think for the good if the service) will be to march my command, via Galena and Hartville, to Rolla, and collect and remount this badly scattered brigade. I can thus operate against straggling parties, protect the road, and rid my district of guerrillas. If found necessary I can send a regiment or two from Hartville to Huston. I can get the required subsistence here for the march, and the country will yield forage. I await your orders, which please return by telegraph. General Sanborn fully concurs in these suggestions as my best course.
SAINT LOUIS, November 7, 1864-10.30 p. m.
Brigadier General J. McNEIL,
Use your best judgment under your orders, and if the advance is manifestly impracticable, as I should infer from your dispatch, report to Major-General Curtis and move your command accordingly. Don't fail to keep the stock from dying; preserve it for recuperation, and keep your men together, in fighting trim.
W. S. ROSECRANS,