I need hardly say to that my force is more apparent than real. You know the Enrolled Missouri Militia stationed about here are of little use. They are not all mounted and not at all reliable. The new companies of the Fifth Regiment, of which I have three, are excellent for garrison duty, but, of course, harmless in pursuit of guerrillas and mounted troops. So if I were to move on Bowles to-day I could not raise 100 reliable men, mounted, and in the these swamps that would not be enough; hence, if possible, give me two or three squadrons of my own men, and then you my take all the militia. I find much need of a strong hand here since the lax discipline of the last few months.
Outrages by soldiers and neglect of officers have become common, and many grievous complaints daily from the various outposts of armies in consequence of lax discipline, but I have gathered the reins in a strong hand and will undoubtedly be again called a tyrant. So be it. If they do not love they shall obey me. An armed violence on unarmed citizens shall cease.
If my views concerning the abandonment of Dallas and the strengthening of Bloomfield meet your own, please notify me. I think a few strong outposts are more a source of security to the country than a multiplicity of weak ones. I shall visit the outposts of Caruthersville as soon as I can finish the unfinished business here and see to the defenses, although I am told they are good; that is a good stockade, which, of course, could not resist artillery, but I think they have none in that country. I do not deny but that I think a very exposed outpost, so distant from support and so far down, but believe the force there, with the gun-boat that lies off there, can hold it against any force they are likely to have there. New Madrid is safe, and the forces there are active and vigilant, and have driven out or killed all the guerrillas that formerly infested that region. Lieutenant-Colonel Hiller thinks that there are Union men at Dallas, but thinks the outposts unnecessary, but suggests that a small force of mounted men be left there to prevent smuggling from above, say one officer and twenty men. I think his suggestion a good one; this force would act as a picket and could move readily if threatened.
I again urge my great want of experienced officers and reliable cavalry. I should prefer of my regiment Companies D, E, F, H, and first in the order named.
I am, general, very respectfully,
J. B. ROGERS.
HDQRS. DIST. OF SOUTHWEST MISSOURI, Numbers 330.
Springfield, Mo., December 15, 1864.
1. Major Milton Burch, Eighth Cavalry Missouri State Militia, is hereby relieved from duty as commanding officer of the post of Neosho, Mo. Upon the receipt of this order he will turn over his command to the senior officer present at that post and report in person, without delay, at the headquarters of his regiment and assume command of the same.
* * *
By order of Colonel J. J. Gravely, commanding district:
WM. T. KITTREDGE,