soon send to your headquarters scores of the rebel incendiaries and returned soldiers from Price's army. Of the latter the country is full. There are at least from ten to twenty in this town at this moment.
The great number of returned rebel soldiers throughout this and other counties north of the river induces the suggestion that in all probability it is the purpose of Price to get most of his army over here scattered all through the country, and finally if possible to cross over himself and by a preconcerted movement assemble in full force at some prearranged point. He may look to the freezing of the river as a means of crossing it.
Be this as it may now is the time to strike the bridge-burners and scatter the roving bands of rebels who are destroying the peace of the country, pillaging Union men of their property and arresting them.
Two or three companies of Colonel Birge's sharpshooters might be quartered for the winter in this place, with a cavalry force to scour the country to strike the vandals and disperse bands of armed rebels. Infantry cannot do this. If you wish it done; if you wish to avoid the necessity of having to fight on the south side of the river thousands upon thousands of armed secessionists send us on the north side a few companies of cavalry (to stay here) and the work will be done.
[W. F. SWITZLER.]
OTTERVILLE, December 27, 1861.
DEAR SIR: This letter will inform you that myself and many other loyal citizens residing in the south portion of Benton and the north portion of Dallas and Hickory Counties have been driven from our homes and have had to leave all that we possessed to be devoured by a worse than savage enemy and fly for refuge to the Federal army stationed along the railroad. I find the Federal army at many points on the railroad badly furnished with winter quarters, and I think if you would send as many as two regiments to Warsaw, the county seat of Benton County, thirty-three miles south of Sedalia, they would find empty houses enough for comfortable winter quarters and also give protection to many good, loyal citizens and save a vast amount of property that is now being stolen and destroyed by small guerrilla bands of rebels that are now ravaging the country. If two or three regiments of infantry and two or three companies of cavalry to act as scouts were stationed at Warsaw to give protection to the country the telegraph could very soon be put in operation to Warsaw which would greatly facilitate our communication with the southwest. We, however, submit all to your wiser judgment, and sincerely hope that an unerring Providence will direct you to make such a disposition of our army as will soonest put down the rebellion and restore peace and happiness to our beloved country.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CENTRAL MISSOURI,
Otterville, December 29, 1861.
Colonel DEITZLER, Commanding First Kansas:
You will repair from this place by the most direct route to Lexington and thence by the road which most nearly follows the river to Independence and Kansas City. You will break up all secession camps