August 12, 1862, HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF MISSOURI, Saint Louis, Mo., Brigadier-General J. M. SCHOFIELD
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF MISSOURI,
Saint Louis, Mo., August 12, 1862.
Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK,
Commanding U. S. Army, Washington, D.C.:
GENERAL: I received your telegram of the 10th yesterday. I had been acting some time as you suggest, by keeping my troops well together, moving rapidly, and striking quick and severe blows. I believe no troops could be more active and energetic than those in Missouri. Porter's band of 3,000 men has been driven a distance of not less than 300 miles and whipped five times in ten days. His loss in killed and wounded is not less than 600. His force is entirely broken up and scattered. He probably has not 20 men with him. Poindexter, with about 1,000 men, and Cobb, with 400 or 500, both north of the Missouri River, have thus far eluded us; but I have no doubt of being able to corner them soon. I have perfect confidence that the insurrection in Northern Missouri will be put down in a short time. In the southeastern part of the State all is comparatively quiet. I believe there is no immediate danger to be apprehended in that quarter. In the western and southwestern parts of the State the rebels are extremely active and bold. Quantrill succeeded in taking Independence with a few men yesterday. I had ordered a concentration of troops in that vicinity a week before, but, for some reason which I have not yet learned, the order was not carried out in time. I believe I have troops enough in that part of the State to prevent the rebels from gaining any considerable foothold and to break them up in a short time. Coffee, with 500 or 600 men, had succeeded in eluding General Brown's forces and passed up near to the Osage, where he has been joined by a thousand or more recruits. I have two bodies of cavalry after him, and I am sure he cannot gain more than a very temporary success.
Springfield is threatened by a considerable force advancing via Forsyth. General Brown finds it impossible to ascertain how large; but I do not believe it all equal to his. I have directed General Brown to fortify a point at or near Springfield, to be held by his enrolled militia, and to keep on the aggressive with his disciplined troops as long as possible. I have no doubt of his ability to hold that point until re-enforcements can be sent from the new levies in the adjoining States. Thousands of men have fled from Missouri during the past two weeks and joined the rebels in Arkansas. Most of them are in the vicinity of Batesville, trying to organize. As yet they are poorly armed, some of them not at all. I do not see any present danger from that direction, but I presume I shall need re-enforcements as soon as they can reach me.
As to the charge of inefficiency, I believe it comes solely from the men who would have me adopt an extreme policy not sanctioned by yourself or by the President. If I thought otherwise I would ask to be relieved at once; and if, upon examination, you think the good of the service will be promoted thereby, I will cheerfully accept a less responsible command. I can see as well as others that I have committed some errors; whether more than another would have done is not for me to judge. I will do the best I am able, wherever I may be placed.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,
P. S.--Colonel Guitar attacked Poindexter at 9 o'clock last night, while crossing Grand River. Killed and drowned from 30 to 40 of his men, captured one-third of his horses and arms, and all his baggage and ammunition.
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