April 25, 1863, Camp near
Colonel Wm. Weer to Major General F. J. Herron
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, ARMY OF THE FRONTIER,
Camp near Bloomington, Mo., April 25, 1863.
Maj. Gen. F. J. HERRON,
Commanding Army of the Frontier:
SIR: I reached here to-day with all the command that was at Forsyth, except a portion of the cavalry, which I expect to find at Hartville to-morrow. I would have made greater progress today, but a heavy rain came up this morning, which made the roads almost impassable. Some of my wagons will not get up to-night. I propose to camp at Hartville to-morrow night, and will push on to Houston as rapidly as possible. I have thus far been able to get forage by dragging it from under beds and other hiding places. Though my animals, from so much continuous service, are losing flesh fast, I shall have to rely, I presume, chiefly on grass for subsistence. The horses of the Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery are failing fast; they are part of the unserviceable lot sent from Saint Louis a few weeks ago, and are utterly worthless for that kind of service. It would be a public benefit if substitutes could be found for them. Otherwise, with some slight repairs and outfitting, the battery would be very efficient.
The Nineteenth Iowa are in great need of shoes, and the Third Wisconsin Cavalry of clothing. It is generally understood that at Houston we rid ourselves of a vast amount of baggage, including tents. This will give a great abundance of transportation. I presume, and have so said, that all the surplus baggage will be sent to Rolla from Houston, and the necessary quartermaster stores received from there.
Allow me, general, to again call your attention to the question of pay. The Nineteenth Iowa, Twenty-fifth Ohio Battery, and Ninth Wisconsin have not yet been paid. The latter has been eight months without pay, and they are receiving accounts from Wisconsin of suffering in their families for want of it. Necessity drove us from Forsyth; the paymaster present. The men expected to be paid at Springfield, but the want of forage there (Colonel Cloud ordered his quartermaster not to furnish me any) compelled a hasty departure from there. It is difficult to get men to be reconciled with what to them appears a running away from the paymaster. I have assured them, upon the faith of your telegraphic dispatch, that they will be paid at Houston. There is still, however, some murmuring, aggravated, no doubt, from the fact that they have for two days been marching in rain and mud; and to-morrow, before starting, I propose to talk to them, collectively, upon the matter, renewing the assurance above mentioned. Major Jones, senior paymaster at Springfield, informed me that his subordinate paymasters have plenty of money; that Major Adams, who had commenced the payment at Forsyth, could as well go with us as not; that he had force enough without him to settle with the troops in that district; but he felt unauthorized to send Major Adams with us, as we were going into another district. He remarked that a telegraphic order from Major Brown, at Saint Louis, would remove the difficulty. Allow me to beg you, general, to obtain this, so that we may meet the paymaster and a mustering officer at Houston. We will hardly reach there before some time on the 28th. The men paid, I would have a thoroughly satisfied command, and certainly this part of the division deserves some extra attention, as they have had no rest since the battle of Prairie Grove. 1 have heard nothing as yet from the troops near Fort Scott, but presume they are on the way. They, no doubt, will be looking for payment.
Nothing is known on my route thus far as to the enemy. Thieving bands have been through this country, among others Quantrill and some 30 men.
Upon reaching Houston, I will, if you have no objections, call upon you at Salem.
A small advance of my cavalry occupy Hartville to-night.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
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