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[213] of the circumstances surrounding my command within the last two weeks, compelling me to evacuate Springfield and retreat beyond the State line into the territory of Arkansas, the intelligence of which has no doubt reached you.

About the latter part of December, I left my camp on Sac River, St. Clair County, fell back, and took up my quarters at Springfield, for the purpose of being within reach of supplies, protecting that portion of our State from both Home Guard depredations and Federal invasion, as well as to secure a most valuable point for military movements. At Springfield I received from Grand Glaze considerable supplies of clothing, camp and garrison equipage, and having built huts, our soldiers were as comfortable as circumstances would permit. I am pleased to say few complaints were either made or heard. Missouri having been admitted as an equal member of the confederate States, and having my command much augmented by recruits, I was enabled to raise and equip about four thousand men for the confederate service. A brigade of these, consisting of two regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry, and two light batteries of artillery, have been tendered to the confederate government.

About the latter part of January my scouts reported that the enemy were concentrating in force at Rolla, and shortly thereafter they occupied Lebanon. Believing that this movement could be for no other purpose than to attack me, and knowing that my command was inadequate for such successful resistance as the interests of my army and the cause demanded, I appealed to the commanders of the confederate troops in Arkansas, to come to my assistance. This, from correspondence, I was led confidently to expect, and relying upon it, I held my position to the last moment, and, as the sequel proved, almost too long, for on Wednesday, February twelfth, my pickets were driven in, and reported the enemy advancing upon me in force. No resource was now left me except retreat, without hazarding all with greatly unequal numbers upon the result of one engagement. This I deemed it unwise to do. I commenced retreating at once. I reached Cassville with loss unworthy of mention in any respect. Here the enemy in my rear commenced a series of attacks running through four days. Retreating and fighting all the way to the Cross Hollows in this State, I am rejoiced to say my command, under the most exhausting fatigue, all that time, with but little rest for either man or horse, and no sleep, sustained themselves, and came through, repulsing the enemy upon every occasion with great determination and gallantry. My loss does not exceed four to six killed, and some fifteen to eighteen wounded. That of the enemy we know to be ten times as great.

Col. Henry Little, commanding the First brigade, with Cols. B. A. Rives and J. Q. Burbridge, of the infantry, and Col. E. Gates, of the cavalry, covered this retreat from beyond Cassville, and acted as the rear-guard. The Colonel commanding deserves the highest praise for unceasing watchfulness, and the good management of his entire command. I heartily commend him to your attention. All these officers merit, and should receive, the thanks of both government and people. To all the officers and men of my Army I am under obligations. No men or officers were ever more ready and prompt to meet and repel an enemy. Governor, we are confident of the future.

Sterling Price, Major-General Commanding M. S. G.

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