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[41] an answer to General Fremont's letter on the morning of August 9. He altered the original draft, in his own hand, as is shown in the copy following; a fair copy of the letter as amended was then made, and he signed it.

Springfield, Aug. 9, 1861.
General: I have just received your note of the 6th inst. by special messenger.

I retired to this place, as I have before informed you, reaching here on the 5th. The enemy followed to within ten miles of here. He has taken a strong position, and is recruiting his supplies of horses, mules, and provisions by forays into the surrounding country; his large force of mounted men enabling him to do this without annoyance from me.

I find my position extremely embarrassing, and am at present unable to determine whether I shall be able to maintain my ground or be forced to retire. I can resist any attack from the front, but if the enemy moves to surround me I must retire. I shall hold my ground as long as possible, [and not] though I may without knowing how far endanger the safety of my entire force with its valuable material, being induced by the important considerations involved to take this step. The enemy yesterday made a show of force about five miles distant, and has doubtless a full purpose of making an attack upon me.

Very respectfully your obedient servant,

N. Lyon, Brigadier-General Vols., Commanding. Major-General J. C. Fremont, Comdg. Western Department, St. Louis, Mo.

The words in my handwriting which were erased (‘and not’ in brackets), and those substituted by General Lyon, given in italics, clearly express the difference of opinion which then existed between us upon the momentous question which we had then been discussing for several days, namely: What action did the situation require of him as commander of that army?

I was then young and wholly inexperienced in war;

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