I had another occasion at that time to learn something important as to Fremont
He had ordered me to convert the 1st Regiment of Missouri Volunteer Infantry into an artillery regiment.
I had organized eight batteries and used all the field-guns I could get. There remained in the arsenal a battery of new rifled guns which Fremont
had purchased in Europe
I applied to him personally for those guns, telling him I had a well-disciplined company of officers and men ready to man them.
He gave me the order without hesitation, but when I went to the arsenal I found an order there countermanding the order he had given me. I returned to headquarters, and easily obtained a renewal of the order to issue the guns to me. Determining to get ahead this time, I took the quickest conveyance to the arsenal, but only to find that the telegraph had got ahead of me —the order was again countermanded.
The next day I quietly inquired at headquarters about the secret of my repeated disappointment, and learned that some foreign adventurer had obtained permission to raise a company of artillery troops and wanted those new rifled guns.
It was true the company had not been raised, but I thought that would probably make no difference, so I never mentioned the matter to the general again.
Instead I planned a flank movement which proved far more successful than the direct attack could possibly have been.
I explained to General Fremont
the great need of field-guns and equipment for his army, and suggested that if ordered East I might by personal efforts obtain all he needed.
He at once adopted my suggestion, bade me sit down at a desk in his room and write the necessary order, and he signed it without reading.
I readily obtained twenty-four new rifled Parrott guns, and soon had them in service in the Western Department, in lieu of the six guns I had failed to get from the St. Louis Arsenal.
When I had accomplished this duty and returned to