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[89] attack the enemy near New Madrid or Cape Girardeau, and, if practicable, march on St. Louis, and thus withdraw the forces threatening that part of Arkansas. A heavy blow had been struck the Federals; Van Dorn proposed to seek another field before they recovered. If he gave battle near New Madrid, he would relieve Beauregard, in command at Corinth. If that were not advisable, he would march boldly and rapidly toward St. Louis.

Gov. Isham G. Harris had written Van Dorn, March 7th, from Clarksville, Tenn., that General Beauregard desired Van Dorn to join his forces with those of Beauregard on the Mississippi river, if possible. To this General Van Dorn replied, March 16th, that he would unite all his troops at Pocahontas, about the 7th of April, and would have about 20,000, maybe more; that the enemy in Arkansas had fallen back to Springfield. On the 17th of March he sent a message to Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston that by the 22d he would get off, and reach Pocahontas on April 7th with 15,000 men. He received a letter from Gen. R. E. Lee, dated March 19th, informing him that all the troops called from Arkansas and Texas, and by Hebert from the coast, were ordered to him.

March 19th, General Van Dorn ordered Col. T. J. Churchill, with his brigade, and Gates' battalion of cavalry, to make an expedition against Springfield, Mo., and endeavor to capture and destroy the stores of the enemy there. On the same day the First division, army of the West, under command of Major-General Price, was ordered to be ready to march on the 25th inst. General Pike was continued in command of the troops in the Indian Territory, and Woodruff's battery, reorganized at Little Rock, was ordered to report to him at Van Buren. Maj. W. L. Cabell, at Pocahontas, was advised, as chief-quartermaster, on the 25th of March, that it had been decided to make Des Arc, Ark., the point of rendezvous

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