The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: April-September 1861 - Vol. 2

By John Y. Simon | Go to book overview
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To Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont
Cairo Ill.
September 2d 1861
SIR:

I am under the painful necessity of reporting that Gen. Prentiss positively refused to obey orders from me and has therefore defeated the prompt execution of your instructions.

I would have taken command myself and marched upon Sikeston, or Charleston, but before risking the command of Gen. Prentiss in an unknown country it was necessary that an understanding should be had with those who were to coöperate from this end and, if possible, learn the position of the enemy. —Gen. Prentiss did not inform Col. Wallace of his arrival at Jackson as directed but marched on immediately to Cape Girardeau.

I send you herewith a copy of my instructions to Col. Marsh, and also to Gen. Prentiss. 1 It was my intention to meet Gen. Prentiss at Jackson in person, and I had instructions prepared to carry out to him.

Col. Marsh failed to report the approach of Gen. Prentiss to me but I heard of it through another source and had started for Jackson when Gen. Prentiss arrived in Cape Girardeau with an escort of about one hundred & seventy Cavalry, leaving his command to arrive, and go into camp, at Jackson.

I send you herewith a copy of all orders and instructions sent to Col. Marsh and also those given to Gen. Prentiss. I have also enclosed charges against Gen. Prentiss. 2 A copy will

be furnished Gen. Prentiss with instructions to report himself in arrest to you in St. Louis. I telegraphed very fully immediately upon my arrival but have not yet received a reply. This embarasses me very much. I proposed assigning Gen. McClernand to the command from Jackson and commanding the forces from Birds Point and Belmont myself. No answer has yet been received.

The command at Jackson was placed in command of Col.

-174-

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