Horace Greeley.

The American conflict: a history of the great rebellion in the United States of America, 1860-'64 online

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he made haste to capture these and
claim a victory.

Our loss in this brilliant struggle
was 700 kiUed and wounded; that
of the enemy was said to be 2,800,
including three Generals.

Fagan was reported between our
army and Little Bock, compelling
rapid movements on Steele's part to
save our d^p6ts at that city; while
the roads were unfathomable. Our
soldiers had coffee and whatever else
they could pick up ; which was not
much. Our animals had been star-
ving for days, and were unaUe to
draw our wagons; which, except one
for each brigade, Stede ordered to

be destroyed. And so, bridging
streams, corduroying swamps, and
dragging guns and caissons over
them, our army plodded its wearj,
famished way toward the capital
it had left so proudly; being met
at length by a supply train, which
passed down the road, throwing out
" hard-tack *' in proftwion— our men
scrambling for it in the mud, and
devouring it with keen voracity.
Steele entered Little Bock May 3d.

late in June, Shelby crossed the
Arkansas eastward of Little Bock,
pushing northward to the White,
near its mouth ; and was met ^^nesr
St. Oharies by four raiments under
G^n. Oarr, who worsted him, taking
200 prisoners. Our loss here in
killed and wounded was 200; that
of the Bebels was estimated by onr
officeiB at 600. Marmaduke soon
aj^roaching witli reenforcements for
Shelby, Oarr fell hoA on Olarendon,
20 miles below Duvall's blu£^ where
he also was reenfOTced; when the
enemy retreated southwaid.

There were, of oouise, a good
•many partisan encounters and raidB
during the Sununer; in oneof which
a Union scouting party, under Cap!
Jug, dashed ^ into Benton and killed
Brig.-Oen. Oeo.M Holt; in another,
Ool. W. S. Broob 66ih U. S. colored,
moving out fixmi Helena with 400
men, was attacked^* on Big creek bj
Gen. Dobbins, with a superior Bebel
force, and would have been worsted,
had not Maj. Oarmichael, who was
on a steamboat going down the
Mississippi, with 150 of the 15th
HUnois cavalry, heard the persistcait
cannon-firing and resolved to investi-
gate the matter. Brooks had hdd

* June 27.


« July 26.

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big grotind stubbornly for hours,
but gained no advantage ; and t)ob-
bins was just f(»ining his men for a
decisive charge, when Carmichael
charged through them and joined
' Brooks ; when our men assumed the
oflFensive. Unhappily, Col. Brooks
was killed, with Capt LembkS, of
his batteiy, Adj. Pra4i;, and Surgeon
Stoddard : so our forpes fell back to
Helena, followed part way by Dob-
bins, but not again attacked. Our
loss in this a£Bur was 50 ; that of the
enemy was reported at 150.

Kext day, at the other side of the
State, Gen. Gano, with 1,500 Bebels,
surprised an outpost of Fort Smith,
held by Capt, MeflFord, with 200 of
the 5th Kansas, whom he captured,
with 82 of his men, after we had lost
10 killed, 15 wounded, to 12 killed,
20 wounded of the enemy. Gano,
of course, got away before he could
be reached from Fort Smith.

Kext month, Shelby, with some
2,000 men, struck ** the line of rail-
road between Durall's bluff andlittle
Bock, capturing most of the 54th
Illinois, who were guarding three
stations. CoL Mitchell was reported
among the killed.

Steele's advance to and papture of
Little Bock the preceding Autumn,
with the fEtilure of the Bebels even
to attempt its recovery, had been
accepted by the Unionists of Arkan-
sas as conclusive of the inability of
the foe to r^ain their lost ascen-
dency in their StatQ. Accordingly,
a Union meeting of citizens was
held at Little Bock," followed by
others; and, ultimately, a Union
State Constitutional Convention had
been assembled : ^ wherein 42 out of

the 64 counties were represented.
This Convention had framed a new
Constitution, whereby Slavery was
forever prohibited. Dr. Isaac Mur-
phy — ^the only member of the Con-
vention of 1861 who had held out to
the last against Secession — had been
designated Provisional Governor,
and duly inaugurated," with C. C.
Bliss, Lieut-Govemor, and B. J. T.
White, Secretary of State. This
Constitution was submitted to a vote
of the people and ratified " by 12,177
votes for, to 226 against it. State
officers, three members of Congress,
a Legislature, and local officers, were
at the same time elected. The Leg-
islature met, and elected" U. S.
Senators. The Uniomsts had fondly
supposed every thing ^ restored ' that
should be, so £ur as their State was
concerned ; until Steele's reverses in
and retreat from the south, with the
triumphant advance on his heels of
the Bebel armies, surrendered two-
thirds of her area to the enemy ;
whose cavalry, avmding our few
strongholds, careered at will over
the open country, foraging on the
already needy non-combatants, and
dealing vengeance on the ^ traitors'
and ^ren^adee' who had declared
for the Union. Li the Autumn, the
Bebel Legislature met ^ at Washing-
ton, listened to a message from their
Governor, Hannigan, and chose A.
P. G^land over Albert Pike to re-
present them in the Confederate

This practical surrender of the
State to the Bebels, throughout the
year following Steele's retreat fix>m
Camden, need not and should not
have been. But Steele, who was
continued in command, never struck

•Aug. 23. • Noy. 12, 1863. •• Jan. 8, 1864. " Jan. 22. "March 14. "April 25. "Sept 22.

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one hearty blow at the Rebellion
where he could, with a decent regard
for appearances, avoid it Identified
in principle and sympathy with the
enemy on every point bnt that of
Disunion, his powerftd influence was
thrown against the Emancipation
policy of the Government; and,
while he waa hail-fellow with the
Secession aristocracy of the State,
he was a sorrow and a scourge to
the hearty, unconditional upholders
of the Union. Hence, Unionism did
not flourish under his rule; hence,
the Rebel cavalry and guerrillas
roamed aknost at will over the State,
never fearing aught from his vigilance
or his zeal for the National cause;
and hence the forces under his com-
mand, though amply sufficient to
have held all of the State north of the
Washita, and repelled aU gainsayers,
were little better than wasted.

Gen. Rosecrans, having been ap-
pointed to the command of the De-
partment of Missouri, found, on his
arrival at St. Louis,*' the State agi-
tated by a feud that threatened
trouble. In addition to his force of
perhaps 12,000 men — ^mainly State
Militia, who were liable to service
only in Missouri — there were, in the
north-western counties, some 2,800
"provisionally enrolled militia" (by
the Radicals called " Paw-Paws 'O,**
who were * Conservative ' in their
sympathies, either having been hith-
eoix) in the Rebel service, or belong-
ing to Rebel families, or having oth-
erwise evinced sympathy with the
Rebels. These had been enrolled for
neighborhood or special service— and
were accused, by their Radical neigh-
bors, of fighting Abolitionists more

heartily than Rebels, and Btanding
ready to join Price's army should it
appear in the State the ensuing Sum-
mer, as was expected. Rosecranfl
looked into the matter, and sided
generally with the Radicals ; finding
the great slaveholding counties on the
river still infected with the Rebel
spirit, and thousands eagerly await-
ing the day when their party should
again have the upper hand, and be
able to avenge some of the indigni-
ties and wrongs they had suffered at
the hands of the Unionists. Contin-
uing his inquiries, and gradually in-
sinuating his spies into the secret
councils or lodges of the disloyal, he
became satisfied that they were every-
where organized, to the number rf
many thousands, as * The Order of
American Knights,' or ^ Sons of lib-
erty,' whereof the Grand Command-
ers were Sterling Price in the South
and 0. L. Yallandigham in the North ;
and that an invasion of Missouri by
Price, whom 23,000 members of thiB
order were sworn to join on his ap-
pearance, was part of a general pro-
granmie, which contemplated an inya-
sion also of the North, and a formida-
ble uprising of Rebel sympathizers
in the North-West. He first learned
through his spies in the Rebel lodges
that Yallandigham was soon to return
openly from Canada to Ohio, and be
sent thence to the Democratic Na-
tional Convention at Chicago. He
further discovered that arms were
extensively coming into the State,
and going into the hands of those
suspected of Rebel sympathies ; and
he transmitted to "Washington urgent
representations that perils environed
him, which required an augmentar
tion of his force. Gten. Hunt was

** Jan. 28, 1864. **Prom the paw-paw, a wild fruit whereon < boshwhat^en * were laid to subsift

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thereupon sent to MiflBonri by G^n.
Grant, and traversed the State on a
tour of observation; returning strong
in the belief that Rosecrans's appre-
hensions were excessive, and that no
inore force was needed in this depart-

Still, Bosecrans, without encour-
agement from Washington, prosecu-
ted his investigations ; and, upon evi-
dence that, at a recent meeting of
one of the lodges aforesaid, a resolve
had been offered, and laid over, to
commence operations in St. Louis
by assassinating the provost-marshal
and attempting to seize the depart-
ment headquarters, he arrested the
State commander, deputy command-
er, grand secretary, lecturer, and
some 30 or 40 leading members of
the secret organization, and lodged
them in prison.

The State commander aforesaid
being the Belgian Consul at St.
Louis, Bosecrans soon received, by
telegraph from the War Department,
an order to liberate him, with which
he declined to comply ; representing
that it would not have been given
had the Government been in posses-
sion of the facts known to him, and
which he had dispatdied by a trusty
hand to Washington. And, that evi-
dence having been received and read
by the President, the order of release
was countermanded*

The ui^nt exactions of the pub-
lic service in other quarters having
stripped Missouri of nearly or quite
all troops but her own miUtia, Bose-
crans sought and obtained authority
to raise ten raiments of twelve-
months' men for the exigency; when
a Bebel outbreak occurred " in Platte
county, in the north-west, quickly

followed by guerrilla outrages and
raids in the western river counties.
These were but forerunners of the
long meditated Bebel invasion, where-
of Gen, Washbume, commanding at
Memphis, gave^ the first distinct
warning; apprising Bosecrans that
Shelby, then at Batesville, north-
western Arkansas, was about to be
joined by Price ; when the advance
would begin. Gen. A. J. Smith was
then passing up the river to reenforce
Sherman in northern Georgia, when
he was halted** at Cairo by order
from Halleck, and sent to St. Louis
to strengthen Bosecrans.

Price entered south-eastern Mis-
souri by way of Poplar blufls and
Bloomfield ; advancing unresisted to
Pilot Ejiob, where he was first with-
stood** by a brigade, commanded by
Gen. Hugh S. Ewing. Here were
Fort Davidson and some other rude
works; and Ewing made an obsti-
nate stand, inflicting a loss of not
less than 1,000 men on the raiders,
while his own was but about 200.
StiU, as Price had not less than
10,000 men against 1,200, and as a
day's desultory fighting had given the
enemy possession of some of the steep
hills overlooking the fort, Ewing —
who had signally repulsed two as-
saults — wisely decided not to await
inevitable capture, but, spiking his
heavy guns and blowing up his maga-
zine, escaped during the night ; tak-
ing the road westward to Bella
through Caledonia and Webster —
his more natural line of retreat on
Mineral Point and Potosi being al-
ready in the enemy's possession. At
Webster, he turned abruptly north,
and struck the South-western Bail-
road at Harrison; having made 66

'July 7.

* Sept 3.


* Sept 27.

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mfles in 39 hours, though badly en-
cumbered by fugitives. Here his
weary men were sharply assailed
by a column under Shelby, which
had been pursuing them ; but, though
short of ammunition, Ewing held his
ground firmly some 80 hours, until
relieved by CoL Beveridge, 17th Illi-
nois cavalry, sent from BoUa by Gen.
McNeil to his assistance. Shelby
then drew off, and Ewing proceeded
at his leisure to RoUa.

Bbsecrans remained at St Louis
— the point of greatest consequence,
if not of greatest danger — ^working
night and day to collect a force able
to cope in a fair field with Price's
veterans and the * Sons of Liberty,'
who were pledged to join him — a
pledge which they but partially re-
deemed. For a week or so, the Ee-
bels seemed to have the upper hand ;
and this created a violent eruption of
treasonable guerrilla raids and burn-

ings in the pro-Slavery strongholds
of central Missouri." As the Eebel
army was mainly mounted, it not
only moved with greater celerity
than the most of its antagonists
could, but was able to mask its in-
tentions, and threaten at once our
depots at St. Louis, BoUa, and Jef*
ferson City. But time was on our
side ; as Gen. Mower was on his way
from Little Bock, with 5,000 veter-
ans; five regiments of hundred-day
men (who had already served out
their term) were coming from Illi-
nois to garrison St. Louis ; and the
militia of eastern Missouri was com-
ing out, to the number of perhaps
6,000 more. Unless Price could strike
at once some decisive, damaging blow,
which would cripple Rosecrans, para-
lyze his efforts to raise militia, and
call every latent Secessionist into the
saddle, he must inevitably decamp
and flee for his life.

" RoseoraDBy in his offioial report, sajs:

^ While Swing's fight was going od, Shelby
advanced to Potoei, and thenoe to Big river
bridge, threatening Gen. Smith's advance ; which
withdrew from that point to within safer snp-
portiDg distance of his main position at De Soto.
Previous to and pending these events, the guer-
rilla warfare in north Missouri had been waging
with redoubled Airy. Rebel agents, amnMty-
oath-takers, recruits, 'sympathizers,' 0. A. K.S,
and traitors of every hue and stripe, had warm-
ed into Ufe at the approach of tiie great inva-
sion. Women's fingers were busy making
clothes for Rebel soldiers out of goods plundered
by ^e guerrillas; women's tongues were busy
telling Union neighbors ^ their time was now cam'
ing.^ Gea flsk, with all his force, had been
scouring the bush for weeks in the river coun-
ties, in pursuit of hostile bands, composed large-
ly of recruits from among that class of inhabi-
tants who daim protection, yet decline to per-
form the fiill duties of citizens, on the ground
that they ' never tuck no sides.' A few facts
will convey some idea of this warfkre, carried on
by Confederate agents here, while the agents
abroad of their bloody and hypocritical despot-
ism — Kason, Slidell, and Mann, in Europe— have
the e£fh>ntery to tell the nations of Christendom
that our government * carries on the war with
increasing ferodtv, regardless of the laws of
civilized warfare.' These gangs of Rebels,

whose fiimilies had been living in peace among
their loyal neighbors^ committed tlvd most odd
blooded and diabolical murd^s, such as ridiDg
up to a farm-house, asking for water, and,
while receiving it, shooting down the giver—
an aged, inoffensive farmer — because he was a
radical ' Union man.' In the single sub-district
of Mexico, the commanding oiBcer ftunished a
list of near one hundred Union men who^ in the
course of six weeks, had been killed, maimed,
or *run off,' because they wen ^radical Union
men,' or Abolitioniste. About the Ist of Sep-
tember, Anderson's g$ng attacked a railroad
train on the North Missouri road, took from it
22 unarmed soldiers, many on si(^ leave, and,
after robbing, placed them in a row and shot
them in cold blood ; some of the bodies they
scalped, and put others across the track and run
the engine over them. On the a7th, this gang,
with numbers swollen to 300 or 400 men, at-
tacked Mi^or Johnson, with about 120 of the
39th Missouri volunteer infimtry, raw reerdt^
and, after stampeding their horses, shot every
man, most of them in cold blood. Anderson, a
few days later, was recognized by Gen. PHc^
at Booneville, as a Confederate captain, and,
with a verbal admonition to behave himself or-
dered by Colonel Madane, chief of Price's st^
to proceed to north Missouri and destroy the
railroads ; which orders were foimd on the mis-
creant when killed by LL-CoL Cox, about the
27th of October."

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The enemy, advancing by Potosi
across the Meramec to Bichwoods,
seemed to threaten St. Lonis, only
40 miles distant ; bat this was a feint
only, or was seen, on closer observa-
tion, to be too hazardous : so, bnm-
' ing the railroad bridge over the Me-
ramec, at Moselle, he turned north-
westward:" Q^n. A. J. Smith, with
4,500 infantry and 1,500 cavalry,
following him vigilantly but cau-
tiously. Burning Herman *• — ^an in-
tensely ^BadicaP German settle-
ment on the Missouri — and the rail-
road bridge over the Gasconade;
fording the Gasconade near Freder-
icksburg and the Osage at Oastle
Bock,** burning the railroad bridge
here, he appeared before Jefierson
City ; which Gens. McNeil and San-
bom, with all the men they could
mount, had just reached by forced
marches from Bella : and these, add-
ed to the force under Qtens. Fisk and
Brown, already there, made a garri-
son of 4,100 cavalry and 2,600 infan-
try — ^generally twelve^nonths' men
of little experience in the field, but
capable of good service behind in-
trenchments. Fisk decided — the
other Generals concurring — ^to oppose
a moderate resistance to the foe at
the crossing of the Moreau, 4 or 5
miles east of the city, and then fall
back within the rude defenses which
he, with the volunteered help of citi-
zens, had been for some days prepar-

Price crossed the Moreau after
a sharp but brief skirmish, and ad-
vanced •• on the capital ; developing
a line of battle 8 or 4 miles long,
which enveloped the city on all sides
save that of the river; but, on a foil
survey of the defenses, and a partial

glimpse of the men behind them,
with the lesson of Pilot Knob fresh
in his mind, he concluded not to at-
tack, but, after giving time for his
train to move around the city and
get a start on the road westward, he
drew off and followed it.

Gten. Pleasanton now arrived, ••
and assumed command ; dispatching
Gen. Sanborn with the cavalry to fol-
low and harass the en^ny, so as to
delay him, if possible, until Gen. A.
J. Smith could overtake him. San-
bom attacked the Bebel rear-guard
at Versailles, and drove it into line
of battle ; thus ascertaining that the
enemy were heading for BoonevUle ;
but, being nearly surrounded by them,
he fell back to OaUfomia ; where Col.
Outherwood, with A. J. Smith's cav-
alry and some much-needed supplies,
joined him on the 14th.

G^n. Mower, by coming from Ar-
kansas, following nearly in the track
of the Bebel irruption, had struck the
Mississippi at Cape Girardeau ; hav-
ing marched 800 miles, over bad
roads, in 18 days. His men were
weary, his provisions exhausted, his
^eams worn down ; part of his caval-
ry dismounted, witii the horses of
many more lacking shoes : so Bose-
crans dispatched steamboats from St.
Louis to bring them to that city;
whence the infiEmtry were s^it up the
Missouri by water, while the cavalry,
under Col. Winslow, marched*' by
land to r^enforce A. J. Smith ; reach-
ing •• Jefferson City — by reason of
the low stage of watar in the river
—one day in advance of the infan-

Meantime, Price had, of course,
seriously widened the gap between
him and our cavalry, of whom Pleas-

•OctL "Oct. 6. ••Oct 6. "OctT. "Oct 8. "Oct 10. "Oct 16.

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anton had now assumed the immedi-
ate command. A Eebel detachment
nnder Shelby had crossed the Mis-
souri at Arrow Bock and advanced
on Glasgow ; which they took, after a
fight of some hours; capturing part of
Col. Harding's 43d Missouri, with
small detachments of the 9th Mis-
souri militia, and 17th Illinois cav-

This bold stroke ought to have in-
sured the .destruction of at least half
the Bebel army, which an over-
whelming Union force was now
moving to inclose and crush. But
A. J, Smith was stopped, with our
supplies, at the Lamine, where the
enemy had burned the raiboad
bridge; and where Mower joined
him : when, taking five days' rations,
Smith advanced •• to Dunksburg;
Pleasanton, with our cavalry, includ-
ing Mower's, under Winslow, being
well advanced, on a line stretching
northward from Warrensburg.

The enemy was north-west of this,
and seemed disposed to stay there :
his advance^* reaching Lexington,
driving Gen. Blunt with a force from
Kansas, who, after a sharp skirmish,
retreated on Independence. Bose-
crans, learning this by tel^raph, di-
rected** Pleasanton, who had been
demonstrating toward "Waverly, to
move in force on Lexington, order-
ing Smith to follow; and both, of
course, obeyed.

These orders seem to have been
mistakes — very natural, perhaps, but
not the less unfortunate. It is not
easy to overtake an army mainly
mounted, which lives oS the country,
has few guns, and bums every bridge
behind it; but our only chance of
crushing so nimble an adversary, lay

in pressing steadily westward, so as
to get between the enemy and his
necessary line of retreat, and strike
him as he attempted to pass; and
it matters not whether he had been
drawn so far northward in quest of
food or in order to double on his •
pursuers. When Pleasanton's ad-
vance, under McNeil and Sanborn,
reached " Lexington, the enemy had
left, moving rapidly westward, and
at the Little Blue striking Blunt's
Kansas division, of which Gen. Curtis
had now assumed command, in such
force as compelled him, aft;er a few
hours' confiict, being flanked, to iall
back to the Big Blue, where he took
up a strong position. Bosecrans, pre-
suming that Curtis could hold his
ground, ordered Pleasanton to send
McNeil, with a brigade only, on the
track of the enemy, and, with his re-
maining cavalry, move southward, to
Lone Jack ; whither Smith, with hifl
infantry, was now hastening from
his fistlse move to Lexington.

These orders seem to have been
contingent, and, at any rate, were
not obeyed. Pleasanton, with all his
cavalry, pressed on the ta'ack of the
flying enemy; reaching the Little
Blue" at 10 a, m., only to find the
bridge destroyed and the enemy's
rear-guard rather stubborn beyond it;
he driving them steadily till nightfall ;
when Independence was taken by
a brilliant cavalry charge — Cuthe^
wood's regiment capturing two guns
— ^Pleasanton following sharply, after
dispatching McNeil, with his brig-
ade, to Little Santa r6, to intercept
the enemy, and tel^raphing Bose-
crans, "Let Smith come to this
place.'* Hereupon, Kosecrans—** re-
luctantly,** as he very naturally says

••Oct 18-19.

^•Oct 18-19.

"Oct 20.

"Got 20, 7 P.M.


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— gave the order solicited; which
reached Smith that night at Chapel
Hill, just as he was putting his col-
umn in motion southward, and sent
it westward instead.

Next mornings Pleasanton pressed
on to the crossing of the Big Blu# ;
where he found the enemy's main
body*— which, the day before, had
fought Curtift, but had not moved
liim — ^prepared for resistance. The
fight opened at 7 a. h., and was
maintained with spirit on both sides
till 1 p. M., when the Rebels de-
camped — were *^ routed and fled
Boutliward," says Rosecrans ; though
they would of course use different
terms in describing the matter. They
went, however, beyond doubt; eagerly
pursued by Pleasanton and Curtis be-
yond Little Santa Fe.

Smith, with 9,000 infantry and five
batteries, reached Independence at 5
p. M. ; when his weary men were
forthwith put in motion for Hick-
man's mills, where it was hoped he
would strike the flank of the flying
foa But it was too late. His false
moves (through no feult of his own) to
Lexington and to Independence, had

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