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[262]

The first year of the War in Missouri.

Colonel Thomas L. Snead. 1
South Carolina had just seceded and the whole country was in the wildest excitement when the General Assembly of Missouri met at Jefferson City on the last day of the year 1860. Responding to the recommendations of Governor Jackson and to the manifest will of the people of the State, it forthwith initiated measures for ranging Missouri with the South in the impending conflict. A State Convention was called; bills to organize, arm, and equip the militia were introduced; and the Federal Government was solemnly warned that if it sent an army into South Carolina, or into any other slaveholding State, in order to coerce it to remain in the Union, or to force its people to obey the laws of the United States, “the people of Missouri would instantly rally on the side of such State to resist the invaders at all hazards and to the last extremity.”

The most conspicuous leader of this movement was Claiborne F. Jackson, who had just been inaugurated Governor. He had for many years been one of the foremost leaders of the Democrats of Missouri, and had been elected Governor in August. In the late canvass he had

A very raw recruit.

supported Douglas for President, not because he either liked him or approved his policy on the slavery question, but because Douglas was the choice of the Missouri Democrats, and to have opposed him would have defeated his own election; for in August, 1860, the people of Missouri were sincerely desirous that the questions at issue between the North and the South should be compromised and settled upon some fair basis, and were opposed to the election to the Presidency of any man-whether Lincoln or Breckinridge-whose success might intensify sectional antipathies and imperil the integrity of the Union.

But while loyally supporting the candidacy of Douglas, Jackson abated none of his devotion to the political principles which had been the constant guide of his life. He was a true son of the South, warmly attached to the land that had given him birth, and to her people, who were his own kindred. He was now nearly fifty-five years of age, tall, erect, and good-looking; kindhearted, brave, and courteous; a thoughtful, earnest, upright man; a political leader, but not a soldier.

The Governor urged the people of Missouri to elect to the Convention men who would place Missouri unequivocally on the side of the South. He was [263]

Map of operations in Missouri, 1861.

disappointed. Francis P. Blair, Jr., banded together the unconditional Union men of the State; while the St. Louis Republican, Sterling Price, Hamilton R. Gamble, James S. Rollins, William A. Hall, and John B. Clark consolidated the conservatives, and together these elected on the 18th of February a Convention not one member of which would say that he was in favor of the secession of Missouri. To the courage, moderation, and tact of Francis P. Blair this result was greatly due.

Blair was just forty years of age. His father, the trusted friend of Andrew Jackson, had taken him to Washington City when he was about seven years old, and there he had been bred in politics. In 1843 he had come to St. Louis, where his brother Montgomery was already practicing law. For that profession, to which he too had been educated, Frank had no taste, and, having in it no success, quickly turned his attention to politics. In 1852 he was elected to the Legislature as a Benton Democrat. Shortly afterward he and B. Gratz Brown established the St. Louis Democrat. When the Kansas conflict broke out in 1854, he identified himself with the Free-soil party, and in 1856 supported Fremont for the Presidency, though Senator Benton, Fremont's father-in-law, refused to do this. He was elected to Congress that year, for the first time. In the presidential canvass of 1860 he had been the leader of the Republicans of Missouri, and it was through him chiefly that Lincoln received 17,000 votes in the State. Immediately after the secession of South [264] Carolina, he had begun to organize his adherents as Home Guards and had armed some of them, and was drilling the rest for the field, when the election of delegates to the State Convention took place. To complete the arming of these men was his first aim. In the city of St. Louis the United States had an arsenal within which were more than enough arms for this purpose 60,000 stand of arms and a great abundance of other munitions of war. So long as Buchanan was President, Blair could not get them, but the 4th of March was near at hand and he could well wait till then, for the Southern-rights men had been so demoralized by the defeat which they had sustained in the election of delegates to the Convention, that they were in no condition to attack the arsenal, as they had intended to do if the election had gone in their favor. It was, indeed, more than a month after the inauguration of Lincoln before the Southern-rights men ventured to make any move in that direction. The Governor then came to St. Louis to concert with General D. M. Frost (who commanded a small brigade of volunteer militia) measures for seizing the arsenal in the name of the State. While the matter was still under consideration the bombardment of Fort Sumter took place, and the President called for 75,000 troops to support the Government. To his call upon Missouri for her quota of such troops, the Governor replied that the requisition was, in his opinion, “illegal, unconstitutional, and revolutionary in its object, inhuman and diabolical,” and that Missouri would not furnish one man “to carry on such an unholy crusade.”

Governor Claiborne F. Jackson. From a photograph.

A few days later he convened the General Assembly, to adopt measures for the defense of the State.

In the consultation with Frost it had been decided that the Governor, in pursuance of an existing law of the State, should order all its militia into encampment for the purpose of drill and discipline; and that, under cover of this order, Frost should camp his brigade upon the hills adjacent to and commanding the arsenal, so that when the opportunity occurred he might seize it and all its stores. A great difficulty in the way of the execution of this plan was the want of siege-guns and mortars. To remove this difficulty the Governor sent Captains Colton Greene and Basil W. Duke to Montgomery, Alabama, and Judge Cooke to Virginia to obtain these things By Mr. Davis's order the arms were turned over to Duke and Greene at Baton Rouge, and were by them taken to St. Louis. Before they arrived there, however, the scheme to seize the arsenal had been completely frustrated by its commandant, Captain Nathaniel Lyon, who distributed a part of the [265] coveted arms to Blair's Home Guards and removed the rest to Illinois, and then occupied with his own troops the hills around the arsenal. Frost consequently established Camp Jackson in a grove in the western part of the city, remote from the arsenal, and was drilling and disciplining his men there in conformity to the laws of the State and under the flag of the Union, when Jefferson Davis's gift to Missouri was taken into the camp.

Blair and Lyon, to whom every detail of the Governor's scheme had been made known, had been waiting for this opportunity. They had made up their minds to capture the camp and to hold the officers and men as prisoners of war. Frost went into camp on the 6th of May. The arms from the Confederacy were taken thither on the 8th. On Saturday, the 11th, the camp was to break up. Lyon had no time to lose. On Thursday he attired himself in a dress and shawl and other apparel of Blair's mother-in-law, Mrs. Alexander, and having completed his disguise by hiding his red beard and weather-beaten

Brigadier-General D. M. Frost, C. S. A. From a photograph.

features under a thickly veiled sun-bonnet, took on his arm a basket, filled, not with eggs, but with loaded revolvers, got into a barouche belonging to Blair's brother-in-law, Franklin A. Dick, and was driven out to Camp Jackson and through it. Returning to the city, he called the Union Safety Committee together, and informed them that he intended to capture the camp the next day. Some of the committee objected, but Blair and James O. Broadhead sustained him, and he ordered his men to be in readiness to move in the morning. Just as they were about to march, Colonel John S. Bowen came to Lyon with a protest from Frost. Lyon refused to receive it, and, marching out to the camp with about 7000 men, surrounded it and demanded its surrender. Frost, who had only 635 men, was obliged to comply.

While the surrender was taking place a great crowd of people, among whom were U. S. Grant and W. T. Sherman, hurried to the scene. Most of the crowd sympathized with the prisoners, and some gave expression to their indignation. One of Lyon's German regiments thereupon opened fire upon them, and twenty-eight men, women, and children were killed. The prisoners were then marched to the arsenal, and paroled the next day.

The capture of Camp Jackson and the bloody scenes that followed — the shooting down then and the next day of unoffending men, women, and children — aroused the State. 2 The General Assembly, which had reconvened in extra session, enacted instantly a law for organizing, arming, and [266] equipping the Missouri State Guard, created a military fund, and conferred dictatorial power upon the Governor.

Hardly less important than these things — for it was what gave effect to them all — was the fact that the capture of the camp caused ex-Governor Sterling Price, President of the State Convention, and up to that time a Union man, to tender his services to the Governor. The General Assembly forthwith authorized the Governor to appoint a major-general to command all the forces which the State might put into the field, and Price was appointed to that position. 3

In the Convention Price had been opposed under all circumstances to the secession of Missouri, but just as earnestly opposed to the invasion and conquest of the South by the Federal Government. To that position he still adhered even when Mr. Lincoln, after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, had called for troops with which to repossess the Federal forts and enforce the laws of the Union within the seceded States. But considering Lyon's attack upon the State militia and his killing peaceable citizens an “unparalleled insult and wrong to the State,” he believed it was the duty of Missouri to resent such wrongs.

The State now sprang to arms. Volunteers began to crowd the streets of Jefferson City, and everything indicated the opening of hostilities. Blair and Lyon would have met these demonstrations with force, would have driven Jackson and Price from the capital, would have dispersed the militia wherever it dared to show itself, would have occupied the State with Federal garrisons, and would have held her in unresisting obedience to the Union; but, unfortunately for the execution of their plans, General William S. Harney, who commanded the Military Department of the West, of which Missouri was part, had returned to St. Louis the day after the capture of Camp Jackson, and had resumed command there. Instead of using force Harney used conciliation. Instead of making war he made a truce with Price.

Blair now caused Harney to be relieved of the command of the Federal troops in Missouri, and on the 31st of May he was superseded by Lyon. As soon as this was made known to the Governor and General Price, they ordered the militia to be gotten in readiness for the field, for they knew that [267]

Fac-Simile of War Scrip issued by the Confederate Legislature of Missouri.

Blair and Lyon would quickly attack them. Some well-meaning gentlemen, who vainly imagined that Missouri could maintain her neutrality in the midst of war, now sought to establish a truce between Price and Lyon. Through them a conference was agreed upon, and the Governor and General Price came to St. Louis under Lyon's safe conduct. They met him and Blair at the Planters' House. Lyon was accompanied by his aide-de-camp, Major Horace A. Conant, and I was present as the Governor's aide. The interview, which lasted several hours, was at last terminated by Lyon's saying that he would see every man, woman, and child in Missouri under the sod before he would consent that the State should dictate to “his Government” as to the movement of its troops within her limits, or as to any other matter however unimportant. “This,” said he, “means war. One of my officers will conduct you out of my lines in an hour.” So saying, he left without another word, without even a salutation.

He had hardly left us when he was issuing orders for the movement of his troops. Sweeny and Sigel were sent with about 3000 men to the south-west to intercept the retreat of Jackson and Price if they should undertake to effect a junction with General Ben. McCulloch, who was believed to be concentrating a Confederate army in north-western Arkansas for the invasion of Missouri. Lyon would himself move up the Missouri after Jackson.

The conference was held on the 11th of June. On the 13th Lyon was on his way to Jefferson City with about 2000 men. Arriving there the next day, he found that the Governor had fled to Boonville. Leaving a garrison at Jefferson City, he pushed on to Boonville, where some 1,300 militia had rendezvoused. Attacking these on the 17th, he dispersed them and drove the Governor southward with some two or three hundred men who still adhered to him and to the cause which he represented. General Price had meanwhile gone to Lexington, where several thousand militia had assembled.

From a military standpoint the affair at Boonville was a very insignificant thing, but it did in fact deal a stunning blow to the Southern-rights men of [268] Missouri, and one which weakened the Confederacy during all of its brief existence. It was indeed the consummation of Blair's statesmanlike scheme to make it impossible for Missouri to secede, or out of her great resources to contribute liberally of men and material to the South, as she would have done could her people have had their own way. It was also the most brilliant achievement of Lyon's well-conceived campaign. The capture of Camp Jackson had disarmed the State, and completed the conquest of St. Louis and all the adjacent counties. The advance upon Jefferson City had put the State government to flight and taken away from the Governor the prestige which sustains established and acknowledged authority. The dispersion of the volunteers that were flocking to Boonville to fight under Price for Missouri and the South extended Lyon's conquest at once to the borders of Iowa, closed all the avenues by which the Southern men of North Missouri could get to Price and Jackson, made the Missouri River a Federal highway from its source to its mouth, and put an end to Price's hope of holding the rich and friendly counties in the vicinity of Lexington till the Confederacy could send an army to his support, and arms and supplies for the men whom he was concentrating there.

Price had, indeed, no alternative now but to retreat in all haste to the south-western part of the State, so as to organize his army within supporting distance of the force which McCulloch was assembling in western Arkansas for the protection of that State and the Indian Territory. He accordingly ordered Brigadier-General James S. Rains to take command of the militia at and near Lexington, and to move southward so as to effect a junction with the Governor in the vicinity of Lamar, toward which place the latter was retreating with Generals M. M. Parsons and John B. Clark and what was left of their commands. General Price himself, accompanied by his staff and a small escort, hastened rapidly toward Arkansas in order to bring McCulloch to the rescue of both the Governor and Rains. On the way he was joined, almost daily, by squads or companies, and by the time he reached Cowskin Prairie, in the extreme south-western corner of the State, he had collected about 1,200 men.

On the 3d of July Rains reached Lamar, near which place the Governor and his followers were already encamped. The combined force amounted to about 6000 men, of whom 4000 were armed, and they had seven pieces of artillery. Halting until the 5th in order to rest and organize, they pushed on that morning toward Carthage, having heard that a Federal force had occupied that place, which lay in their line of retreat. They had marched but a few miles when, as they were passing through the open prairie, they descried, some three miles away, on the declivity of a hill over which they had themselves to pass, a long line of soldiers with glistening bayonets and bright guns. These were part of the force which Lyon, on marching against Jefferson City, had sent under General Sweeny and Colonel Sigel to the south-west to intercept the Governor's retreat toward Arkansas. Sigel, in executing this plan, had first attempted to intercept Price. Failing in that, he had now, with more boldness than discretion, thrown himself, with about 1,100 [269] men and eight pieces of artillery, in front of the Governor, hoping either to defeat him or to hold him in check till Lyon could arrive and destroy him. Halting his column in the prairie, and deploying his armed men (about 4000), the Governor awaited Sigel's attack. The fight (known as the battle of Carthage) did not last long, for Sigel was outnumbered four to one, and the Missourians quickly put him to flight. He retreated, however, in perfect order, carrying off almost everything that he had brought with him. But he did not stop running till he had made forty miles. That night the State troops rested in Carthage. The next day they resumed their southward march, and soon met Price and McCulloch. Price now assumed command of the Missourians and led them to Cowskin Prairie, in the south-western corner of the State, while McCulloch went into camp near Maysville in Arkansas.

Lyon left Boonville in pursuit of the Governor, on the 3d of July, with about 2350 men, and directed his course toward Clinton in Henry county, where he had ordered Major Sturgis, who was following Rains with about 2500 regulars and Kansas troops, to unite with him. The two columns came together near Clinton on the 7th of July and pushed on after the Missourians. Lyon did not learn till the 9th that they had defeated Sigel and effected a junction with McCulloch. He then made in all haste for Springfield, fearing that the Confederates would attack that place. Arriving there on the 13th of July, he made it his headquarters.

Lyon, on the one hand, and Price on the other now began to get their armies in readiness for active operations. For Lyon this was a simple undertaking; for Price it was one of great complexity and great difficulty. Of the 7000 or 8000 men that he had, only a few had been organized into regiments. Several thousand of them had no arms of any kind. The rest were for the most part armed with the shot-guns and rifles which they had brought from their homes. Of powder and lead they had an abundance, but no fixed ammunition for either their seven pieces of artillery or for their small-arms. Tents they had none, nor camp equipage of any kind. There were no quartermasters' supplies, nor subsistence; and neither the quartermaster-general nor the chief commissary had a dollar of funds. The men were not fighting for pay, they wanted none, nor did they get any; but they and their thousands of horses and mules had to be fed. For their animals there was nothing but the grass of the prairies, and for themselves nothing but a scant supply of lean beef and coarse corn-meal. There were enough good officers to organize and command the men; but it would have puzzled almost any one to drill a company of raw recruits, armed, some with shot-guns, some with rifles, a few with old-fashioned flint-lock muskets, and here and there a man with a percussion musket. No better proof could be given of the dearth of material for the Staff, than the fact that I was myself assigned to duty by General Price as chief of ordnance of the army, though I told him at the time that I did not know the difference between a howitzer and a siege-gun, and had never seen a musket-cartridge in all my life; and a few days later I was assigned to the still more important position of acting Adjutant-General of [270] the State Guard, though I had never then heard of a “morning report,” and did not know the right of a company from its left. Had Hardee or any other West Pointer been in command, he would have kept us in camp six months, drilling and disciplining us, getting together wagons and teams, tents and cartridge-boxes, uniforms and haversacks, quartermasters and red tape, and all the other equipments and impedimenta of an army in the field, and then we would have gone into winter quarters; Lyon would have had his own way in Missouri, and the Federal armies that were sent thither to whip us would have been sent to fight in Virginia or in Tennessee instead, and the Confederacy might have been vanquished sooner than it was. But Price had us all ready for the field in less than three weeks. We had no tents, it is true, but tents would only have been in our way; we had no uniforms, but a bit of flannel or calico fastened to the shoulder of an officer designated his rank sufficiently for all practical purposes; the ripening corn-fields were our depots of subsistence; the prairies furnished forage, and the people in defense of whose homes we were eager to fight gladly gave us of all their stores.

McCulloch, one of the bravest of men and best of scouts, looking at us through the eyes of the young army officers whom Mr. Davis had sent to teach him how to organize, equip, and fight an army scientifically, saw in the Missourians nothing but a half-armed mob, led by an ignorant old militia general, but he consented to go with Price in search of Lyon, who was at Springfield and not hard to find. General N. B. Pearce, commanding a brigade of Arkansas State troops, agreed to go along with them.

Hardee, who was at Pitman's Ferry, Arkansas, within a few hundred yards of the Missouri line, and almost as near to Springfield as were Price and McCulloch, and who had with him several thousand good soldiers, was begged by both Price and McCulloch to cooperate in the movement against Lyon, but he replied that he “did not wish to march to their assistance with less than 5000 men, well appointed, and a full complement of artillery”!

By order of General Polk, made at the earnest personal solicitation of Governor Jackson, who had gone to Memphis for that purpose, General Pillow moved into Missouri from Tennessee, with twelve thousand men, and occupied New Madrid on the 28th of July, with the intent to unite in the effort to repossess the State.

On the same day, Price, McCulloch, and Pearce, relying upon the cooperation of both Hardee and Pillow, concentrated their forces at Cassville, within about fifty miles of Springfield. There Price was reinforced by General McBride's command, consisting of two regiments of foot and three companies of mounted men, about 700 in all. They had come from the hill country lying to the south and south-east of Springfield, and were a unique body of soldiers. Very few of the officers had any knowledge whatever of military principles or practices, and only the most superficial experience in company tactics. The staff was composed chiefly of country lawyers who took the ways of the court-room with them into the field. Colonels could not drill their regiments, nor captains their companies; a drum and a fife — the only ones in the entire command-sounded all the calls, [271] and companies were paraded by the sergeant's calling out, “Oh, yes! Oh, yes! all you who belong to Captain Brown's company fall in here.” Officers and men messed together, and all approached McBride without a salute, lounged around his quarters, listened to all that was said, and when they spoke to him called him “Jedge.” Their only arms were the rifles with which they hunted the squirrels and other small game that abounded in their woods, but these they knew how to use. A powder-horn, a cap-pouch, “a string of patchin‘,” and a hunter's knife completed their equipment. I doubt whether among them all there was a man that had ever seen a piece of artillery. But, for all this, they were brave and intelligent. Like all frontiersmen, they were shrewd, quick-witted, wary, cunning, and ready for all emergencies, and like all backwoodsmen, their courage was serene, steady, unconscious. While there was no attempt at military discipline, and no pretense of it, the most perfect order was maintained by McBride's mere force of character, by his great good sense, and by the kindness with which he exercised his patriarchal authority.

Leaving Cassville on the 31st of July, the combined Southern armies, nearly 11,000 strong, advanced toward Springfield. On the way they encountered Lyon, who had come out to meet them. McCulloch, who could not comprehend the Missourians or the able soldier who commanded them, refused to attack unless Price and Pearce would confer upon him the chief command. Price had been a brigadier-general in Mexico, when McCulloch was but a captain of scouts, and had won more battles there than McCulloch had ever witnessed; he was now a major-general with more than 5000 men, and McCulloch had barely 3000; and in intellect, in experience, and in generalship he was worth a dozen McCullochs; nevertheless, he cheerfully placed himself and his army under the Texan's command. The order to advance was then given. Lyon had been encamped six miles in front with between 5000 and 6000 men. McCulloch moved at midnight, hoping to fall upon him unexpectedly, and to defeat him. To his amazement he learned, on approaching the spot, that Lyon had left twenty hours before, and must now be almost in sight of Springfield. The Confederates kept on, and on the 6th of August went into camp on Wilson's Creek, within ten miles of Springfield. They were still lying there on the morning of the 10th of August, when they were surprised and suddenly attacked on the north by Lyon, and on the south by Sigel.4

One of the stubbornest and bloodiest battles of the war now took place. Lyon's main attack was met by Price with about 3200 Missourians, and Churchill's regiment and Woodruff's battery, both from Arkansas. His left was met and driven back by McIntosh with a part of McCulloch's brigade (the Third Louisiana and McIntosh's regiment). McCulloch then took some companies of the Third Louisiana and parts of other commands, and with them attacked and routed Sigel (who had been sent to attack the rear), capturing five of his guns. This done, Pearce's Arkansas brigade, which up to this time had not fired a gun, was sent to reinforce Price. Lyon, seeing that [272]

Major-General Sterling Price, C. S. A. From a photograph.

the supreme moment had come, and that the day would be surely lost if he did not overwhelm Price before the Arkansans could reinforce him, now brought forward every available man, and was putting them into the fight, when his horse was killed, and himself wounded in the head. Dazed by the blow, dazed and stunned, his heart gave way for a moment under the sudden shock, but quickly coming to his senses he mounted another horse, and, swinging his hat in the air, called on his men to follow. Closing around him they dashed with him into the thick of the fight. But a moment later a bullet pierced his heart, and he fell from his horse into the arms of his orderly, and in an instant was dead. It was vain that the Federals tried to prolong the battle. Sturgis, on whom the command devolved, ordered a retreat, and before the Confederates knew that the battle was ended he was a mile away, having withdrawn his men unseen through the dense undergrowth of the woods in which the battle mainly was fought. In the [273] haste of their retreat, the Federals left Lyon's dead body on the field. I delivered it myself an hour or two later to a flag-of-truce party that had been sent to ask for it. I saw it again the next day in Springfield, where it had been again abandoned by his men. [See foot-note, page 297.] Rarely have I met so extraordinary a man as Lyon, or one that has interested me so deeply. Coming to St. Louis from Kansas on the 6th of February, this mere captain of infantry, this little, rough-visaged, red-bearded, weather-beaten Connecticut captain, by his intelligence, his ability, his energy, and his zeal, had at once acquired the confidence of all the Union men of Missouri, and had made himself respected, if not feared, by his enemies. In less than five months he had risen to the command of the Union armies in Missouri, had dispersed the State government, had driven the Governor and his adherents into the extremest corner of the State, had almost conquered the State, and would have completely conquered it had he been supported by his Government; and now he had given his life willingly for the Union which he revered, and to the cause of Human Freedom to which he was fanatically devoted. The Federal force in the battle amounted to about 5400 officers and men. The Confederates had over 10,000 armed men on the ground, but 3000 of them took little or no part in the fight. The Confederates lost 279 killed and 951 wounded. The Federal loss was 258 killed, 873 wounded, and 186 captured or missing.

McCulloch refused to pursue, and Price resumed command of the Missouri troops. The next day he took possession of Springfield, and sent Rains with a mounted force to clear the western counties of the State of the marauding bands that had come into them from Kansas. On the 25th of August he moved northward with his army. On the 2(1 of September he met a part of Lane's Kansas Brigade under Colonel Montgomery on the banks of the Big Dry Wood. Montgomery had about 500 men and gave battle, but was forced to retreat before Price's superior force. The loss on either side was trifling.

Price now hastened toward Lexington, joined at every step by recruits. Reaching the city on the 12th of September with his mounted men, he drove Colonel Mulligan within his intrenchments, and as soon as his main body came up, completed the investment of the place. On the 20th he caused a number of hemp-bales saturated with water to be rolled to the front and converted them into movable breastworks, behind which his men advanced unharmed against the enemy. Colonel Mulligan was forced to surrender the next day. Price's loss was 25 killed and 72 wounded. Fremont reported to the War Department that the Union loss was 39 killed and 120 wounded. The Missourians captured about 3500 prisoners, five pieces of artillery, two mortars, 3000 stand of small-arms, a large number of sabers, about 750 horses, many sets of cavalry equipments, ammunition, many wagons and teams, more than $100,000 worth of commissary stores, and a large amount of other property. Price also recovered $900,000 that had been taken by the enemy from the Bank at Lexington, and restored it to the Bank. His force. amounted to about 18,000 men, Mulligan's to about 3600. [274]

In order to obtain the cooperation of the Confederate armies, the Governor and General Price sent me to Richmond, after the capture of Lexington, as a special commissioner to explain to President Davis the condition of affairs in Missouri, and to negotiate a treaty of alliance with the Confederate States, inasmuch as Missouri had not seceded nor been admitted into the Confederacy. By their direction I went by way of McCulloch's headquarters, in order to make one more effort to secure his cooperation, and failing in that, to get from him certain supplies which General Price greatly needed, particularly caps for the muskets which we had captured at Lexington. To all my entreaties McCulloch replied that Price had gone to the Missouri against his advice; that the movement was unwise and would result in disaster, and that he would not endanger his own army by going to his assistance; and that as for musket-caps, he had none to spare.

General John C. Fremont, who had assumed command of the Union armies in the West on the 25th of July,

Major-General David Hunter. From a photograph.

now began to concentrate his forces against Price. Sending about 40,000 men, with 100 pieces of artillery, to attack him in front, and others to cut off his retreat, he took the field himself. His plan was magnificent — to capture or disperse Price's army; march to Little Rock and occupy the place; turn the Confederates under Polk, Pillow, Thompson, and Hardee, and compel them to fall back southward; push on to Memphis with his army and Foote's flotilla; capture that city; and then make straight for New Orleans.

Price left Lexington on the 29th of September, after advising his unarmed men to return to their homes, and to wait for a more convenient time to rise. Marching as rapidly as his long train would permit, he reached the Osage on the 8th of October with about 7000 men. To cross his troops and trains over that difficult river on a single flat-boat was a tedious operation, but Fremont gave him all the time that he needed, and he got them safely over.

After crossing the Osage, Price marched quickly to Neosho, where the General Assembly had been summoned by Governor Jackson to meet. Fremont continued to follow till the 2d of November, when he was superseded by Major-General David Hunter, who immediately stopped the pursuit and turned the army back to St. Louis. On the 19th of November Major-General Halleck assumed command of the Federal Department.

When I returned from Richmond, Price had gone into winter quarters on the Sac River near Osceola. Many of his men had been furloughed so that they might go to their homes, where they could subsist themselves during [275] the winter and provide for their families. McCulloch's brigade was on the Arkansas River, and Pearce's had been disbanded. Under the treaty which had been negotiated at Richmond, the enlistment of Missourians in the Confederate army was at once begun and was continued at Springfield, whither Price moved his army just before Christmas. Before the end of January, 1862, two regiments of infantry (Burbridge's and Rives's), one regiment of cavalry (Gates's), and two batteries (Wade's and Clark's) had been mustered into the Confederate service, and on the 28th I started to Richmond to deliver the muster-rolls to the Secretary of War, and to inform the President as to the strength and condition of the army in Missouri, and to communicate to him Price's views as to the future conduct of the war in that State.

On the way I met Major-General Earl Van Dorn at Jacksonport in Arkansas. He had just assumed command (January 29th) of the District of the Trans-Mississippi, constituting a part of General Albert Sidney Johnston's extensive department. He was a dashing soldier, and a very handsome man, and his manners were graceful and fascinating. He was slight of stature and his features were almost too delicately refined for a soldier, but this defect, if it was a defect, was converted into a charm by the martial aspect of his mustache and imperial, and by an exuberant growth of brownish hair. Quitting the United States army when Mississippi seceded, he first entered her service, and was afterward appointed to that of the Confederacy and placed in command of Texas. Transferred thence to Virginia in September, 1861, he was commissioned major-general and ordered to report to General J. E. Johnston, commanding the Army of the Potomac. Johnston ordered him to Beauregard, and Beauregard assigned him to the command of a division, October 4th, 1861. He was assigned to the command of the Trans-Mississippi District, January 10th, 1862. We Missourians were delighted; for he was known to be a fighting man, and we felt sure he would help us to regain our State. I explained to him the condition of affairs in Missouri, and General Price's views.

Van Dorn had already decided upon a plan of campaign, and in execution of it ordered General Albert Pike, a few days afterward, to Lawrence county, Missouri, with a mixed command of whites and Indians estimated at 7000 men; ordered McIntosh to report to Price at Springfield with McCulloch's infantry; ordered McCulloch to Pocahontas with his mounted men; and called upon Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas to send reinforcements. Hopeful and enthusiastic by nature, he believed that Price would have 15,000 effective men at Springfield by the last of March, and himself 18,000 at Pocahontas, and that they could then march against St. Louis. The two columns were to effect a junction north of Ironton, and, moving thence rapidly without tents or baggage, take the city by assault. Possession of the city would give him possession of the State, and the enemy would supply the arms for the thousands of volunteers that would flock to his standard.

From this day-dream he was rudely awakened a few days later by news that Price had been driven from Springfield on the 12th of February, and was hotly pursued by a Federal army which Halleck had sent against him under General S. R. Curtis. With this army was Captain P. H. Sheridan, doing duty [276]

Major-General Henry W. Halleck. From a photograph.

as quartermaster. Price sought refuge in the mountains of Arkansas, and February 21st was within thirty miles of Van Buren, near which place was McCulloch.

On learning all this Van Dorn hastened to Van Buren and thence to Price's headquarters, which he reached on the 1st of March. After a hurried consultation with Price and McCulloch, he decided to instantly attack Curtis, who had taken a strong position among the mountains near Bentonville. He moved on the 4th of March with about 16,000 men, of whom 6800 were Missourians under Price, and the rest Confederates under McCulloch and Pike. When almost within reach of Curtis (who reported his own strength at 10,500 infantry and cavalry and forty-nine pieces of artillery) Van Dorn unwisely divided his army, and leaving McCulloch with his own command and Pike's to attack Curtis in front, himself made with Price and the Missourians a long circuit to the rear of Curtis, and out of communication with McCulloch. Both columns attacked about the same time on the 7th. Price was completely successful and carried everything before him, taking during [277] the afternoon seven pieces of cannon and about 200 prisoners, and at night bivouacked near Elkhorn Tavern. But morning revealed the enemy in a new and strong position, their forces united and offering battle. The Confederates soon learned that McCulloch and McIntosh had been killed the day before and their force routed and dispersed. The battle was renewed nevertheless, and the Missourians fought desperately and were still holding their ground when about 10 o'clock Van Dorn ordered a retreat, and the army leaving Missouri to her fate began to fall back toward Van Buren.

In this battle, sometimes called the battle of Pea Ridge, and at other times the battle of Elkhorn, the Federal general reported his losses at 203 killed, 980 wounded, and 201 missing. Van Dorn's were probably greater, and he lost heavily in good officers. McCulloch and McIntosh were killed; General Price was again wounded and narrowly escaped death; General W. Y. Slack, whom his men idolized and whom the whole army held in honor, was fatally wounded; and Colonel B. A. Rives, one of the knightliest of soldiers and bravest of gentlemen, and Churchill Clark, a heroic boy, were killed.

Halleck, who had determined to make the Tennessee “the great strategic line of the Western campaign,” now began to concentrate all of his forces on that river and the Mississippi, in order “to fight a great battle on the Tennessee,” one which would “settle the campaign in the West.” He consequently ordered Curtis not to advance any farther into Arkansas; and sent out of Missouri all the troops that could be safely taken thence, some of them to Pope on the Mississippi, and others to Grant on the Tennessee.

The concentration of Federal armies on the Mississippi portended such danger to Beauregard, who had lately assumed command of the defenses of that river, that General Albert Sidney Johnston ordered Van Dorn to move his army to within supporting distance of Beauregard. This Van Dorn began to do on the 17th of March, on which day he wrote to General Johnston that he would soon “relieve Beauregard by giving battle to the enemy near New Madrid,” or, by marching “boldly and rapidly toward St. Louis, between Ironton and the enemy's grand depot at Rolla.”

While he was executing this plan, and while the greater part of the army that had survived Elkhorn was on the march across the mountains of North Arkansas toward Jacksonport, Van Dorn was suddenly ordered by General Johnston on the 23d of March to move his entire command by “the best and most expeditious route” to Memphis. His forces, to which he had given the name of “the Army of the West,” were accordingly concentrated in all haste at Des Are, on the White River, whence they were to take boats for Memphis. The first division of this army, to the command of which General Price had been assigned, was the first to move, Little's Missouri Brigade embarking on the 8th of April for Memphis, just as Pope was taking possession of Island No.10, and Beauregard was leading Johnston's army back to Corinth from the fateful field of Shiloh.

1 Colonel Snead was at different times aide-de-camp to Governor Jackson, acting Adjutant-General of the Missouri State Guard, Chief-of-Staff of the Army of the West, and member of the Confederate Congress. He was made by General Price the custodian of his private and official papers.-editors.

2 Lyon officially states that on both days the firing was in response to attacks by mobs.--editors.

3 Born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, in 1809, Price was now fifty-one years of age. He had been carefully educated in the schools of his native State and at Hampden-Sidney College, and had afterward attended the Law School of one of the most eminent jurists of Virginia, the venerable Chancellor Creed Taylor. He removed with his fathers family to Chariton County, Missouri, in 1831, and had resided there ever since. Elected to the Legislature in 1840, he was at once chosen Speaker of the House, an honor rarely conferred upon so young a man, and particularly upon one who had never before been a member of a deliberative assembly. But he was preeminently fitted for the position. Well born and well bred, courteous and dignified, well educated, and richly endowed with that highest of all mental faculties, common sense; tall, straight, handsome, and of a commanding presence,--he was also a parliamentarian by instinct, understood intuitively the rules that govern deliberative bodies, and knew how to enforce them with promptness and vigor. He occupied this position till 1844, and was then elected to Congress. He took his seat in December, 1845; but when the war with Mexico broke out, a few months later, he left Congress, returned to Missouri, raised a regiment and led it to New Mexico, where he was placed in command. For his good conduct and gallantry in several battles that he fought and won there, and in recognition of the military and civic ability which he displayed in completing the conquest of that part of the Mexican territory, he was appointed brigadier-general by President Polk. In 1852 he was elected Governor of Missouri, and he held that office till the beginning of 1857.-T. L. S.

4 For maps and more specific descriptions of the three chief engagements of this “first year,”--Wilson's Creek, Lexington, and Pea Ridge,--see the papers by Generals Pearce and Wherry, Colonel Mulligan, and General Sigel, to follow.-editors.

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