previous next
[592] is 2,000 strong, and you are 300. If any of you would turn back, you can do so now.

Not a man stepped from the ranks. He then added:

I will lead you. Let the watchword be, “The Union and Fremont!” Draw sabers! By the right flank — quick trot--march!

With a ringing shout, tile thin battalion dashed eagerly forward.

A miry brook, a stout rail-fence, a narrow lane, with sharpshooters judiciously posted behind fences and trees — such were the obstacles to be overcome before getting at the enemy. A fence must be taken down, the lane traversed, the sharpshooters defied, before a blow could be struck. All was the work of a moment; but when that moment had passed, seventy of their number were stretched dead or writhing on the ground. Maj. Dorsheimer, an Aid to Fremont, who came up soon after, thus describes the close of the fight:

The remnant of the Guard are now in the field under the hill; and, from the shape of the ground, the Rebel fire sweeps with the roar of a whirlwind over their heads. A line of fire upon the summit marks the position of the Rebel infantry; while nearer, and on the top of a lower eminence to the right, stand their horse. Up to this time, no guardsman has struck a blow, but blue coats and bay horses lie thick along the bloody lane. Their time has come. Lieut. Maythenyi, with 30 men, is ordered to attack the cavalry. With sabers flashing over their heads, the little band of heroes spring toward their tremendous foe. Right upon the center they charge. The dense mass opens, the blue-coats force their way in, and the whole Rebel squadron scatter in disgraceful flight through the cornfields in the rear. The boys follow them, sabering the fugitives. Days afterward, the enemy's horse lay thick among the uncut corn.

Zagonyi holds his main body until Maythenyi disappears in the cloud of Rebel cavalry; then his voice rises through the air. “In open order-charge!” The line opens out to give play to their sword-arm. Steeds respond to the ardor of their riders; and, quick as thought, with thrilling cheers, the noble hearts rush into the leaden torrent which pours down the incline. With unabated fire, the gallant fellows press through. The fierce onset is not even checked. The foe do not wait for them — they waver, break, and fly. The guardsmen spur into the midst of the rout, and their fast-falling swords work a terrible revenge. Some of the boldest of the Southrons retreat into the woods, and continue a murderous fire from behind trees and thickets. Seven guard horses fall upon a space not more than twenty feet square. As his steed sinks under him, one of the officers is caught around the shoulders by a grape-vine, and hangs dangling in the air until he is cut down by his friends. The Rebel foot are flying in furious haste from the field. Some take refuge in the fair-ground; some hurry into the cornfields; but the greater part run along the edge of the wood, swarm over the fence into the road, and hasten to the village. The guardsmen follow. Zagonyi leads them. Over the loudest roar of battle rings his clarion voice--“Come on, Old Kentuck!1 I'm with you!” and the flash of his sword-blade tells his men where to go. As he approaches a barn, a man steps from behind the door and lowers his rifle; but, before it has reached a level, Zagonyi's saber-point descends upon his head, and his life-blood leaps to the very top of the huge barn-door.

The conflict now rages through the village village — in the public square, and along the streets. Up and down, the Guards ride in squads of three or four, and, wherever they see a group of the enemy, charge upon and scatter them. It is bland to hand. No one but has a share in the fray.

Zagonyi wisely evacuated the town at night-fall, knowing that by night he was at the mercy of the Rebels, if they should muster courage to return and attack him. Of his 300 men 84 were dead or wounded.

Maj. White, who had escaped from his captors, taking captive in turn their leader arrived next morning, at the head of a score of improvised Home Guards, to find himself “monarch of all he surveyed.” He had 24 men, of whom he stationed 22 as pickets on the outskirts, and held the balance in reserve. At noon, he received

1 Of tho Guard, 100 were Kentuckians.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Zagonyi (4)
Maythenyi (2)
J. C. Fremont (2)
Frank J. White (1)
Dorsheimer (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: