- Price returns to Missouri -- guerrilla operations -- Rains and Stein routed -- capture of Milford -- Price retreats to Arkansas -- Sigel's retreat from Bentonville -- battle of Pea Ridge -- Rebels defeated -- the War among the Indians -- fight at the Cache -- guerrilla operations -- fight at Newtonia -- Hindman driven into Arkansas -- Cooper routed at Maysville -- battle of Prairie Grove.
Gen. Sterling Price was a good deal less indignant than any Unionist at the unaccountable desertion1 of south-western Missouri by the new Union commander, directly on the heels of Fremont's triumphant and unresisted advance, when assured that his scouts were not mistaken in reporting the evacuation of Spring-field and retreat to Rolla, by an army which he would not have dared to attack. He gradually retraced his steps from the Arkansas border, entering Springfield in triumph, and subsequently advancing to Osceola, on the Osage, thence pushing forward his forces unresisted over the greater part of southern and western Missouri, occupying in force Lexington and other points on the great river, where Slavery and Rebellion were strong, and subsisting his army on the State from which they might and should have been excluded. The village of Warsaw was burned,2 and Platte City partially so,3 by Rebel incendiaries or guerrillas; and there were insignificant combats at Salem,4 Rogers' Mill,5 near Glasgow, Potosi, Lexington, Mount Zion,6 near Sturgeon, and some other points, at which the preponderance of advantage was generally on the side of the Unionists. Even in North Missouri, nearly a hundred miles of the railroad crossing that section was disabled and in good part destroyed7 by a concerted night foray of guerrillas. Gen. Halleck thereupon issued an order, threatening to shoot any Rebel caught bridge-burning within the Union lines — a threat which the guerrillas habitually defied, and President Lincoln declined to make good. Gen. John Pope, commanding the district of Central Missouri, having collected and equipped an adequate force, at length demonstrated8 against the Rebels occupying Lexington, under Rains and Stein, compelling them to abandon the line of the Missouri, and retreat southward. Having, by forced marches and his strength in cavalry, gained a position between them and their base at Osceola, he forced them to a hurried flight, with the loss of nearly 300 prisoners and most of their baggage, including 70 wagons laden with clothing and supplies for Price, who lay at Osceola with 8,000 men. Meantime, a detachment of Pope's forces, under Col. Jeff. C. Davis, surprised9 a Rebel camp at Milford, not far from Warrensburg, and compelled its surrender at discretion. Three colonels, 17 captains, over 1,000 prisoners, 1,000 stand of arms, 1,000 horses, and an abundance of tents, baggage, and supplies, were among the trophies of this easy triumph. Pope's losses in these operations scarcely exceeded 100 men; while his prisoners alone were said to be 2,500. Among them was Col. Magoffin, brother of the late Governor of Kentucky.