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[35] with the expected gunboats and transports, had gone down the river barely 24 hours previous. Being short of provisions, in a thoroughly inhospitable country, he had no choice but to make his way to the most accessible point on the Mississippi. This was Helena, 65 miles S. E., which was made1 by Gen. Washburne, with 2,500 cavalry and 5 howitzers, in a march of 24 hours, the infantry coming through during the two following days, bringing about half a regiment of white Arkansas volunteers, with a large number of negroes, who, having been employed to block the roads in our front by felling trees across them, were entitled to liberty and protection under the regnant military policy. A single train of 40 wagons, laden with supplies, being wholly unguarded, was captured by Rebel guerrillas in Missouri, within 30 miles of Rolla, its starting-point.

Gen. John M. Schofield had at an early day2 been placed by Gen. Halleck in command of all the Missouri militia — a force then visible only to the eye of faith. By the middle of April following, he had an array of 13,800 men in the field, mainly cavalry; to which was intrusted the defense of the State, while our other troops were drawn away to Arkansas and the Tennessee. Gen. Curtis's movements eastward toward the Mississippi opened the State to incursions from the Rebels, still in force in western Arkansas; while considerble numbers of Price's men were clandestinely sent home to enlist recruits and organize guerrilla bands for activity during the summer. Schofield persisted in enrolling and organizing militia until he had 50,900 men on his lists, of whom about 30,000 were armed. Upon full consideration, he decided to enroll only loyal men, since passive were often converted into active Rebels by a requirement to serve in the Union forces. He had 20,000 men ready for service, when, late in July, 1862, the tidings of McClellan's disastrous failure before Richmond combined with other influences to fill the interior of the State with formidable bands of Rebel partisans. Of these, Col. Porter's, two or three thousand strong, was attacked3 at Kirksville, Adair County, by Col. John McNeil, with 1,000 cavalry and a battery of 6 guns, and, after a desperate fight of four hours, utterly defeated, with a loss of 180 killed and 500 wounded. Several wagon-loads of arms were among the spoils of victory, and Porter's force was by this defeat practically destroyed. McNeil's loss was reported at 28 killed and 60 wounded.

Four days thereafter, Col. Poindexter's band of about 1,200 Rebels was attacked, while crossing the Chariton river, by Col. Odin Guitar, 9th militia cavalry, 600 men, with 2 guns, and thoroughly routed; many of the Rebels being driven into the river and drowned. “Many horses and arms, and all their spare ammunition and other supplies, were captured.” 4 Poindexter, with what remained of his force, fled northward to join Porter; but was intercepted and driven back by another Union force under Gen. Ben. Loan, and again struck by Guitar; who, in a running fight of nearly 48 hours,

1 July 11.

2 Nov. 27, 1861.

3 Aug 6, 1862.

4 Gen. Schofield's official report.

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