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[557] thereupon sent to Missouri by Gen. Grant, and traversed the State on a tour of observation; returning strong in the belief that Rosecrans's apprehensions were excessive, and that no more force was needed in this department.

Still, Rosecrans, without encouragement from Washington, prosecuted his investigations; and, upon evidence 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 department headquarters, he arrested the State commander deputy commander, 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, Rosecrans 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 possession of the facts known to him, and which he had dispatched by a trusty hand to Washington. And, that evidence having been received and read by the President, the order of release was countermanded.

The urgent exactions of the public service in other quarters having stripped Missouri of nearly or quite all troops but her own militia, Rosecrans sought and obtained authority to raise ten regiments of twelvemonths' men for the exigency; when a Rebel outbreak occurred1 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 Rebel invasion, whereof Gen. Washburne, commanding at Memphis, gave2 the first distinct warning; apprising Rosecrans that Shelby, then at Batesville, northwestern 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 halted3 at Cairo by order from Halleck, and sent to St. Louis to strengthen Rosecrans.

Price entered south-eastern Missouri by way of Poplar bluffs and Bloomfield; advancing unresisted to Pilot Knob, where he was first withstood4 by a brigade, commanded by Gen. Hugh S. Ewing. Here were Fort Davidson and some other rude works; and Ewing made an obstinate stand, inflicting a loss of not less than 1,000 men on the raiders, while his own was but about 200. Still, 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 assaults — wisely decided not to await inevitable capture, but, spiking his heavy guns and blowing up his magazine, escaped during the night; taking the road westward to Rolla through Caledonia and Webster — his more natural line of retreat on Mineral Point and Potosi being already in the enemy's possession. At Webster, he turned abruptly north, and struck the South-western Railroad at Harrison; having made 66

1 July 7.

2 Sept. 3.

3 Sept. 6.

4 Sept. 27.

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