Doc. 133.-attack on Forsythe, Missouri, July 22, 1861.
Springfield, Mo., Wednesday, July 24, 1861.Last Saturday 1,200 men were detailed, under Gen. Sweeney, to break up a secession camp located at Forsythe — a point about fifty miles south of this, and situated at or near the foot of the Ozark Mountains. Monday, at starting, we were thirty miles from Forsythe, having only made twenty miles in the two days previous, owing to heavy rains and the consequent almost impassable character of the mountain roads. However, the day was cool, and the men pushed forward with a vigor that brought them to their destination at 2 P. M. of the same day. Our command was composed of Companies C and D, Dragoons, under Capt. Stanley, a section of Capt. Totten's battery, under charge of Lieut. Sokalski, five hundred of the First Iowa regiment, under Lieut.-Col. Merritt, and a balance made up of mounted Kansas Volunteers, under Capt. Wood, and Second Kansas Infantry, under Col. Mitchell. Forsythe has been noted for some time as being the rendezvous of some four hundred secessionists, who drilled there, and made it the basis of a series of predatory operations upon the property of Union men living in the vicinity. They were said to be fortified in the Court-house, and, by the character of the town, to an extent that would enable them to resist a much superior force. This fact or report, together with the one that they had plenty of arms, provisions, &c., determined Gen. Lyon to break them up. About three miles this side, ten men went forward to make a reconnaissance. A mile or so ahead they ran against three of the enemy's pickets--one of whom they captured, but the other two escaped and probably gave the alarm in the town. Companies C and D, under Capt. Stanley, and the Kansas Mounted Volunteers, under Capt. Wood, were ordered to charge immediately on the town, while the rest were directed to follow up in double-quick. The town is situated at the confluence of Swan Creek and White River, which protect it on its northwest and southwest sides, while to the east it is guarded by an almost inaccessible  bluff, heavily timbered. The approach of the troops was from the north side — the Dragoons were to attack indirectly in front, the Kansas men to proceed to their right, and while some mounted Home Guards were detailed to the right of these, the Artillery was to take position a half mile or so from the town, on an eminence, supported on either side by the infantry. These dispositions made, the order “Forward” was given, and for the three miles the cavalry proceeded on a tremendous gallop, forded Swan Creek, and then taking intervals, dashed straight on the town. We were a little too late, but just in time to see about 150 secessionists break from all parts of the town, ford White River, and gain the woods beyond, or rush up the steep bluffs, where they disappeared in the timber. The party that forded White River took position among the trees and opened a sharp fire on the United States troops, but a hundred shots or so from the Sharpe's rifles of the Dragoons sent them flying towards the Arkansas border. Scarcely had they left, when the party which sought the shelter of the bluffs opened fire upon us, but Capt. Stanley and Lieut. M. J. Kelley, of Company C, dashed off with some fifty Dragoons, when they fled and were seen no more. About this time the artillery came up and opened on the Court House, which at the time was occupied by several of our own men, including the reporter of the Dubuque Times. Three shells were fired into it before the mistake was discovered. Fortunately, no one but the reporter was injured, and he only slightly, by being struck by a splinter in the back of the head. The artillery then turned its attention to the bluffs, and sent three charges of grape into a party of secessionists, who were evidently taking French leave of the section. They scattered all but three or four, who remained — and probably will remain there till removed by their friends. In the Court House were found blankets, rifles, provisions, and clothing in large quantities. A large quantity of lead was recovered from a well into which it had been thrown, and, in addition, several horses and one or two prisoners were captured. Our loss was slight. Privates Wilthorne and Martin, Company D, Dragoons, were wounded slightly, and another man had a ball sent through his shoulder, and Capt. Stanley's horse was shot under him, and two other horses were slightly wounded. The secessionists lost five killed and ten wounded--among them was said to be Capt. Jackson. The command camped in the town Monday night, and Tuesday at noon commenced their march homewards, and will probably reach here by noon to-morrow. At Yellville, on the Arkansas border, there is said to be 1,000 secessionists, and at Camp Walker in the northwestern part of the State, 10,000, whose design is to retake Springfield, and from here march on St. Louis.
--N. Y. Times, July 31.