previous next

[508] located eight miles below the Little North Fork, south side of White River. It was said that these works were protected by a rebel guard of fifty men. Col. McCrellis sent Capt. Drummond, with a detachment of twenty men, to reconnoitre and, if possible, destroy the works. The Captain started at three P. M., the distance to the cave being eighteen miles. After the expedition started it commenced raining and poured down in torrents, with peals of thunder and lightning. The road led through a very rough country. Capt. Drummond arrived in the vicinity of the cave and soon after daybreak sent Sergeant Smith with four men three miles above to press some canoes and their owners to row the party across the river to the cave. The night previous Captain Drummond's men started two of Price's men out of the widow McCracken's house, who made their escape, but the horses, saddles, and guns were captured. We also captured four mounted men and their arms. The guns were broken up. One secesh was fired upon, but made his escape in the brush. The canoes were rowed down opposite the cave by the sulky owners, and preparations made to cross over the river. The entrance to the cave was seen half-way up the sides of a steep bluff on the opposite side. The structures for manufacturing the saltpetre were erected below on the bottom, next the river, and shutes extended from the cave to the “works,” for sliding down the dirt. There was an island in the river between our party and the works, but voices could be distinctly heard from the opposite side. Eight men, with Mr. Doyle, the guide, were rowed across the river above the island, and the remainder of the party staid on this side to cover the movements of those opposite. Both parties, on either side of the river, marched down simultaneously.

The rebels were seen to make their appearance on the top of the bluff, and were fired upon. They were seen running about in great commotion. The buildings were reached by our men, and the work of destruction commenced. The structures, sheds, and vats were set on fire, the steam-engine was broken up and pitched into the river, and about ten thousand pounds of saltpetre, nearly prepared for transportation, were destroyed. The latter article was contained in large reservoirs, placed under a long shed in four tiers. Our men did the business up in short order, protected by the. rifles from the opposite shore. As often as a head made its appearance above the bluff, its owner was popped over. Having accomplished the destruction of these contraband works, the party recrossed the river in safety. An accident occurred to one of the party, Corporal Mason, of company G, Fourth Iowa, who was severely wounded in the thigh by the accidental discharge of a Starr revolver. After our party recrossed the river, a dozen rebels were seen on the opposite side, concealed in the brush. From the efforts made by the secesh to get at the mouth of the cave, it was supposed they had arms concealed therein. It was learned that one shipment of saltpetre had been made this spring. The works happened to be poorly guarded, it being subsequently ascertained that Col. Colman was at Yellville, twelve miles distant, with three hundred men, and had a company on the march for the protection of the saltpetre.

Capt. Drummond and party then returned to the main command at “Talbott's Barrens,” the point where Col. McCrellis had moved in order to support the former if necessary.

On the same day that Capt. Drummond returned (nineteenth) Lieut. Wm. M. Heacock, of company F, Fourth Iowa cavalry, was despatched with forty mounted men to take possession of Talbott's Ferry, an important crossing, nine miles distant on the Jacksonport and Yellville road. The party stopped at Mooney's, three miles from the river, who was owner of the Ferry. He was absent on the opposite side in command of a rebel company. His house was numbered “Station number four,” the express to Price's army having made this one of the stopping-places. When near the Ferry Lieut. Talbott placed his men in concealment, and went alone to the brink of the river to parley with the rebels on the opposite shore. He hailed to the men who were coming down with the oars to bring over the boat. They answered: “Go to hell.” A number of armed men made their appearance at this among the scattering houses on the hill. The Lieutenant then brought his men forward in three platoons and ordered them to fire. The rebels returned the fire from the loopholes of a house. One of the balls struck Lieut. Heacock in the centre of his forehead, entering his skull. A ball also grazed the cheek of one of our men. The Lieutenant was conveyed to a house in the rear, and survived a few hours, expiring at eleven o'clock that evening. Our men continued firing until their ammunition was expended, Sergeant Chaney taking command. Three of the rebels were seen to fall, and great commotion was exhibited on their side of the river, the men yelling and rushing to and fro. A messenger was sent to Col. McCrellis for reinforcements, when Capt. Drummond with sixty men, Capt. McFall and Lieut. Crabtree, with one of the howitzers, were sent down to the Ferry. Our party fell back to Mooney's, and, when reinforced, went next morning to the Ferry. Capt. McFall moved up the river to deceive the enemy, and Captain Drummond's men were concealed behind the boards. The howitzer was planted in position, masked from the view of the enemy, and a few scouts were sent forward in order to induce the enemy to come out of their hiding-places. It was known that they were sheltered in the house. Our dispositions failing to call them out, a shell was sent by Lieut. Crabtree in one of the houses, and the rebels in considerable numbers were speedily observed shelling out head over heels. The remaining houses were shelled, and they were made to scamper in all directions. A crowd of insolent fellows were observed below, on a point of rocks, sheltered behind a clump of trees. They would hallo: “Come over, you Black Republicans, if you ”

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Yellville (Arkansas, United States) (2)
White River (Arkansas, United States) (1)
Jacksonport (Arkansas, United States) (1)

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.
William Drummond (7)
McCrellis (3)
D. Talbott (2)
John W. Price (2)
Mooney (2)
McFall (2)
William M. Heacock (2)
Crabtree (2)
E. Kirby Smith (1)
McCracken (1)
John T. Mason (1)
Doyle (1)
Colman (1)
Chaney (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: