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Doc. 179.-the fight at Compton's Ferry, Mo.

Cincinnati Gazette account.

headquarters First battalion Merrill's horse, camp defiance, Glasgow, Mo., August 19.
this post, garrisoned by about one hundred effective men of Merrill's Horse, had been threatened for ten days by a guerrilla band, numbering from seven to eight hundred men, commanded by the notorious Poindexter. On the seventh instant, the monotony was broken by the appearance of two steamers coming up the river with reenforcements, consisting of about four hundred of the Ninth Missouri State militia; companies A and D, Seventh Missouri State militia; about seventy men, commanded by Capt. Turley; a section of Missouri State militia battery, commanded by Capt. Washburne--all under Colonel Guitar, Ninth Missouri State militia. When they came in sight of our camp, it was greeted with cheers, as fears were entertained for our safety. To this force was added company A, Merrill's Horse, twenty-four men, Lieut. Lovejoy; company B, Merrill's Horse, forty men, Lieut. Bennett; company D, Merrill's Horse, fifty men, Lieut. Roher, under the command of Major C. B. Hunt, and on morning of the eighth we started to look for the enemy, who was supposed to be encamped near Silver Creek, some thirty miles distant. We marched thirty miles, learned that Poindexter occupied a strong camp in the Persia Bottom, seven miles distant, and that he was perfecting his organization and preparations for service, and that he had twelve hundred men. We were compelled to go into camp on account of rain and the near approach of night; left camp early on morning of the ninth; expecting a fight, approached the camp cautiously. When we reached it, learned that he had-left during the night in great haste. Following his trail, we drove him away from a dinner which was prepared for him by the citizens; went into camp after dark, having marched thirty-five miles; on morning of the tenth left camp early, and continued pursuit vigorously during the forenoon; took a number of his rear-guard prisoners; drove him away from his dinner again, and finally came up with his rear-guard at Swisler's Mill, on the east branch of Chariton River. A portion of his men were drawn up in line on the opposite bank, having torn up the planking of the bridge. Capt. Turley, who was in the advance, fired on them, killing five. They returned the fire and fled without giving time for the artillery to open fire. No injury was sustained by us from his fire. We repaired the bridge, crossed and camped for the night, having marched thirty miles; continued the pursuit on the morning of the eleventh; learned that Poindexter was making a forced march to gain time other to cross Grand River at Compton Ferry, thirty-five [578] miles distant. He obstructed our progress by tearing the plank from bridges, etc. On nearing the river at sunset we .saw their pickets and other signs that the whole body had not crossed. Our advance, commanded by Capt. Turley, felt their way cautiously through the thickly-timbered bottom, and on reaching the ferry landing, were greeted by a volley of rifle-balls and buckshot from the opposite bank, which was received and returned in a gallant manner, firing three rounds, one of which was directed at a boat-load of men in the act of crossing, all but one of whom jumped overboard, making their way to the bottom or to the other shore. At this time the guns were in position, and opened with canister and shell. Eight rounds were fired, when, as it was no longer answered, the firing was stopped. Although the enemy fired three hundred or more shots at us in easy range, but two men on our side were hit by his shot, and those not hard enough to break the skin. It was different with them — losing one hundred in killed and wounded, two hundred prisoners, six (all) wagons, about one hundred horses and saddles, one hundred and fifty guns, all his ammunition, provisions, etc. Many of his men succeeded in making their escape, leaving boots, hats, etc. On crossing the river near one hundred guns were found. On the ground that he had occupied when firing, it would seem that when the artillery opened on them they dropped every thing and run. In some instances these guns were found loaded, and even capped and cocked. The pursuit was continued by Major Hunt, with Merrill's Horse, Capt. Turley's company, and company D, Ninth Missouri State militia, to Utica, twenty-six miles further, when it was found that a large force of militia, men were on the trail ahead of him, returned to Compton Ferry. Col. Guitar remained at the ferry, collected the captured property, and then went to Leclede, on the H. and St. J. R. R., for provisions, of which the command was short. On his return he again encountered Poindexter, who had made a turn, arid seemed to be making for the point from which he started; had a running fight with him for several miles, killing five of his men and taking a number of prisoners, horses, etc., having one man of his command shot through the thigh, which was the only wound received on our side during the three days. Our whole command got together at Keitsville, and, from information received, believed Poindexter had disbanded the remnant of his force. We returned to Glasgow, having been absent ten days. H.

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T. C. Merrill (6)
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Israel Washburne (1)
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