previous next

[394] so, but that the General had not paid much attention to him. Two corps-French's and Sedgwick's — were put in where General Meade imagined there was a road, and they floundered about in the woods and ravines for a day and a half, the rest of the army waiting for them; and when they did join us, and we came up to the rebels, General Meade changed his mind, again refused to attack, and marched the army back to Culpepper.

Shortly after this campaign I was ordered to the Department of the Missouri, and my connection with the Army of the Potomac ceased.

campaign of Price in Missouri.

The rebel General Price, with twenty-five thousand men and eighteen pieces of artillery, invaded the State of Missouri, from Arkansas, in October, 1864. He attacked the field-work near Pilot Knob, in the south-eastern part of the State and, although he was repulsed, the garrison abandoned the work and fled to Rolla, some sixty miles to the south-west, where two brigades of cavalry were stationed. Price then moved up toward Franklin, and threatened Saint Louis. General A. J. Smith's command was thrown out to Franklin to cover that place, when Price turned off to Jefferson City, destroying the railroads as he went along; and, on arriving at Jefferson City, he besieged it for several days, the garrison having some six thousand troops, with ten or twelve guns, under four volunteer brigadier-generals.

On the sixth of October, 1864, General Rosecrans, commanding the Department of the Missouri, fearing Jefferson City would be lost, ordered me to proceed to that place, and take command of all the forces in that vicinity. I arrived in time to see Price move off, and immediately organized a cavalry force of about four thousand men, with a battery, which was sent in pursuit, and which did good service in compelling Price to keep his command together, and so save the country from being badly pillaged. All other troops that could possibly take the field were prepared to do so, and by the sixteenth of October a cavalry force of seven thousand men and eight pieces of artillery, including the force that was sent in pursuit of Price, was organized and on the march. I assumed the command of this force, and by forced marches came to Lexington on the twentieth, out of which place Price had driven General Curtis' troops, under General Blunt, that morning. I pushed on the next day to the Little Blue, engaged Price's troops, captured two pieces of cannon, and drover them back to the Big Blue, through Independence.

While this was going on, General Price with part of his force attacked Major-General Curtis, who had a force of twenty thousand men and thirty-two pieces of artillery, and drove him to Westport, in Kansas, Curtis losing one of his guns.

On the twenty-third of October I attacked Price in position on the Big Blue, drove him from his position toward the south, and took a number of prisoners. Price then moved rapidly in retreat.

At this time Major-General S. R. Curtis, commanding Department of Kansas, joined me, and proposed, as my command had done so much hard fighting, that he should take the advance. To this I assented, when Curtis, after marching for a day in front, on finding Price had halted on the Osage river, in position to give battle, requested me to take the advance and attack Price. I, therefore, moved immediately with my command to the front, and continued my march all night of the twenty-fourth of October, and at daylight on the morning of the twenty-fifth, I surprised Price in his camp, and drove him from it, and by a series of heavy engagements throughout the day, captured eight pieces of artillery, several standards, one majorgeneral, one brigadier-general, four colonels, and many subordinate officers, and fifteen hundred men. besides a large number of wagons, beefcattle, sheep, &c., Price's force becoming demoralized and retreating rapidly, throwing away their arms and other property that encumbered them.

I regret to add that Major-General Curtis gave me no support whatever this day, but, to the benefit of the rebels, his troops were back, and did not participate in any of the engagements; otherwise I should have captured Price's whole force. After the fighting was over, General Curtis moved his forces up, and, with the most exemplary modesty, laid claim to the prisoners, guns, &c., that had been captured, but which I could not recognize, since he had waived his right to command at the time it was necessary to take them from the enemy.

On arriving at Fort Scott, Kansas, such of my troops whose horses were able, pursued Price, to the borders of the State, and in an engagement near Newtonia, under General Sanborn, Price was again routed and a number of prisoners were taken, which ended the campaign in Missouri.

The object of General Price, in his invasion of Missouri, as shown by intercepted despatches and his speeches at Booneville and elsewhere, was, in concert with disloyal parties in the North, to hold the States of Missouri and Kansas during the time of the Presidential election, to prevent an election, and by other action embarrass the Government of the United States.

It was this design that demanded such hard marching and extraordinary energy on the part of the small force at my command, to defeat intentions so sinister and disastrous to the country; and the efforts put forth were so successful, that the State of Missouri recognized their glorious consequences by giving at the Presidential election a vote of forty thousand majority in favor of the government. This was not the only important result of the campaign to the national cause, for the defeat and discomfiture of Price also released from service in


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 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.
J. H. Price (21)
S. R. Curtis (7)
George G. Meade (2)
A. J. Smith (1)
John Sedgwick (1)
Sanborn (1)
W. S. Rosecrans (1)
B. B. French (1)
John Franklin (1)
Blunt (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 6th, 1864 AD (1)
October, 1864 AD (1)
October 24th (1)
October 23rd (1)
October 16th (1)
25th (1)
20th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: