previous next

[511] had already served beyond their time, generously consented to come for the defence of the city. The enrolled militia of St. Louis, though but skeleton regiments, were called out, and the citizens also requested to organize and arm. General Ewing was sent to Pilot Knob, with directions to use his utmost exertions to find out whether any more than Shelby's division was in South-east Missouri, and to that end to hold Pilot Knob until he was certain. With a soldierly comprehension of the importance of his duties, while reporting the current rumors of the advance of Price with his whole force, he expressed his doubts, and held his position until the twenty-seventh, when he sustained a terrific assault in Fort Davidson, a small fieldwork in the valley, surrounded by hills within cannon range, which he held with about one thousand men, one half raw troops — establishing, beyond question, the presence of all Price's command in that quarter. He gloriously repulsed, killing and wounding some fifteen hundred of the enemy, and lost only twenty-eight killed and fifty-six wounded, as appears from his report herewith. While Ewing's fight was going on, Shelby advanced on Potosi, and thence to Big River bridge, threatening General Smith's advance, which withdrew from that point to within safer supporting distance of his main position at De Soto.

Previous to, and pending these events, the guerrilla warfare in North Missouri had been raging with redoubled fury. Rebel agents, amnesty oath-takers, recruits, sympathizers, 0. A. K.'s, and traitors of every hue and stripe, had warmed into life at the approach of the great invasion. Women's fingers were busy making clothes for rebel soldiers out of goods plundered by the guerrillas; women's tongues were busy telling Union neighbors “their time was now coming.” General Fisk, with all his force, had been scouring the brush for weeks in the river counties, in pursuit of hostile bands, composed largely of recruits from among that class of inhabitants who claim protection, yet decline to perform the full duties of citizens, on the ground that they “never tuck no sides.” A few facts will convey some idea of this warfare carried on by Confederate agents here, while the agents abroad of their bloody and hypocritical despotism, Mason, Slidell, and Mann, in Europe, have the effrontery to tell the nations of Christendom our government carries on the war with increasing ferocity, regardless of the laws of civilized warfare. These gangs of rebels, whose families had been living in peace among their loyal neighbors, committed the most cold-blooded and diabolical murders, such as riding up to a farm-house, asking for water, and, while receiving it, shooting down the giver, an aged, inoffensive farmer, because he was a radical “Union man.” In the single subdistrict of Mexico, the commanding officer furnished a list of near one hundred Union men who, in the course of six weeks, had been killed, maimed, or “run off,” because they were radical “Union men or d----d abolitionists.” About the first of September, Anderson's gang attacked a railroad train on the North Missouri road, took from it twenty-two unarmed soldiers, many on sick-leave, and, after robbing, palced them in a row and shot them in cold blood. Some of the bodies they scalped, and put others across the track and ran the engine over them. On the twenty-seventh this gang, with numbers swollen to three or four hundred, attacked Major Johnson, with about one hundred and twenty men of the Thirty-ninth Missouri volunteer infantry, raw recruits, and, after stampeding their horses, shot every man, most of them in cold blood. Anderson, a few days later, was recognized by General Price, at Boonville, as a Confederate captain, and, with a verbal admonition to behave himself, ordered, by Colonel McLane, chief of Price's staff, to proceed to North Missouri and destroy the railroads, which orders were found on the miscreant when killed by Lieutenant-Colonel Cox, about the twenty-seventh of October ultimo.

On the twenty-eighth, when information of Ewing's fight and Price's presence at Pilot Knob came to hand, General Smith, discovering the enemy in his front, moving to west and north, in pursuance of his orders to hold the most advanced position compatible with the certainty of keeping between the enemy and St. Louis,determined to leave De Soto and retire behind the Meramec, a stream which, at from ten to fifteen miles south of St. Louis, offered considerable obstacles to the passage of a hostile force with wagons and artillery. General Ewing, finding Marmaduke's and Fagan's rebel divisions before him, and his position commanded by a numerically superior artillery, acting on suggestions made when discussing with him the possibilities of the position on the night of the twenty-seventh, spiked his heavy guns, blew up the magazine, ammunition and supplies, and, with the field battery and remains of his command, retreated through the hills toward the Meramec valley, hoping to reach a point on the railroad from whence he could move to St. Louis. But, as will be seen from his report, the enemy pursued him, harassed his rear on the march, which lie directed along a ridge where the enemy could not flank him, and overtook him near Harrison's station, where, seizing and extending the temporary defences constructed by the militia, he displayed such vigor that, after harassing him for thirty-six hours, and making several attacks, on the approach of a detachment of Sanborn's cavalry, the rebels left him, and he escaped, with all his command, to Rollo. The enemy's strength and position thus developed, my first business was to secure the points he best could strike — St. Louis, Jefferson City, and Rolla. General Smith's four thousand five hundred infantry, and the mounted force we could raise--Seventh Kansas, just in from Memphis, part of the Thirteenth Missouri volunteer cavalry, Colonel Catherwood, and the recruits of Merrill's Horse, hastily mounted and

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 (5)
Thomas Ewing (4)
A. J. Smith (3)
Shelby (2)
N. L. Anderson (2)
Slidell (1)
Sanborn (1)
Rollo (1)
George Merrill (1)
McLane (1)
Vincent Marmaduke (1)
Martin Mann (1)
R. W. Johnson (1)
T. J. Harrison (1)
Fisk (1)
Fagan (1)
C. C. Cox (1)
Catherwood (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.
27th (2)
October 27th (1)
September 1st (1)
28th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: