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[210]

Zagonyi's charge.

The charge of Fremont's Body-Guard and the Prairie Scouts of Major Frank White, upon the rebel garrison in Springfield, Missouri, under the leadership of Major Charles Zagonyi, is justly regarded as one of the most daring and gallant achievements of the war.

Charles Zagonyi was a Hungarian refugee who, like so many of his countrymen, had fled to this country after the suppression of the revolution in his native country by the iron hand of the Russian Czar. His daring character brought the young officer to the notice of the invincible General Bem, by whom he was placed in command of a troop of picked cavalry for extraordinary service. His story, after that hour, up to the date of his capture by the enemy, was one of unparalleled daring. His last act was to charge upon a heavy artillery force. Over one half of his men were killed and the rest made prisoners, but not until after the enemy had suffered terribly. He was then confined in an Austrian dungeon, and finally released, at the end of two years, to go into exile in America.

Fremont drew around him a large number of such refugees from European tyranny, and found in them men of great value, in all departments of the service. Zagonyi enlisted three hundred carefully chosen men, who, as a “Body-guard,” served as pioneers and scouts in Fremont's advance. The exploit at Springfield was only one of many similar services for which they were designated by Fremont; but, the suspension of his command in Missouri broke up the Guard, and Zagonyi withdrew

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