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This event had tie effect of demoralizing the Federal forces to such an extent that an immediate retreat was thought advisable by the acting officers in command. The degraded General showed symptoms of rebellion. The Dutch were greatly attached to him; signs of mutiny were shown by these adherents; for a time open revolt was threatened; but Fremont's subordinates, Sigel and Asboth, positively refused to sustain him, and the army was ordered to retreat from Springfield. The Federals accordingly left that town in the direction of Rolla, and were pursued by Gen. Price to Osceola. From Osceola, Gen. Price fell back to Springfield, to forage his army and obtain supplies. Both armies having thus drawn off, we may leave here for the present the history of the Missouri campaign.

Notwithstanding the adverse termination of this campaign with respect to the occupation of Missouri, it had already accomplished much; it had given an exhibition of spirit and resource without a parallel in equal circumstances; and it constitutes the most remarkable and brilliant episode of the war. It was a chapter of wonders. Price's army of ragged heroes, had marched over eight hundred miles; it had scarcely passed a week without an engagement of some sort; it was tied down to no particular line of operations, but fought the enemy wherever he could be found; and it had provided itself with ordnance and equipments almost entirely from the prodigal stores of the Federals. The hero of Missouri started on his campaign without a dollar, without a wagon or team, without a cartridge, without a bayonet-gun. When he commenced his retreat, he had about eight thousand bayonet-guns, fifty pieces of cannon, four hundred tents, and many other articles needful in an army, for which his men were almost exclusively indebted to their own strong arms in battle.

This campaign was little less than a puzzle to military critics. Price managed to subsist an army without governmental resources. He seldom complained of want of transportation. His men were never demoralized by hunger. They would go into the cornfield, shuck the corn, shell it, take it to the mill, and bring it into camp, ground into meal. Or, if they had no flour, they took the wheat from the stack, threshed it themselves, and asked the aid of the nearest miller to reduce it to flour. Price proved that such an army could go where they pleased in an agricultural country. His men were always cheerful. They frequently, on the eve of an engagement, danced around their camp-fires with bare feet and in rag costumes, of which it was declared “Billy Barlow's dress at a circus would be decent in comparison.” Price himself wore nothing on his shoulders but a brown-linen duster; and this and his white hair streaming on the battle-field made him a singular figure. Despite the exposure and hardship of this campaign, the most remarkable fact remains to be recorded: that in its entire course not more than fifty men died from disease.

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Neosho Price (6)
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