In the meantime Rosecrans
was pushing Marmaduke
's depleted command before him, and Shelby
was overmatched in his fight with Curtis
They were both in an eminently dangerous position, as long as the train was in their way. But as soon as it cleared the stream and the road was open, they could see daylight ahead.
As it was, Shelby
's command was worse cut up than it had ever been before, and a part of the time Marmaduke
was opposing Rosecrans
' advance with only some members of his staff—Major Ewing
, Major Newton
and Captain Price
—and his escort company.
With the disappearance of the train Fagan
's division was relieved, in large part, of the duty of guarding it, and was free to help Marmaduke
in their extremity, which it did in a soldierly and chivalrous manner.
' brigade and McGhee
's battalion charged the enemy in the outskirts of Westport
and broke the force of their assaults on Shelby
when he was driven almost to the wall; and Cabell
, though hotly engaged himself, sent Marmaduke
two regiments when his need was the greatest.
Battered and bruised, and with its ranks decimated, the army emerged from the trap in which it had been caught with a feeling of personal hostility on the part of the men to the enormous and useless wagon train which had been the principal cause of their discomfiture and losses, but with the idea that now they had started southward in retreat and had the enemy behind them, the column would be stripped of all superfluities and incumbrances and would move forty or fifty miles a day. With them retreat meant hard, rapid marching, at least until they got rid of the heavy masses of the enemy.
Their horses were in better condition than those of the enemy, and they knew that in two days time they could leave any pursuing force capable of seriously interfering with them far behind.
They were, therefore, surprised and disgusted when it became evident there was to be no decrease in the number