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From the time of the battle of Wilson's Creek, General Fremont had been collecting an army at St. Louis for the purpose of retrieving that disaster to the Federal arms, and capturing Price or forcing him and his army to leave the State. The force with which he was now advancing on Springfield was variously estimated at from 40,000 to 50,000 men, splendidly armed and equipped, and supplied with every appliance conducive to their comfort. When Fremont approached Springfield, Price retreated to Cassville and then to Pineville, in the southwestern corner of the State. He was determined to offer Fremont battle with his State Guard forces, notwithstanding the great disparity in the strength of the two armies, but he wanted to draw him as far into the Ozark mountains as possible. Fremont occupied Springfield as soon as Price evacuated it, but his entrance into it was not unaccompanied by disaster. He had two bodyguards. One, his own, was composed of Indians; the other, known as the Jesse Fremont guards, was a picked corps commanded by Major Zagonyi, a Hungarian officer, and was as magnificently armed and equipped as the bodyguard of an empress. The advance in entering Springfield was given to this crack company of the corps daelite. The last of the State Guard to withdraw was a small infantry battalion of McBride's division, under command of Col. T. T. Taylor, a staff officer. Taylor posted his men in a cornfield just in the edge of town, and as Zagonyi and his resplendent command came dashing in, they fired a volley which emptied a third of the saddles and sent the remainder of the command back pell-mell to the main body. There was much spoil for the ragged Missourians in the way of fine arms and black silk velvet uniforms, slashed with gold embroidery, and much disgust in the Fremont household over such barbarous warfare, in which the fierce Hungarian commander of the advance must have participated, for he was never heard of again during the war—at least not in Missouri.

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Springfield, Mo. (Missouri, United States) (4)
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