About the 1st of February, 1862, he received information that the enemy were preparing to advance upon him from Sedalia
and Fort Scott
. Ten days later the column from Kansas
, under Gen. Samuel R. Curtis
, made its appearance on the Bolivar
road, and, though checked for a time by outposts, steadily forced its way. The next day the army, 8,000 men and 51 pieces of artillery, with a wagon train big enough for an army four times as large, was on the road to Cassville
with his regiment kept the enemy in check while Springfield
was being evacuated.
The three columns of the enemy were now united, and Price
commenced his retreat to Arkansas
The First brigade of Missouri
Confederates was given the rear, and performed its duty of alternately halting and forming in line to check the enemy's advance, and then closing up on the main body, in a soldierly manner.
The weather, which had been pleasant, turned suddenly cold, with a biting wind and the air full of icy sleet, and the men, who were kept on the alert day and night, suffered severely.
At Dug Springs
the cavalry of the enemy became obtrusive, and were sent reeling back to the rear in short order.
At Crane Creek
, just at night, a general engagement seemed imminent, and every man and battery was placed in position; but after some heavy skirmishing the enemy withdrew and waited for morning.
The rear guard remained in position until midnight, the main column having pushed on to anticipate a heavy force of Kansans under General Lane
, who were forced-marching to reach Cassville
did. But at 9 o'clock at night of the 15th, Price
's column reached there, weary, cold, hungry and wet, having crossed Flat Creek
seventeen times during the day. Price
now had everything behind him, with his front and flanks clear.
At Sugar Creek
there was heavy skirmishing for several hours, in which the First brigade and Clark
's and Macdonald
's batteries made it so uncomfortable for the