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[42]

Chapter 2: civil and military operations in Missouri.


We left General Lyon in possession of Booneville, Missouri,1 from which he had driven the Confederates under Price and Jackson, on the 18th of June.
1861.
These leaders, as we have observed, were satisfied that the northern part of the State was lost to the cause of Secession, for the time, they endeavored to concentrate their troops with Ben McCulloch's more southern men, in the southwestern part of the Commonwealth. We also left Colonel Franz Sigel in the vicinity of Rolla, pushing with eager Missouri loyalists toward the Confederate camps, on the borders of Kansas and Arkansas.2

Colonel Sigel arrived at Springfield on the 23d of June, where he was informed that the Confederates, under Governor Jackson, were making their way from the Osage River in a southwesterly direction. He pushed on to Sarcoxie, a post-village in Jackson County, where he arrived toward the evening of the 28th, and learned that General Price, with about nine hundred troops, was encamped at Pool's Prairie, a few miles north of Neosho, the capital of Newton County, and that other State troops, under Jackson and Rains, were making their way in the same direction. It. was important to prevent their junction. Sigel resolved to march first on Price, and capture or disperse his force, and then, turning northward, attack the other troops, and so open a communication with General Lyon, who, he had been informed (but incorrectly), had been fighting with the Confederates on the banks of the Little Osage.

Sigel's march from Sarcoxie had just commenced, when a scout brought him word that Price had fled from Pool's Prairie to Elk Mills, thirty miles south of Neosho. He at once turned his attention to the troops north of him, who he supposed were endeavoring to make their way into Arkansas.. He sent forward a detachment of two companies, under Captain Grone, with two field-pieces, toward Cedar Creek and Grand Falls, on the Neosho, to occupy a road in this supposed route of the Confederates, and to gain information, while he pushed on with the remainder of his command to Neosho, receiving greetings of welcome from the inhabitants on the way, who had been pillaged by the insurgents. He had already summoned Colonel Salomon, with his Missouri battalion, to join him at Neosho, and with this addition [43] to his force, he went forward to meet his foe, leaving a single rifle company, under Captain Conrad, to protect the loyal inhabitants there, with orders to retreat to Sarcoxie if necessary.

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