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[248] and situated in the southwest corner of the State. His object there was to prevent Jackson going south, or Price going north. He appears to have decided to move southwardly and capture Price if possible, and afterwards attend to the recreant Governor.

As he neared Neosho, on the 30th, the reports began to come in of the strength of Price, until his force was swelled to thirty-five hundred men, including Arkansas volunteers. The inhabitants expressed their welcome for Col. Siegel, and detailed the most pitiable accounts of the oppression of the rebel soldiers. They had seized horses, corn, provisions, and merchandise, without in many cases giving even the worthless orders on the State treasury; considerable apprehension was felt on the approach to Neosho for the success of the little band. But on the 1st instant the whole force entered the town without opposition, the valiant chivalry having hastily retreated upon hearing of the approach of the Federals. As they were principally mounted on stolen steeds, Col. Siegel relinquished the pursuit further south, for obvious reasons, and encamped in Neosho. On the 2d he learned that the forces of Price, Rains, and Jackson had united at Dry Fork Creek, eight miles north of Carthage. He communicated with Brig.-Gen. Sweeny--who had arrived at Springfield in the meantime — who directed him to proceed at once to attack the rebel camp. Accordingly he took up his line of march on the 4th, and on the morning of the 6th came upon the enemy in great force.

Our command was about 1,200 strong, including a part of Colonel Salomon's regiment. We met the enemy in camp, in an open prairie, three miles beyond Dry Fork. We could not discover many infantry, but numbers of cavalry. Approaching within 800 yards, we took our position. The artillery was placed in front; we had on our left two 6-pounders; in our centre, two 6-pounders and two 12-pounders; and two 6-pounders on our right. The enemy, who occupied the highest ground in the prairie, had in position one 6-pounder on the right and left, and in his centre one 12 and two 6-pounders. The fight commenced at half-past 9, when large bodies of infantry began to appear. The firing of the enemy was wretched. I have seen much artillery practice, but never saw such bad gunnery before. Their balls and shells went over us, and exploded in the open prairie. At 11 o'clock we had silenced their 12-pounder and broken their centre so much that disorder was apparent. After the first five shots the two Secession flags which they carried were not shown. They displayed the State flag, which we did not fire at. At about 2 o'clock the cavalry attempted to outflank us, on both right and left. As we had left our baggage trains three miles in the rear, not anticipating a serious engagement, it was necessary to fall back to prevent their capture. Colonel Siegel then ordered two 6-pounders to the rear, and changed his front, two 6-pounders on the flanks, and the 12 and 6-pounders in the rear, and commenced falling back in a steady and orderly manner, firing as we went. We proceeded, with hardly a word to be heard except the orders of the officers, until we reached our baggage wagons, which had approached with the two companies left in reserve. They were formed (fifty wagons) into a solid square, and surrounded by the infantry and artillery, as before. The retreat was without serious casualty until we approached the Dry Fork Creek, where the road passes between bluffs on either side. The cavalry of the enemy, 800 strong, had concentrated on the opposite side of the creek, to cut us off. Colonel Siegel ordered two more cannon to the right and left oblique in front, and then by a concentrated cross-fire poured in upon them a brisk fire of canister and shrapnell shell. The confusion which ensued was terrific. Horses, both with and without riders, were galloping and neighing about the plain, and the riders in a perfect panic. We took here two or three prisoners, who, upon being questioned, said their force numbered about 5.500, and expressed their astonishment at the manner in which our troops behaved.

We proceeded, after capturing about 35 horses, toward Carthage. Just before entering the town, at about 6 o'clock, we brought up at Buck Creek, where three companies of infantry conspicuously posted themselves on the bank, while the rest, in two columns, made a small circuit around the town, which is situated near the creek. The artillery then poured in a well-directed fire upon the village. The horsemen started out in affright, and our soldiers brought them down with fearful effect. This was the heaviest charge of the whole day. No regular volley of musketry had been ordered until this time, and the Minie rifles carried their leaden messengers through man and horse with damaging effect. The enemy must have lost fully two hundred men in this skirmish. Night was approaching as we passed through Carthage. The remnant of the horsemen of the rebels were scattered in all directions; their forces were coming up in our rear, and we concluded to make for the woods on the Mount Vernon road. We could not have captured the entire force without some loss; and as we were acting without orders, thought it prudent to withdraw with our advantage.

We took in all forty-five prisoners, some of them officers; those taken at the Dry Creek at 5 o'clock reported about 200 killed, and as the heaviest fighting was done afterwards, I estimate their loss at near 500. Our loss up to the time I left, was eight killed and missing, and forty-five wounded. As we brought off our wounded and dead, it is probable this may reduce the mortality list.

The rebels halted at Carthage, and hoisted the Secession rag, when our artillery wheeled, and in a few minutes were in position, and firing. Shot and shell were whistling over their heads when the flag disappeared from our view. We

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