previous next

Doc. 33. capture of Lexington, Missouri.

Gen. Fremont's despatch.

Headquarters Western Department, St. Louis, September 23.
To Col. E. D. Townsend, Adjutant-General:
I have a telegram from Brookfield that Lexington has fallen into Price's hands, he having cut off Mulligan's supply of water and reinforcements, four thousand strong, under General Sturgis. By capture of the ferry-boats, he had no means of crossing the river in time.

Lane's force from the southwest, and Davis' force from the southeast, upward of eleven thousand in all, could not get there in time. I am taking the field myself, and hope to destroy the enemy, either before or after the junction of the forces under McCulloch. Please notify the President immediately.

J. C. Fremont, Major-General Commanding.

Price's official report.

Headquarters M. S. G., Camp Wallace, Lexington, Sept. 23, 1861.
To the Hon. Claiborne F. Jackson, Governor of the State of Missouri:
I have the honor to submit to your Excellency the following report of the actions which terminated on the 20th instant with the surrender of the United States forces and property at this place to the army under my command:

After chastising the marauding armies of Lane and Montgomery, and driving them out of the State, and after compelling them to abandon Fort Scott, as detailed in my last report, I continued my march toward this point with an army increasing hourly in numbers and enthusiasm. On the 10th inst., just as we were about to encamp for the day, a mile or two west of Rose Hill, I learned that a detachment of Federal troops and Home Guards were marching from Lexington to Warrensburg, to rob the bank in that place, and plunder and arrest the citizens of Johnson County, in accordance with General Fremont's proclamation and instructions. Although my men were greatly fatigued by several days' continuous and rapid marching, I determined to press forward so as to surprise the enemy, if possible, at Warrensburg. Therefore, after resting a few hours, we resumed the march at sunset, and marched without intermission until two o'clock in the morning, when it became evident that the infantry, very few of whom had eaten a mouthful in twenty-two hours, could march no further. I then halted them, and went forward with the larger part of my mounted men till we came, about day-break, within view of Warrensburg, where I ascertained that the enemy had hastily fled about midnight, burning bridges behind them. The rain began to fall about the same time.

This circumstance, coupled with the fact that my men had been fasting for more than twenty-four hours, constrained me to abandon the idea of pursuing the enemy that day; my infantry and artillery having come up, we encamped at Warrensburg, whose citizens vied with each other in feeding my almost famished soldiers. An unusually violent storm delayed our march the next morning till about 10 o'clock; we then pushed forward rapidly, still hoping to overtake the enemy. Finding it impossible to do this with my infantry, I again ordered a detachment to move forward, and placing myself at their head, continued the pursuit to within two and a half miles of Lexington, when, having learned that the enemy were already within town, and it being late, and my men fatigued by a forced march, and utterly without provisions, I halted for the night.

About daybreak the next morning a sharp skirmish took place between our pickets and the enemy's outposts. This threatened to become general. Being unwilling, however, to risk a doubtful engagement, when a short delay would make success certain, I fell back two or three miles and awaited the arrival of my infantry and artillery; these having come up, we advanced upon the town, driving in the enemy's pickets until we came within a short distance of the city itself. Here the enemy attempted to make a stand, but they were speedily driven from every position, and forced to take shelter within their intrenchments. We then took our position within easy range of the college, which building they had strongly fortified, and opened upon them a brisk fire from Bledsoe's battery, which, in the absence of Capt. Bledsoe, who had been wounded at Big Dry Wood, was gallantly commanded by Capt. Emmitt McDonald, and by Parsons' battery, under the skilful command of Capt. Guibor.

Finding after sunset that our ammunition, the most of which had been left behind on the march [71] from Springfield, was nearly exhausted, and that my men, thousands of whom had not eaten a particle in thirty-six hours, required rest and food, I withdrew to the Fair Ground and encamped there. My ammunition wagons having been at last brought up and large reinforcements having been received, I again moved into town on Wednesday, the 18th inst., and began a final attack upon the enemy's works.

Brig.-Gen. Rains' division occupied a strong position on the east and northeast of the fortifications, from which an effective cannonading was kept up on the enemy by Bledsoe's battery, under command, except on the last day, of Capt. Emmitt McDonald, and another battery, commanded by Capt. C. Clark, of St. Louis. Both of these gentlemen and the men and officers under their command are deservedly commended in the accompanying report of Brig.-Gen. Rains.

Gen. Parsons took a position southwest of the works, whence his battery, under command of Capt. Guibor, poured a steady fire into the enemy.

Skirmishers and sharpshooters were also sent forward from both of these divisions to harass and fatigue the enemy and to cut them off from water on the north, east, and south of the college, and did inestimable service in the accomplishment of these purposes.

Col. Congreve Jackson's division, and a part of Gen. Steen's, were posted near Gen. Rains and Gen. Parsons, as a reserve, but no occasion occurred to call them into action. They were, however, at all times, vigilant and ready to rush upon the enemy.

Shortly after entering the city on the 18th, Col. Rives, who commanded the Fourth division in the absence of Gen. Slack, led his regiment and Col. Hughes's along the river bank. to a point immediately beneath, and west of the fortifications; Gen. McBride's command, and a portion of Gen. Harris's having been ordered to reinforce him. Col. Rives, in order to cut off the enemy's means of escape, proceeded down the bank of the river to capture a steamboat which was lying just under their guns. Just at this moment a heavy fire was opened upon him from Col. Anderson's large dwelling-house on the summit of the bluffs, which the enemy were occupying as a hospital, and upon which a white flag was flying. Several companies of Gen. Harris's command and the gallant soldiers of the Fourth division, who have won upon so many battle-fields the proud distinction of always being among the bravest of the brave, immediately rushed upon and took the place.

The important position thus secured was within one hundred and twenty-five yards of the enemy's intrenchments. A company from Col. Hughes's regiment then took possession of the boats, one of which was richly freighted with valuable stores. Gen. McBride's and Gen. Harris's divisions, meanwhile, gallantly stormed and occupied the bluffs immediately north of Anderson's house. The possession of these heights enabled our men to harass the enemy so greatly, that, resolving to regain them, they made upon the house a successful assault, and one which would have been honorable to them had it not been accompanied by an act of savage barbarity — the cold-blooded and cowardly murder of three defenceless men who had laid down their arms and surrendered themselves as prisoners. The position thus retaken by the enemy was soon regained by the brave men who had been driven from it, and was thenceforward held by them to the very end of the contest.

The heights to the left of Anderson's house, which had been taken, as before stated, by Gens. McBride and Harris, and by part of Gen. Steen's command under Col. Boyd and Major Winston, were rudely fortified by our soldiers, who threw up breastworks as well as they could with their slender means. On the morning of the 20th inst., I caused a number of hemp bales to be transported to the river heights, where movable breastworks were speedily constructed out of them by Gens. Harris and McBride, Col. Rives, and Major Winston, and their respective commands. Capt. Kelly's battery (attached to Gen. Steen's division) was ordered at the same time to the position occupied by Gen. Harris's force, and quickly opened a very effective fire, under the direction of its gallant captain, upon the enemy. These demonstrations, and particularly the continued advance of the hempen breastworks, which were as efficient as the cotton bales at New Orleans, quickly attracted the attention and excited the alarm of the enemy, who made more daring attempts to drive us back. They were, however, repulsed in every instance by the unflinching courage and fixed determination of our men.

In these desperate encounters, the veterans of McBride's and Slack's divisions fully sustained their proud reputation, while Col. Martin Green and his command, and Col. Boyd and Maj. Winston and their commands, proved themselves worthy to fight by the side of the men who had by their courage and valor won imperishable honor in the bloody battle of Springfield.

About two o'clock in the afternoon of the 20th, and after fifty-two hours of continuous firing, a white flag was displayed by the enemy on that part of their works nearest to Col. Green's position, and shortly afterward another was displayed opposite to Col. Rives. I immediately ordered a cessation of all firing on our part, and sent forward one of my staff officers to ascertain the object of the flag, and to open negotiations with the enemy, if such should be their desire. It was finally, after some delay, agreed by Col. Marshall and the officers associated with him for that purpose by Col. Mulligan, that the United States forces should lay down their arms and surrender themselves as prisoners of war to this army. These terms, having been made known, were ratified by me and immediately carried into effect.

Our entire loss in this series of engagements amounts to twenty-five killed and seventy-five wounded. The enemy's loss was much greater. [72]

The visible fruits of this almost bloodless victory are great — about three thousand five hundred prisoners, among whom are Cols. Mulligan, Marshall, Peabody, White, Grover, Major Van Horn, and one hundred and eighteen other commissioned officers, five pieces of artillery and two mortars, over three thousand stand of infantry arms, a large number of sabres, about seven hundred and fifty horses, many sets of cavalry equipments, wagons, teams, ammunition, more than one hundred thousand dollars' worth of commissary stores, and a large amount of other property. In addition to all this, I obtained the restoration of the Great Seal of the State and the Public Records, which had been stolen from their proper custodian, and about nine hundred thousand dollars in money, of which the Bank at this place had been robbed, and which I have caused to be returned to it.

This victory has demonstrated the fitness of our citizen soldiery for the tedious operations of a siege as well as for a dashing charge. They lay for fifty-two hours in the open air, without tents or covering, regardless of the sun and rain, and in the very presence of a watchful and desperate foe, manfully repelling every assault, and patiently awaiting my orders to storm the fortifications. No general ever commanded a braver or a better army. It is composed of the best blood and the bravest men of Missouri.

When nearly every one, officers and men, behaved so well, as is known to your Excellency, (who was present with the army during the whole period embraced in this report,) it is impossible to make special mention of individuals, without seemingly making invidious distinctions. But I may be permitted to express my personal obligations to my volunteer aids, as well as to my staff, for their efficient services and prompt attention to all my orders.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your Excellency's obedient servant,

Sterling Price, Major-General Commanding.

Chicago Tribune narrative.

On Sunday, September 1st, the Irish Brigade, Colonel James A. Mulligan, who were then in a partially intrenched camp at Jefferson City, were ordered to proceed to Lexington, Lafayette County, one hundred and sixty miles up the river, to reinforce the troops already at that place, under Colonel Peabody, consisting of several hundred Home Guards, a few Kansas troops, and a portion of the Missouri Eighth regiment, Colonel White, with seven hundred of the First regiment Illinois Cavalry, Colonel T. M. Marshall. These latter had preceded Colonel Mulligan's force one week in their advance from Jefferson City.

Col. Mulligan's arrival with the Irish Brigade swelled the force at Lexington to about three thousand five hundred men, Col. Mulligan taking the command as senior officer. The brigade reached Lexington on Monday, Sept. 9th, and found the attack by the enemy, under Gen. Price, imminently threatening. No time was lost in the work of intrenching their position, chosen about midway between the new and old towns of Lexington, which are about a mile apart, connected by a scattering settlement. Midway stands a solid brick edifice built for a college, and about this a small breastwork had been already begun.

By Col. Mulligan's orders this was extended, and the troops set about the construction of an earthwork, ten feet in height, with a ditch eight feet in width, enclosing a large area capable of containing a force of ten thousand men. The army train consisting of numerous mule teams, six mules to a team, was brought within this. The supply of intrenching tools being inadequate, a thorough search was made through both towns, and every description of suitable or available implements appropriated. The work was pushed with vigor, the heavy muscle of the brigade telling well as the brave fellows toiled in the trenches. This went on for three days, or until Thursday, the 12th, at which time the portion of the works assigned to the Irish Brigade was well advanced, that of the Home Guard, being still weak on the west, or New Lexington side.

Of Lexington, it should be said in advance, that it has been considered a most important point by the Confederate forces, and their preparations for its capture and occupancy abundantly declare this. Among other proofs that it was a covert prize, was the fact that Claib. Jackson and the Legislature had been in session there as late as only the week previous to the arrival of Col. Mulligan, holding their session in the Court House, whence Claib. fulminated a proclamation counter to that of Gen. Fremont. When this worthy body prudently retired before the Federal troops, they did so in such haste that eight hundred thousand dollars in gold coin, and the State seals left in the vault of the bank, fell into the hands of Col. Peabody.

The college building within the fortification, became Colonel Mulligan's Headquarters. The magazine and treasure were stored in the cellar and suitably protected. The hospital of our troops was located just outside the intrenchments, in a northwesterly direction. The river at that point is about half a mile wide, and about half a mile distant from the fortifications. The bluff there is high and abrupt, the steamboat landing being at New Lexington.

After these several days of anxious watching and unremitting toil by the little force, on the afternoon of Thursday the 12th inst., scouts and advanced pickets driven in, reported the near approach of the rebels. At this time Col. Mulligan had a portion of his small artillery in readiness. We had only six brass pieces and two howitzers, but having no shell, the latter were useless. Two pieces belonged to the Kansas City company, and were worked by them splendidly. The cavalry company had only their side-arms and pistols, and having no carbines or rifles, could do nothing at long range. [73]

Several mines were laid in front of the intrenchments by our men.

The attack on Thursday the 12th, was led by Gen. Rains in person, with a battery of nine pieces of artillery on the angle least prepared to resist assault. The enemy were repulsed with heavy loss. In the fight Companies I, Capt. Fitzgerald, K, Capt. John Quirk, and G, Capt. Phillips, did gallant service.

As stated, the hospital had been located on the bank below the new town, and contained about twenty-four patients. The attacking party did not spare or respect this building. They were met by the Montgomery Guards, Capt. Gleeson, who made a brave resistance, but were driven back with the loss of twenty-five of their men killed and wounded. Capt. Gleeson was shot through the jaw and badly wounded. The gallant Montgomery made many of the Texans bite the dust. This fight was very fierce. Some of the sick were actually bayoneted or sabred in their cots. Rev. Father Butler, an esteemed Catholic clergyman of this city, and the chaplain of the Irish Brigade, was wounded in the forehead by a ball which passed across it, laying open the skin. He was taken prisoner, as also was Dr. Winer, surgeon of the brigade, thus depriving the regiment of the valuable services of both, during the dark and trying days that followed, preceding the surrender.

The issue of the 12th, warned the enemy that they had a task before them which was no easy one, and they commenced on Friday morning a new system of approaches. They scoured the entire region for its staple, hemp in bales. These were thoroughly wetted as a safeguard against red-hot shot, and then were skilfully used to mask the batteries of the rebels, and rolled forward as they made their advances.

The fight went on thus for several days, the enemy bringing more of their artillery into action. Following the skirmish of Thursday, Mulligan ordered a portion of the old town on the east to be burned to prevent the rebels from gaining therefrom the advantage of shelter. Meanwhile, the little garrison already worn by labor on the intrenchments, began to look eagerly for the coming of reinforcements.

On the 10th, Col. Mulligan had sent Lieut. Rains of Co. K of the Brigade, with a squad of twelve men, on the steamer Sunshine, to Jefferson City, one hundred and sixty miles distant, pressing the necessity for reinforcements. Forty miles below, the Sunshine was captured, and Rains and his men brought back to New Lexington, and lodged as prisoners in the old Fair Ground. Other messengers were sent off to guard against the failure of any one.

The enemy were in sufficient force to throw out parties to intercept the Federal troops en route for the relief of Col. Mulligan. Thus, a detachment of five thousand strong, met and turned back one thousand five hundred Iowa troops from Richmond, sixteen miles from the river, they retreating, it is reported, to St. Joseph. Our informant says heavy cannonading was heard at a distance several times by them, in various directions from Lexington, which they understood to be encounters between the enemy and these relief parties.

The situation of the Federal troops grew more desperate as day after day passed. Within their lines were picketed about the wagons and trains a large number of horses and mules, nearly three thousand in all, now a serious cause of care and anxiety, for as shot and shell plunged among them, many of the animals were killed and wounded, and from the struggles of these latter, the danger of a regular stampede was imminent. The havoc in the centre of the intrenchment was immense. Wagons were knocked to pieces, stores scattered and destroyed, and the ground strewn with dead horses and mules.

On Wednesday, the 17th, an evil, from the first apprehended, fell upon Colonel Mulligan's command. They were cut off from the river, and the water gave out. Fortunately a heavy rain came at intervals, greatly to their relief. But to show how severe the straits of the men, the fact may be stated of instances occurring where soldiers held their blankets spread out until thoroughly wet, and then wrung them into their camp dishes, carefully saving the priceless fluid thus obtained. Rations also began to grow short. The fighting at this time, from the 16th to the 21st, knew little cessation. The nights were brilliant moonlight, and all night long the roar of the guns continued, with an occasional sharp sortie and skirmish outside the works.

From the first but one spirit pervaded our troops, and that was no thought or word of surrender, except among some of the Home Guards, who had done the least share of the work and the fighting. The cavalry behaved nobly, and could the full details be written up, some of their sharp, brave charges on the enemy's guns, would shine with any battle exploits on record.

Gen. Price sent Col. Mulligan a summons to surrender, to which the gallant commander sent a refusal, saying, “If you want us, you must take us.” But the defection and disheartenment of the Home Guard intensified daily, and on Friday, the 21st, while Col. Mulligan was giving his attention to some matters in another portion of the camp, the white flag was raised, at his own instance, by Major Becker of the Home Guards, from the portion of the intrenchment assigned to him.

Capt. Simpson, of the Earl Rifles, called Col. Mulligan's attention to Maj. Becker's action instantly, and the Jackson Guard, Capt. McDermott, of Detroit, were sent to take down that flag, which was done. The heaviest part of the fight of the day followed in a charge upon the nearest battery of the enemy, the Illinois Cavalry suffering severely.

The Home Guards then left the outer work and retreated within the line of the inner intrenchments, about the college buildings, refusing to fight longer, and here, again, raised the white flag, this time from the centre of the [74] fortifications, when the fire of the enemy slackened and ceased. Under this state of affairs, Col. Mulligan, calling his officers into council, decided to capitulate, and Capt. McDermott went out to the enemy's lines, with a handkerchief tied to a ramrod, and a parley took place. Maj. Moore, of the brigade, was sent to Gen. Price's Headquarters, at New Lexington, to know the terms of capitulation. These were made unconditional, the officers to be retained as prisoners of war, the. men to be allowed to depart with their personal property, surrendering their arms and accoutrements.

Reluctantly this was acceded to, and the surrender took place. At four P. M. on Saturday the Federal forces, having laid down their arms, were marched out of the intrenchments to the tune of “Dixie” played by the rebel bands. They left behind them their arms and accoutrements, reserving only their clothing. The boys of the brigade, many of them, wept to leave behind their colors, each company in the brigade having its own standard presented to it by its friends. At the surrender, the muster-rolls of the companies were taken to Gen. Price's Headquarters, the list of officers made out, and these ordered to report themselves as prisoners of war.

The scenes at the capitulation were extraordinary. Col. Mulligan shed tears. The men threw themselves upon the ground, raved and stormed in well nigh frenzy, demanding to be led out again and “finish the thing.” In Col. Marshall's Cavalry regiment, the feeling was equally great. Much havoc had already been done among their horses during the siege, and but little more than half of them remained. Numbers of the privates actually shot their horses dead on the spot, unwilling that their companions in the campaign should now fall into the enemy's hands.

The privates, numbering some one thousand five hundred strong, were first made to take the oath not to serve against the Confederate States, when they were put across the river, and in charge of Gen. Rains marched on Saturday night to Richmond, sixteen miles, whence on Sunday they marched to Hamilton, a station on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, where they were declared free to go where they pleased.

While on this march they experienced generous and humane treatment, both from Gen. Rains and from the residents along the route — such is the statement of several of our men. Gen. Rains ordered an entire flock of sheep to be given to them, and there was no time lost in apportionment or appropriation. The inhabitants also liberally gave them provisions. Wagons were provided for those unable to walk, either from wounds or fatigue, and the whole party thus came through with extraordinary expedition.

Word was sent to Gen. Prentiss at Quincy, and means of transportation provided by which the men were brought down to Quincy, where they arrived on Monday. There were with the force only eight women, Col. Mulligan and several of his officers having left their wives at Jefferson City.

The prisoners will be taken to Springfield and held for exchange, rank for rank. Claib. Jackson came into Lexington on Saturday, it is reported, bringing his travelling Legislature with him.

We have thus hastily thrown together the main features of the protracted defence of Lexington, without detail, and almost without touching upon the question of loss. That of the enemy is variously estimated at from one thousand to two thousand killed and wounded, and on the side of the Federals from three hundred to five hundred. Of our men one hundred and forty were left in the hospital at Lexington. A full list of the killed and wounded must be awaited.

Colonel Mulligan was wounded on the last day of the fight by a ball through the calf of the leg, and a flesh wound on the right arm, from a grape shot. We have already referred to the injury of Captain Gleeson, received in the defence of the hospital. In the same encounter, among the killed, was John Saville of Chicago, private in Company G, Irish Brigade; also Corporal Andrew Hill of the Jackson Guards, and Cornelius O'Leary. Sergeant Moony was shot through the shoulder. Private Morris was instantly killed by a round shot, half his head being carried away.

Colonel Marshall is wounded, a ball having struck him in the chest, inflicting a serious wound; James Conway, the hospital steward of the Irish Brigade, is killed. Our last night's despatches in the telegraph column, give a continued list of the killed and wounded as far as made up last evening.

Among the lamented dead is Colonel White of St. Louis, of the Missouri Eighth, a gallant officer who did his duty nobly, and was mortally wounded in the last day's fight.

The incidents of the eventful week so sadly terminated would fill a volume if written out. In one charge on the enemy's battery, our boys captured a flag which one of our informants assures us will be brought to Chicago.

The inhabitants of Quincy turned out in generous style to receive and refresh the worn and weary soldiers. An immense store of provisions awaited their arrival at that city, and no word or token of welcome and sympathy was lacking.

But one sentiment prevails in the ranks of our gallant Irish Brigade, and that is to demand that they be re-officered and led into the field, to revenge their reverses and win back their noble commander. And they will do it. Let them be generously cared for, for they have wrought well and gloriously. They will remain at Quincy until they are paid off. Let them be at once re-armed and accoutred, and this time with the best that can fall to the soldier's lot. They have shown themselves worthy of the best.


Another account: an “eye-witness” communicated the following to the Missouri Republican:

The fight or siege really commenced on Wednesday, the 11th, at which time an advance force of three thousand men, under Gen. Harris, advanced upon Lexington from the south. Lexington at this time was held by Col. Mulligan, of the Irish Brigade, with a force of two thousand six hundred and forty men, made up as follows:

Irish Brigade, Col. Mulligan,800
Home Guards, Col. White500
Thirteenth Missouri, Col. Peabody,840
First Illinois Cavalry, Col. Marshall,500

Upon the advance of Gen. Harris, Col. Marshall's cavalry and the Thirteenth Missouri under Lieut.-Col. Hatcher, were ordered out to meet them. A sharp and decisive action occurred Wednesday evening at a point some two miles south of the city, and near the Fair Ground, which resulted in considerable loss to the Confederates, owing to their having fallen into an ambuscade prepared for them by the Thirteenth Missouri. The Federal loss was small — only some four being killed and a small proportionate number being wounded.

The action would have been still more decisive had not the Thirteenth regiment, by some mistake, been ordered to fall back by Lieutenant-Colonel Hatcher. From this time till Wednesday, the 18th, no affairs of importance occurred, the fighting being confined to skirmishes between the hostile pickets. Much powder was burned in this way, and much lead wasted by the amateurs on both sides — each exhausted ingenuity in crawling up on and devising means to get a shot at the other.

Tuesday night, however, the aspect of affairs was changed by the arrival of immense reinforcements to the Confederates, by which their three thousand became, in an incredibly short space of time, swelled to thirty-five thousand with thirteen pieces of artillery. In the mean time the Federals had not been idle. To the northeast of Lexington, and included within its limits, are a large college and grounds, including an area of perhaps fifteen acres. Around the college, which stands rather upon the eastern side of the grounds, had been constructed a redan of immense strength, with embrasures, and a banquette for barbette guns.

The parapets were of immense thickness, and were composed of dirt with sod revetments — the whole being perfectly impregnable to cannon shot or shell. Around, in every direction, the Federals, under Captain Coney, of the Irish Brigade, proceeded to throw up earthworks, till the outer line of the intrenchments, swept away from the redan, including a seminary or boarding-house that stands some fifty yards nearer the river than the college, reaching nearly down to a fine brick residence belonging to Col. Anderson, that stands between the last-named house and the river-creeping well down the ravines and gullies that lie between the grounds and river on the west, and extending up among the wooded shores that bound the college grounds on the north. The earthworks were simple breastworks, protected by traverses, with a ditch behind them for the cover of the soldiers.

On the morning of Wednesday, the pickets of the Federals were driven in by the over-whelming forces of the enemy, a battery of two pieces was planted by the Confederates, at a distance of some six or eight hundred yards, on the street running south from the college grounds — another battery was placed to the southwest, across an immense ravine that separates the grounds from the city, another was planted on the northwest, and a fourth on the north, and then, at a given signal from Gen. Price, the whole thirteen pieces opened at once their fiery throats upon the Federals. The latter had one four, one twelve, and three six-pounders, and getting into position, they too joined the chorus that went thundering over the country with a volume that shook the very foundations of the earth.

To the west the Confederates erected an immense breastwork of hemp bales, and another in the timber at the north — behind these were posted batteries and sharpshooters, while every tree, rock, elevation, fence, gully, house, and obstruction in the vicinity of the works afforded shelter to a rifleman. The Confederate forces absolutely swarmed in every direction, and every instant the sharp crack of a thousand guns could be heard, as the concealed secessionists “blazed away” at every thing within the work that showed a sign of life. Wednesday the Confederates obtained possession of Colonel Anderson's house and instantly filled it with their sharpshooters.

They clambered up on the roof, got behind the chimneys, fired from the windows, doorways, cistern — any thing that would afford them protection. This was only some thirty or forty yards from the outer line of intrenchments, and they were able to annoy the Federals considerably, so much so toward night that Col. Mulligan ordered the house to be cleared, which was done in a twinkling at double-quick by a platoon of the Irish Brigade, who routed them at the point of the bayonet.

During Wednesday some of the outer works on the north side were taken by the enemy; the Federals retiring in good order to an inner line, and obtaining shelter with no great loss. In doing this, an American flag was captured; but in the course of the night this was balanced by a party of Col. Marshall's cavalry, who succeeded in taking a Confederate flag from one of the outer trenches.

The tremendous cannonade of the Confederates, which was kept up all day Wednesday, did no damage whatever to the persons of the Federals. I could only ascertain a single case of loss of life by cannon shot in the entire three days; but they tore great limbs from the trees, [76] opened many huge chasms in the beautiful college building, and quite as frequently as otherwise, the big balls went whizzing harmlessly over the Federal works, and dropped somewhere in the very places occupied by the Confederate forces, with a result best known to themselves.

Thursday the cannonade amounted to but little — it was mainly confined to the twelve-pounder of the Confederates, with an occasional reply from the besieged. But the cracking of small-arms was incessant; and so thick and close were the enemy about the works, and so accurate the aim of their sharpshooters, that a man, a head, or a cap shown for a single instant above the works, was sure to be saluted with fifty balls that never went many inches from the mark.

Thursday evening the enemy sent in a flag of truce and requested the removal of some wounded Federals from the house of Col. Anderson. A truce of two hours was agreed on; the wounded were carried down town, and the opportunity was embraced by many of the Federals to go down to the river and fill their canteens with water.

Thursday night the enemy fired hot shot into the college, but did no damage. The ammunition was kept in a subterranean apartment, thickly covered with dirt and sods. Friday morning a brisk cannonading was opened, and the fusilade of small-arms begun and kept up incessantly till afternoon. About one o'clock, Major Becker, of the Home Guards, ran out a white flag, at his own suggestion; and which being perceived by the Federals, he was instantly complimented by a dozen shots — none of which, fortunately or unfortunately, happened to hit him. However, a parley ensued, and finally it was agreed to surrender; the officers to retain their side-arms, and all private property to be respected.

Notwithstanding the gallant unwillingness of Colonel Mulligan to surrender, affairs had reached a condition that rendered such an operation an imperative necessity. With the exception of the little water obtained while the wounded were being removed the night before, the command had had nothing to drink for forty-eight hours. In addition to this, they had no round shot except a few rough-hewn specimens manufactured at a neighbor foundry by Captain McNulty, of the cavalry. They had a few shells, but they were unfilled, and when filled no one could manufacture fuzes.

Even with shell ready for firing, they had only two miserable little affairs which they called mortars, but which were more properly machines for testing the strength of powder. The muskets of the command were generally the old smooth-bore, with balls of the wrong calibre. The cavalry were put in the trenches to fight, and had nothing to do it with except horse pistols.

The Home Guards, as a general thing, sneaked into the trenches and refused to fight at all; the cannon were useless for want of ammunition; dead horses strewing the ground in every direction produced a most intolerable odor: these, and perhaps other similar circumstances, characterized the condition of affairs at about the time of the capitulation, and were sufficient not only to drive a man into surrender, but into suicide or insanity.

At all events, the surrender was not made particularly because they were not reinforced; for the force there could have held the place a month with the bayonet alone, had the hordes of Price been trebled. But the want of water was a serious and irremediable evil. Men can stand fatigue, neglect, cannon shot, any thing; but thirst is an enemy of a different character--one that admits of no delay.

I am forced then to conclude that, though Colonel Mulligan wept at the necessity which forced him to surrender, stern necessity, his duty to his men and his country, left him no other alternative.

The terms of surrender were scarcely agreed upon ere the thousands that were lurking in the timber and behind the breastworks swarmed into the grounds and rent the air with their vivas of jubliation. Almost as quickly, too, half of the officers' trunks were broken open, their contents abstracted, and simultaneously with these movements, a shot-gun hero clambered to the roof of the college and tore down the American flag, which still, in spite of shot and shell, had fluttered unharmed over the seat of conflict.

That same night the Irish Brigade were sworn not to take up arms against the Confederate States or the State of Missouri, and then, with their clothes on their backs and nothing to eat, they were put across the river and left to find their way home as best they could. The next day the Thirteenth Missouri regiment was served in the same manner, and Sunday night the balance, consisting of the Home Guards, were also put over — all in their march down the street to the river being accompanied by the liberal curses of the Confederate troops who lined the streets. The officers were taken down to the Virginia Hotel, and allowed the freeom of the city upon giving their parole of honor not to escape.

The scenes around the streets of Lexington, Friday, after the surrender, beggar all description. The howls of joy and drunken jubilation coming from thirty thousand throats, made up a sound scarcely less than when, two days before, eighteen pieces of artillery and ten thousand small-arms were shattering the air in one hideous chorus. The officers of the Confederates were generally gentlemen, and behaved as such; but as for the common soldiers and their course that evening, I don't believe it could be equalled were all hell to be turned loose for a general carnival.

Whiskey, of course, was there — in men's brains, in their eyes, brandished in bottles, galloping “like mad” along the street, hoarsely [77] bellowing over the grand victory, cursing, blaspheming, yelling, babbling, hurrahing, lying in the gutter, insulting prisoners, quarrelling among friends — this and more did whiskey — the grand moving spirit that won the battle, and then rejoiced over its success.

Very true, scarcely a hundred of all the Confederate troops were uniformed; scarcely two had guns alike — no two exhibited the same trappings. Here went one fellow in a shirt of brilliant green, on his side an immense cavalry sabre, in his belt two navy revolvers and a bowie knife, and slung from his shoulder a Sharp's rifle. Right by his side was another, upon whose hip dangled a light medical sword, in his hand a double-barrelled shot-gun, in his boot an immense scythe, on his heel the inevitable spur — his whole appearance, from tattered boot, through which gazed audaciously his toes, indicating that the plunderings of many a different locality made up his whole. Generally the soldiers were armed with shot-guns or squirrel rifles; some had the old flint-lock muskets, a few had Minie guns, and others Sharp's or Maynard rifles, while all, to the poorest, had horses.

The very elite of the Confederate forces were there--Generals Price, Rains, Slack, Parsons, Harris, Green, Hardee, were all there--Colonels Saunders, Payn, Beal, Turner, Craven, Clay, and in short, I believe the balance of the thirty-five thousand men, all either colonels or majors, as I was introduced to no one who was not either the one or the other.

The treatment extended by the Confederate officers to the prisoners was both humane and courteous — they protected them, when possible, from insult and plundering, and as much as possible extended to them the courtesies with which a chivalrous enemy always treats a conquered foe.

Of the losses on both sides, I will not pretend to speak with accuracy. That of the Federals has been given — that of the Confederates is not known, even by themselves. Hundreds of the men who fought on the Confederate side were attached to no command — they came in when they pleased, fought or not as they pleased, left when ready, and if killed were buried on the spot, were missed from no muster-roll, and hence would not be reckoned in the aggregate loss.

The Confederates vary in their statements--one said they lost sixty killed, another said their loss was at least equal to the Federals, while still another admitted to me that the taking of the works cost them a thousand men, in killed and wounded. From the very large number of buildings in the town from which the hospital flag was flying, I am inclined to believe that the last admission is close upon the truth.

I saw one case that shows the Confederate style of fighting. An old Texan, dressed in buckskin and armed with a long rifle, used to go up to the works every morning about seven o'clock, carrying his dinner in a tin pail. Taking a good position, he banged away at the Federals till noon, then rested an hour, ate his dinner after which he resumed operations till six P. M., when he returned home to supper and a night's sleep. The next day, a little before seven, saw him, dinner and rifle in hand, trudging up street to begin again his regular day's work — and in this style he continued till the surrender.

But little damage was done to the city. Col. Anderson's house was literally sprinkled with grape and musket shot, and the brick house south of the college was burnt to the ground; another lost its roof and contents, while all in that immediate neighborhood retain more or less marks of the contest.

The dead of the Federals were not buried till the next day after the surrender; and a more loathsome sight than these blackened, hideous corpses I never saw or imagined. Some seventy horses were also killed, and these two were as hideous and disgusting in many respects as the poor remains of humanity that lay about them — all poisoned the air with the stench of decomposition, and shocked terribly the sensibilities by their ghastly wounds, their agonized positions, and loathsome evidences of decay which characterized them all.

Leavenworth conservative account.

Samuel C. Gamble and William H. Cutter, of the Missouri Thirteenth, Col. Peabody, arrived at Leavenworth from Lexington. The regiment, numbering six hundred and fifty men, left Kansas City on the 3d inst., in company with one hundred and fifty men under Col. Van Horn, and marched to Lexington. On the 7th, they went to Warrensburg and took a lot of coin from the banks, and returned on the 11th. The whole number of troops then in Lexington, was two thousand six hundred, and no reinforcements arrived up to the time of surrender, on Friday last.

Besides their own force, there were nine hundred men belonging to Col. Mulligan's Irish Brigade, (of Chicago,) Col. Marshall's cavalry, and the Missouri Home Guards.

On the morning of the 12th, skirmishing commenced between Mulligan's men and the enemy, and Companies A and E of Peabody's command, attacked the main body of rebels. The enemy on this day was estimated at thirteen thousand. We fired about ten rounds each and retreated; four other companies advanced and fired once, but were opened upon by artillery and compelled to return. There was a severe cannonading which lasted about two hours. There was but little firing of musketry on this day. About dark the enemy stopped firing and retreated.

We immediately commenced throwing up intrenchments, and continued the work all night. We did not quit this position during the following days, and nothing but starvation or the hemp bale movement (which was the actual [78] cause of our surrender) could have forced us to leave it. There were three cisterns inside our lines and two springs near by on the bank toward the river. Our men were often shot at while going to the springs, but there was only one day when we actually suffered from water. We had about seventy-five wagons in the lines, and about three hundred horses and mules belonging to them.

On the morning of the 13th, they brought in a flag of truce — we were told that their object was to get time to bury their dead, of which they must have had a very large number. Our loss on the previous day was four killed and eighteen wounded. Up to the 18th, fighting was confined to the pickets. We continued to work on our fortifications. The enemy was constantly receiving reinforcements. On that morning, at about eight o'clock, they planted cannon, six in all, on three sides of us.

Fighting immediately commenced, and lasted nine hours. On our side artillery and cavalry were chiefly engaged. The contest of that day closed by our cavalry making a charge, driving the enemy back and capturing their flag. Thursday, the 18th, was almost a repetition of the last day's work, except that about half of our infantry were engaged.

The enemy was posted on a declivity between us and the river. The “lay of the land” was such, that they could come very near to us without being discovered. They tried three times to creep upon us and scale the embankment, but whenever their brisk firing was commenced, it was answered by our artillery, and they were compelled to fall back.

We had hard fighting on Friday--when their numbers had swelled to thirty-five thousand--up to the time of the surrender. At two o'clock P. M., they fired two cannon balls into our hospital, killing two of the wounded. Four unsuccessful charges were made on our lines. The fifth was made under the cover of hemp bales, two in height, and along a line about forty yards in extent. The bales were slowly rolled before them, and neither bullets nor cannon balls could pierce the hempen fortification or stop the steady and fatal approach of the rebel “anaconda.” It came within fifty yards of us, and our men continued the fire. When they had approached thus near, a captain or lieutenant in the Lexington Home Guards ran up a flag of truce. We knew nothing of it in our part of the field, and continued at work until we saw that the enemy had ceased firing.

The surrender speedily followed, when we were made to take an oath that if found again in arms against Treason, the penalty would be death.--Neosho Register, Oct. 3.

Another account.

The following private letter from one of the Home Guards, who fought under Col. Mulligan, gives a highly interesting account of the fight at Lexington:--

Lexington, Sept. 21, 1861.
my dear friend — You will receive, before you see this, the intelligence of the surrender of the garrison at Lexington. The fight which occurred on Thursday, of last week, was but preliminary to the greater fight which has since taken place, and which resulted in the unconditional surrender of the post on yesterday at five o'clock P. M.

On Wednesday last, our town and fort were invested by a force variously estimated at from twenty thousand to thirty thousand men, under the command of Price, Rains, Parsons, Slack, and who else I know not, but certain it is that the entire army of Jackson is here. The fight was begun by the pickets as early as eight o'clock, and was continued during the whole of that day and nearly the whole of the night. Early on Thursday morning it was resumed, and lasted to a late hour of the evening, when a flag of truce was sent in proposing terms of surrender, which were at once rejected by the officer in command.

By the dawn of day on the following morning, the fight was resumed, and during that day many attempts were made to carry the place by assault; in every instance, however, the enemy meeting a signal repulse, with great loss. In the mean time, the water had given out. Indeed as early as Wednesday, it was announced that the water had given out, and the men were warned not to eat salt provisions for fear of provoking thirst — and for want of water, no bread could be baked. Thus for three days and nights did the brave men endure the tortures of continual watching, of hunger and thirst, till in many instances they actually fainted in the trenches. Add to all this, the fact that there were near two thousand horses inside the fortifications, hundreds of which had been shot in the early part of the fight and could not be removed, and were putrefying in the sun, till the stench became insupportable, and you can form some idea of the horrors with which we were surrounded, to say nothing of the dangers to which we were continually subjected, by the firing of volleys of artillery and musketry from a foe concealed behind houses, banks, and trees.

Late on Friday evening, the final charge was made from behind hemp bales, which had been rolled up for breastworks, and the fire was so heavy as to force a part of Col. Marshall's command--two companies of Home Guards and a company of the Irish Brigade--to retreat inside of the second breastworks. In this charge one of the cannon of the Home Guards and a brass piece belonging to the Irish Brigade, were captured by Harris's command. At this critical juncture, a detachment was sent by Col. Mulligan to sustain the retreating forces, who returned to the charge, sallied outside the breast-works, drove the enemy before them, and captured both pieces of artillery! Immediately after this charge, a white flag was sent in by General Price, and Colonel Mulligan, in view [79] of the condition of his men, surrendered the post.

A more gallant defence is not on record, and although suffering the extreme of hunger and thirst, the brave officers and soldiers shed bitter tears at the stern necessity which forced them to strike their flag.

The thought that their Government had neglected them in their need, and had turned a deaf ear to all their supplications for assistance, was even more painful than the physical torments they endured.

Of the killed and wounded I can scarcely venture an estimate. Those who profess to be informed, tell me that the entire Federal loss does not exceed one hundred and fifty in killed and wounded, of which only forty-two are yet dead, while the loss of the State forces is certainly not less than twelve hundred, of which at least five hundred are killed.

Nearly every house in town is a hospital. The saddest want prevails everywhere throughout the country. Starvation is staring us in the face; and men who six months ago were reported wealthy, have not the means of providing for their families a single day.

May God bless you, and avert from you and from your city the extremity of suffering with which we have been visited.

Ever yours,


St. Louis Democrat, September 26.

Diary of Lieut. McClure.

By the politeness of the wife of Lieutenant Thomas D. McClure, of Company D, 23d regiment Illinois Volunteers, of Earlville, Lasalle County, we are enabled to print a full and circumstantial narrative of the siege and surrender of Lexington, from a well-written diary kept by Lieut. McClure. The narrative begins on the 1st of September, the day on which Col. Mulligan commenced his march to Lexington. Although the attack on the intrenchments did not begin till the 19th, the place was invested by Gen. Price on the 12th, and the skirmishing of pickets began then. We, therefore, take up Lieut. McClure's narrative on that day:

Sept. 12--Six o'clock A. M.---Great excitement all night, rumors constantly coming in and going out; hark, now the ball is opening! Company K, Capt. Quirk, went out about four A. M., and now we hear their cheers and rallying cries; also the discharge of their guns. The shots are becoming more frequent; there goes a discharge of at least fifty guns, and still another. I think that they will check the advance guard of the rebels. We are anxious to meet them, although they have five men to our one--most fearful odds. Our intrenchments are only begun. If we could have one day more we could complete the work.

Eight o'clock.--The firing has ceased; our pickets have returned and report that they met the rebel picket, but it did not stand their fire but fled into the cornfield. We killed twenty-six and brought in two prisoners. Two companies have now gone out. Co. D is placed as guard to the post. Three other companies are in the ditch, working with all their energy.

Four o'clock.--Here come the scouts with the report that the rebels are within one mile. Our men are all in rank waiting their first appearance.

Seven o'clock P. M.--The rebels have ceased firing for the night. Our little embankment has done us great good. But two more killed and seven severely, perhaps fatally wounded. The fight was principally with the artillery, for their forces were in the woods and some distance from us. Our men fought well. It is not very pleasant to have cannon balls flying all around and over me. One poor fellow had his head taken off with a ball, another one both legs. A ball passed over us, went through three mules which stood in range, and they did not impede the momentum of the ball apparently in the least, but it went tearing, crashing along, like some infuriated thing. Our men discharged from one cannon one hundred and ten shots in an hour. We had three pieces at work; they had the same number. We did them great damage, so much that they are now retiring. They do not aim well, for most of the balls pass too high. Our last shot disabled one of their pieces.

Sept. 13--Six o'clock A. M.--The rebels have not yet appeared this morning, although we have orders to remain on our posts round the embankments. I have been up all night. Our men worked on the dyke until two this morning, then they lay down in the ditch to sleep while I stood sentry and “look-out” for them. It now begins to rain.

Three o'clock P. M.--The rain has just ceased, but from appearances will soon begin again. We have stood in this ditch all the time and are cold, wet, and weary. The rebels move round like wild geese. We can't tell where to look for them. We are now better prepared, having a good dyke and embankment. We also cut down some corn-fields, and had to burn down seven dwellings which afforded them shelter and hid them from our view. They have sent in two flags of truce, both (we think) mere strategy, which they seem to practise very much. One was for the exchange of prisoners; the other for permission to bury their dead, which they say number three hundred. It is amusing to hear the rumors in our camp. It would take me a day to write all I hear in an hour. A prominent one this morning was that McCulloch and Rains are here with Price, and that they are retreating from Siegel, who is now closing in on their rear. I have no faith in it, yet we cannot tell, for we have had no news since we left Jefferson.

Six o'clock.--The rebels send word they are about to take this place and dance on the ground to-morrow evening. Our answer was, Come and take it. They are now planting their batteries; one is opposite Company D.

Sept. 14--Six o'clock A. M.--We expected to [80] see the sun rise upon a scene of blood, carnage, and the furious din and noise of battle; but strange! not a rebel is in sight this morning. What does it mean? They probably want to induce us to come outside, which we will not do yet. They are waiting for more cannon or men, which seems ludicrous, or they are making a retreat; either of these motives looks ridiculous to us, yet one of them must be their plan, for they must be afraid of us, judging from their present actions and the bold assuming manner they first advanced upon us. A colonel, whom we hold as a prisoner, says that they thought there were only the Home Guard here, (one thousand.) They did not think the “damned Irish Brigade” had arrived, and all they had to do was to march up, fire a few rounds and then enter the grounds. Their faith proved false this time. We were formed in line three times to meet them last night, but they did not come. They want that gold and State seal we have. No doubt we will have a bloody, fearful contest yet. We mortally wounded Gen. Price's son (who is an officer) in the early part of the engagement. Col. Mulligan shows all the coolness and ability of a veteran.

Here is a sigh for those who love me,
     And a smile for those who hate;
And whatever skies above me,
     Here is a heart for every fate.

If we had reinforcements now, this rebel army would be in our power. We could both rout and destroy them. It is a great pity that Gen. Fremont has not sent forward more men. If we are finally beaten it will rest upon him, not us. I now reiterate, that this war could be speedily closed if they would pitch in, but it seems that our policy is to make a long, lingering thing of it.

There has been constant firing far away to the southwest of us since yesterday afternoon. We are full of conjectures, but have no facts.

Sept. 15--Sunday, Nine o'clock A. M.--We expected an attack last night, but all was still. We destroyed some more buildings, one of which exploded, and from the noise there must have been a very large amount of powder concealed in it. Oh! how we wish for two or three more regiments! We could then clean them out; but we dare not try it now. Look at our condition, and we are no worse than many others. Of our brigade there are fit for duty eight hundred and sixty men; Home Guards, six hundred and seventy; artillerymen, seventy; Illinois Cavalry, eight hundred; Home Guard Cavalry, three hundred--making about two thousand seven hundred men, all told, to hold one of the most important posts in Missouri, which is now surrounded by a force that numbers not less than eleven thousand, and some rumors say thirteen thousand. It is wearing us out in working and watching. We now are doing a work that ought to require a force three times as strong to do. It is a sad wrong, and disheartens me when I think it all over. The city is in smoke — more buildings on fire. I am sleepy, tired, and sad.

Seven o'clock P. M.--Pickets just came in and inform us that Price was reinforced this morning by Gen. Harris with three thousand men, and several large pieces of cannon. They intend to open on us in the morning. It certainly looks like death; but mark me now, this will be as hard a battle as will occur during the war.

Sept. 16--Seven o'clock A. M.--No attack yet! We were not disturbed during the night; I hope they will soon get a “good ready.” They sent in a white flag last evening with two propositions: one was, if we would promise to fight no more in this State, they would take the same oath. The other was, if we would evacuate, they would permit us to leave with the honors of war. Our reply was: “The Irish Brigade makes no compromises and never surrenders, but if you give us a few more days we will drive you out of the State.” Will it be believed that seventeen thousand men hesitate to meet us, two thousand seven hundred; their force only fourteen thousand stronger than ours! They feel ashamed of the first fight, for we killed three hundred and wounded six hundred; our loss was now four dead and four wounded. We look for them all the time; we are impatient; but what more can we do? If we had the Washington news, we would be more content; but here is our world, we hear nothing that occurs five miles from our post; it is hard, but we can stand it.

Eight o'clock P. M.--This is a beautiful night; so light that I am lying on the top of our breastworks writing by moon and starlight. No enemy yet, although they got one thousand five hundred more men and cannon to-day from Booneville, and still they seem afraid.

Sept. 17--Seven o'clock P. M.--Nothing unusual took place last night. We all slept as well as could be expected. There is a continual exchange of shots this morning between our and their pickets. What the result will be we cannot tell, but we think they are advancing on us. I hope they will attempt to storm us. We have means of defence they have no idea of, and there will be now. Here comes another prisoner; I must see him; he is a smart fellow, has some twenty-five letters for the rebels, and only by chance fell into our hands. He passed all our pickets but the last one, the extreme outside picket, who he thought was a rebel. He asked him where Price's army was quartered. Our picket told him to surrender, and brought him in. Gov. Jackson is here, also Gen. Harris, and many of the prominent rebels. This county, Lafayette, is the hottest county in the State: in fact, the adjoining counties are almost a unit for the South.

Eleven o'clock.--Another flag of truce, bearing the humane notice, that if we don't leave in three hours, they must drive us out. Their feelings are too tender. Why do they pity us [81] so much? We cannot return the feeling. We think they design making this city their capital, for they held a Congress yesterday, so rumor says, but I cannot vouch for the truth of the report.

Seven o'clock P. M.--We expected to have them begin the fight to-day. There has been constant firing all day between our pickets and theirs. Still they have given us another day to make ourselves safe, and this day's work adds just so much more to our strength, and just so many more names to their list of killed and wounded. They released twelve Union men to-day from confinement, and a captain whom they have had for a long time managed to slip out with these twelve. He is now in our camp and confirms the report of their strength. He says they would not attack us at all if we would give up Magoffin, but retreat; for they believe that we have heavy reinforcements up on their rear. This Magoffin is brother of the Kentucky Governor, and a colonel in their army. They have offered us forty men for him. They said in this captain's hearing that they were bound to eat breakfast with us to-morrow morning. They intend to storm us, i. e., rush on and use their bayonets and scale the embankments. That is just what we have prepared for; it makes us rub our hands with pleasure to think they will attempt to scale our bank. This night is as beautiful as last night, not a cloud, nothing but the deep, dark, inimitable blue, lighted up by the broad fine rays of the moon, and ornamented by the myriads of twinkling stars. Oh, 'tis grand! every thing in nature has the calmness, the contentment of repose and happiness — all which seems to reproach our turbulent hearts.

Sept. 18--Seven o'clock A. M.--The same old beginning of my diary. No attack yet, but we are now looking for them every hour. Hark! I hear their cheering and their drums beating, now they cheer again. Do they expect to terrify us with the sound of their fifteen thousand voices?

Nine o'clock A. M.--They are coming. The drums have sounded the alarm. We are all at our posts. They have fired the challenge. Col. Mulligan has just passed along the line, inspiring the men with his calmness and heroism. He talked to us in this manner:--“Capt. Simison, from all indications they will make their heaviest attack on your part of the line. Of course you will not permit them to cross. If you do, never make a report to me.” They come on very slowly, but every moment's delay is to our benefit. Now I must cease my writing for the present. I am almost certain that we will achieve a victory, but I may have to lay down my life. It is a mournful thought to entertain, but I look calmly upon death.

Sept. 19--Seven o'clock A. M.--We have met the rebels and the victory is ours. At half-past 9 o'clock yesterday, they fired their first cannon ball into our ranks. They surrounded us completely, and kept up a vigorous attack until seven o'clock P. M., being nine and one-half hours constant fighting, but we repulsed them. They drew off their troops at this hour, and we expect to see them make a grand charge to-day with fresh troops, thinking that after our severe test yesterday we will be too tired to resist them long. They left many troops to annoy us all night. Half of our men had to be on duty all the time, and every few minutes during the night shots were exchanged. Our little fort holds out well, but from the fact that it is located in the timber, the rebels are concealed from view, only getting a fair sight at them when they attempt to storm us. I cannot think of many incidents now, for I am still behind the breastwork, and every few minutes balls come whistling round my ears, The most prominent incident in my mind is this: They have many sharpshooters, who have placed themselves round in convenient places; some in trees, others behind stumps and logs, and from their secure position keep constantly firing upon us. Three of these scoundrels are placed on our track, and have been firing on us since three o'clock yesterday. We have failed in finding their location, although there are a number of our sharpshooters on the look-out. We have fired at them, but firing at random does not affect them.

Ha! that makes me start. He sent a bullet just past my cheek. It struck our camp kettle by my side, and I have the bullet in my pocket. If any of us raise our heads above the breast-work these fellows fire at us. The rebels several times threw charges of canister and grape into company D's quarters, but we have all escaped, and the rifle and musket balls have been whizzing round our heads so much that we don't notice them as much as we would a bumble bee at home. The first ball that struck the ground very near me, I picked up to show you, also the next one and the next; but I found that if I kept every one that I could feel its hiss as it passed over me, I would be loaded down. These sharpshooters' guns must be splendid things; they make but a slight report, so slight you don't notice the sound. I wish I could have my picture taken now, you would see the dirtiest and blackest McClure of the race. We have twenty-seven hundred men in our force, but here let me say every one of these is as firm as steel, and brave as patriotism can make them. The rebels act with all the savageness of devils. Our hospital is situated outside and some distance from the breastworks, and had several white flags upon it, but they charged upon it and reports say killed our sick and took possession. Company B made a charge upon them and routed them out, but in the evening at eight o'clock they slipped in and took it again; then our artillery men turned our cannon upon it and battered it down. They made a charge at our very weakest point, but the men repulsed them and took their flag, a singular-looking thing; it has a blue field with fifteen stars, then one broad stripe of red, then one of white, and [82] another red one, but three stripes in all. They have had spies in our camp, for their heaviest attacks have been made on the weakest points. Now companies D, K, B, H, and I, of the brigade, are posted at the most important points, being on the main road and easy of access; but they would only approach us at long-firing distance or with their cannon, for we have a number of destructive magazines buried, and all we want is to get them upon their fearful bosoms, but they are too smart for us. It is surprising. to me how fortunate we are. The bullets rolled at our feet, others flew past our breasts, shells burst in our midst, yet not one man hurt in company D, and we have been exposed to fire in all directions. At times we had to lie down to have our cannon play over our heads. I can't tell our full loss. There are at least forty of the twenty-seven hundred dead or severely injured, while of the rebels it is estimated between two and three thousand men. But here goes our cannon again. If these bushwhackers should leave us, we would have some safety for a short time. I think they are waiting around until they get all their dead away. They began hauling at five o'clock yesterday and are still at it. Company D shot a very prominent officer, judging from the style of his horse. I fear for our colonel. He is moving round among the men, and these sharpshooters may hit him. I look for my death pill from them, not from the muskets. Just now another little joker comes smiling at me. I did not like him, and dodged.

Nine o'clock.--The random fire still continues. To-day is hot and dusty, same as yesterday. We had no dinner yesterday, but at ten o'clock last night we got a slap-jack cake. No breakfast this morning, and worst of all, no water in camp. Our springs and cisterns are outside, and under cover of their fire, still we are not disheartened, but look forward to the hour when we can meet their fresh troops, even if we are tired, sleepy, dirty, and hungry. It seems hard to have six thousand fresh troops surround us to-day and take up the play where their comrades ceased, but this is their good luck and our misfortune. The God of battles has been with us, in many ways. He has given us health during our last twenty days, for we have been in constant fatigue since we left Jefferson City, and yet we are all well. If we only had some of the crackers the men used to despise, they would be a great treat, for we only use flour now, and have to make a kind of pancake fried in grease. Now if the crackers were plenty we could eat and fight at the same time. I hope you have not heard of our position. I don't want you to be miserable, but keep good heart. My memory dwells with pleasure upon past home scenes, and I anticipate to live again in the midst of their joys. These give me strength, these give me hope, and when the iron hail falls around me the thickest, my mind is full of their memories. It is a great comfort to know that I have a happy home; if it were not so I would not wish to return. This is a singular place to speak of such things, but the battle-field is familiar now. I only start when one comes a very little too close to be pleasant. How soon a man can become accustomed to danger! It is now ten o'clock. Twenty-four hours without food! I must stop, the fight is growing hotter.

Six o'clock P. M.--No water or food yet. They have had their sharpshooters around us firing all day, and now and then they send us a cannon shot. Just now they sent a load of canister shot over our men, and now another. This one is grape, for the balls fell in our quarters.

Seven o'clock P. M.--They have been firing shot and shell; many of them burst over our heads, but no execution. Every thing is now still. We think they are preparing for a grand charge.

Eight o'clock P. M.--I am writing by moon-light. General Price sent in a flag of truce, saying he has cut off all our reinforcements, that he has twenty-five thousand men and twenty cannon, that he will permit us to retire unmolested if we surrender, but if not he will have no mercy. He gives us two hours to decide. We have been improving the time, and have now a barrel of brackish, muddy water, and would have had more, had they not broken the armistice and fired two rounds of grape into our men. He expects a heavy fight to-night.

Ten o'clock P. M.--The flag of truce is here again, with the news that they will soon begin the attack, and those of us who survive the night they will bayonet in the morning. How I despise them! I hope our men will hold out. If they never get into another engagement their glory in this affair will be worthy of the envy of veterans. As I now behold our noble flag as it floats in the moonlight, my heart throbs with pride, and when in the fight as they would aim their shot and bomb-shells at it, I could not help singing “That our flag was still there.”

Sept. 20--Seven o'clock A. M.--The rebels opened their batteries upon us at one o'clock last night, and played into us for some time with energy. We expected to have a bayonet charge from them; but for some reasons best known to themselves, they did not come, but kept up their cannonading and sharpshooting all night. This morning is very cold and damp; rained about an hour this morning, and is still cloudy. We have made a small kitchen near our breastwork, where the men can cook with as much safety as any place within our enclosure; consequently we had our coffee and cake this morning. My hands and face are coated over with clay, dust, smoke, and sweat; water is so scarce we cannot use it to wash with. The rebels have been trying to knock down the college building within our embankment, they thinking that it contains our ammunition and provisions, for they wish to starve [83] us out. They keep up a constant straggling fire of their rifles, interspersed with their deep-toned cannons; but all we are doing is lying low, waiting for a better opportunity to return their fire. They are very cautious, and do not expose themselves to our aim.

Nine o'clock P. M.--The fight is awful! They have broken in at one place; what a splendid charge! There, they are retreating. Now the intrenchment is ours, and now the fight is the hottest.

One o'clock P. M.--Company D is called to the rally. We started and ran eight hundred yards through direct and cross fires, but not a man hurt. I received but a small scratch upon my thumb from a bullet. We got to our post and some one yelled out, “Don't fire, cease firing, a flag of truce.” We looked, and sure enough they had a flag up. Our hearts were full of hope; but the field was an awful bloody one--men, horses, and mules lying torn and mangled; still we were full of hope. But just then the word came that the first flag was raised by Major Beckwith, in command of the few Home Guards who were stationed at that part of the works. Confusion and panic began among the men. All fled to the rear. I say all, but I do not mean all, for there were two parts of companies of the brigade that stood, and Company D with them. There we stood in the face of five hundred of them. It is true they had a truce, but would they respect it? No matter; we were bound to stand. I looked around and saw the timber filled with men, the streets, houses, and house-tops crowded full of men. We were surrounded by an immense force, who closed in around us, but remained at a good distance outside. The Home Guards fled through our camp and spread panic and confusion through it by saying we were killed and the rebels were in upon us. Colonel Mulligan tried to rally them, but many swore they could do no good now. I saw that surrender was to be the result, and as the thought flashed over my mind, my eyes filled with tears.

Yet I am proud that the dishonor does not rest upon the brigade — that Major Beckwith did the mischief; although eventually we must surrender, for their forces number twenty-eight thousand men and twenty pieces of cannon. They seemed to rise right out of the ground, and in twenty minutes every possible spot of ground was covered. At three o'clock our noble flag was taken down and handed to General Price, and as the deafening cheer of the rebels went up, again my eyes filled. I turned round to hide them, for I felt ashamed of my weakness. I went round the corner; there stood Colonel Mulligan, that brave, true-hearted man. There he stood, tears washing the dust and gunpowder smoke off his manly cheeks. I went to him. He said that death was preferable, and he could die with us rather than have this occur; but, says he, “Lieutenant, we shall be honored in defeat, for we have fought twenty-eight thousand men and twenty cannon, with two thousand seven hundred men and five cannon. We have done our duty.” * * I have visited the rebel battle-ground. It is a sickening sight — blood, brains, and fragments of limbs covering the ground profusely. The cellarswhere the dead and wounded lay look like slaughter-houses.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September (9)
18th (4)
12th (4)
20th (3)
September 1st (2)
11th (2)
10th (2)
September 23rd, 1861 AD (1)
September 21st, 1861 AD (1)
September 26th (1)
September 23rd (1)
September 9th (1)
21st (1)
17th (1)
13th (1)
7th (1)
3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: