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Doc. 154.-the fight at Dug Springs, Mo. August 2, 1861.

A correspondent at Curran, Stone County, Missouri, gives the following account of this affair:--The report which reached us at Springfield, gave rise to the belief that Gen. McCulloch designed an attack upon that point, by two columns moving from Cassville and Sarcoxie. The Federal scouts reported their force at about fifteen thousand in each division, and on Wednesday they were reported within twenty miles of the town and advancing from Cassville. On the 1st instant Gen. Lyon ordered his entire command, with the exception of a small guard, to rendezvous at Crane Creek, ten miles south of Springfield. The command consisted as follows. The exact strength of the different corps I am not at liberty to give, for obvious military precaution:

Five companies First and Second Regiment Regulars, Major Sturgis. Five companies First Regiment Missouri Volunteers, Lieutenant-Col. Andrews. Two companies Second Regiment Missouri Volunteers, Major Osterhous. Three companies Third Regiment Missouri Volunteers, Colonel Siegel. Fifth Regiment Missouri Volunteers, Colonel Salamon. First Regiment Iowa Volunteers, Colonel J. F. Bates. First Regiment Kansas Volunteers, Colonel Deitzler. Second Regiment Kansas Volunteers, Colonel Mitchell. Two companies First Regular Cavalry, Captains Stanley and Carr. Three companies First Regular Cavalry (recruits), Lieut. Lathrop. Captain I. Totten's Battery Regular Artillery, six guns, six and twelve-pounders. Lieut. Dubois's Battery Regular Artillery, four guns, six and twelve-pounders. Captain Shaeffer's Battery Missouri Volunteer Artillery, six guns, six and twelve-pounders.

The whole column was under the immediate command of Major-General Lyon, while Brigadier-Generals Sweeny, Siegel, and Major Sturgis were intrusted with the most important subsidiary charges.

The march commenced at five o'clock on the afternoon of Thursday. The baggage wagons, one hundred and eighty in number, were scattered over a distance of three miles. The camp at Crane Creek was reached about ten o'clock, the men marching slowly and making frequent halts to get the benefit of shade or water.

Early next morning, after making a hasty meal, the line of march was resumed. We were joined by the division from Camp McClellan, and, with cavalry and skirmishers ahead, pushed on as fast as the nature of the country would admit. This day, like its predecessor, was intensely hot. The extreme temperature, and the fine dust which enveloped the train in clouds, produced intolerable thirst. The country is of the hilly kind which just falls below the standard of mountainous. After leaving Springfield, which is said to be the summit of the Bark Mountains, we pass along the ridge which divides the waters which fall into the Missouri and White Rivers. Streams there were none to mention; though traceable on the map, they are at this season only distinguishable by their dry rocky beds. Water was hardly to be had, the few springs and wells in the neighborhood being either emptied by drought or by the men. The ridges and sides of the limestone hills were covered for the most part with stunted oak saplings, which rarely afforded shade for horse and rider. The midsummer sun travelled through an unclouded sky like a ball of fire, scorching all animated nature in his way. The men, however, kept up their spirits tolerably [469] well, and as at every few miles loyal citizens were met, informing us that the enemy was but a few miles ahead, every prospect for a grand fight was the common opinion.

At about eleven o'clock on Friday morning, as the advance guard was rising the crest of a hill, sixteen miles from here, the skirmishers discovered several mounted men in the road. Word was passed back, when Capt. Totten ordered a six-pounder to the front, and just as the men were in the act of leaving the house of one of their secession friends he sent a shell by the gunpowder line, which burst over the house. When this unexpected messenger dropped in among them they scampered away down the hill, so that when we arrived at the top, nothing was to be seen but a moving cloud of dust. A light wagon, loaded with cooked provisions, was discovered on the road, which was shared by our famished men and eaten with infinite gusto. Bedding and other accoutrements were found around the buildings, indicating a lengthened sojourn.

Our painful march was then continued with more caution, the woods and thickets being examined on either side of the road for ambuscades and surprises. Arrived at Dug Springs, some three miles further, we could perceive, as we entered the valley by one hill, dense columns of dust moving in various directions along the base and sides of the hills at the opposite end. The advance continued, the column drawn up ready for action. By the aid of glasses, bodies of men, both mounted and on foot, could be seen, and presently we could hear the sharp crack of the rifles of our advance guard. The flags were displayed, and all the indications seemed to point to a great battle, the position of the enemy being a strong one, and his force evidently numerous.

As there was no advance from the valorous rebels spite of our coaxing, the day far spent, and the prospect for camping ground ahead not very brilliant, a retrograde movement was ordered, with a view of coaxing the enemy from his position.

In order to understand the position of the parties, imagine an oblong basin of five miles in length, surrounded by hills from which spurs projected into the main hollow, covered with occasional thickets and oak openings. The winding of the road round the spurs had the effect of concealing the strength of each party from the other, so that from the top of each successive ridge could be seen the rear of the enemy's forces. At about five o'clock a brisk interchange of shots was commenced by our skirmishers, Captain Steele's regular infantry taking the lead on the left, supported by a company of cavalry, the rest of the column being back some distance. Presently we could see a column of infantry approaching from the woods with the design of cutting off our infantry. Capt. Stanley immediately drew up his men, and, as soon as within range, they opened fire from their Sharp's carbines, when several volleys were exchanged. The number of the enemy's infantry was seemingly about five hundred; our cavalry not quite a hundred and fifty. The infantry kept up the firing for some minutes, when some enthusiastic lieutenant giving the order to “charge,” some twenty-five of the gallant regulars rushed forward upon the enemy's lines, and, dashing aside the threatening bayonets of the sturdy rebels, hewed down the ranks with fearful slaughter. Capt. Stanley, who was amazed at the temerity of the little band, was obliged to sustain the order, but before he could reach his little company they had broken the ranks of the cowards, who outnumbered them as twenty to one. Some of the rebels who were wounded asked, in utter astonishment, “whether these were men or devils — they fight so?”

The ground was left in our possession, being strewn with muskets, shot-guns, pistols, etc. Our men seized some fifteen muskets and the same number of horses and mules and rode off, when a large. force of the enemy's cavalry was seen approaching from the woods, numbering some three hundred or more. At the instant when they had formed in an angle, Capt. Totten, who had mounted a six and twelve-pounder upon the overlooking hill, sent a shell right over them; in another minute the second--a twelve-pound shell, a very marvel of gunnery practice — which landed right at their feet, exploding, and scattering the whole body in the most admired disorder. The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth were sent into their midst. The horsemen could not control their horses, and in a minute not an enemy was to be seen anywhere. Capt. Granger, of the artillery, was so pleased with the execution that he rode out to the spot, where he discovered several pools of blood on the ground, as if the shell had done great damage, one double-barrelled shot-gun being bent by the fragments of the shell.

The praise of all tongues was upon the magnificent charge of our cavalry. The men, actuated by a supreme disdain for the novices who had but recently left the plough for the musket, determined to give them a real taste of war at the onset, and they must have given the poor deluded fools a bitter foretaste, with their navy revolvers and carbines. Two of the lieutenants returned with their swords stained with the blood of men they had run through and through, up to the hilt. One horse which was led home was pierced by nine balls; another with sides so covered with gore as to conceal the wounds. Four of their wounded men were afterward picked up on the ground, some of them fatally. Unfortunately our loss, as might be expected, was severe. Four of our gallant regulars were brought in dead, and five wounded, one of which has since died. The loss of the enemy cannot be far from forty, and their wounded fully a hundred. Secession accounts admit their loss was heavy.

Although the entire action cannot be raised to the dignity of a great battle, for the whole [470] affair lasted less than half an hour, it was in reality a great triumph. Our advanced cavalry was alone engaged on our part, and they successfully fought and drove off a force ten times their number. It moreover revealed the fighting animus of the enemy; it revealed the state of their armament, and afforded a brilliant example for our expectant troops.

All supposed, when the crack of the cannon and whistling of shell were heard in such quick succession, that the battle was begun, and that a trial at arms was to ensue ere nightfall. Our men were under arms, cannon in position, until the news of the inglorious retreat of the vaunting rebels dispelled the prospect. The camps were then pitched and the necessary precautions taken against attack. No description can do justice to the labors of the day. When the morning dawned the men were put in motion. The heat was insufferable, the incessant running about among the brush for miles on both sides of the main road created theo most suffocating thirst. The tongue became swollen, the sweat was blinding, and the dust profuse. Even the hardiest of men were glad to find shelter for a moment in the shade of some canebrake. The few wells or springs in the vicinity had given out. Water was not to be had; toward evening two dollars and a half being offered for a canteen of warm ditch water. Many were victims of sunstroke and exhaustion, and never were a set of men more grateful than when the burning sun cast his declining shadow over the western hills. The night was broken occasionally by the report of musket shots from our sentinels. Two or three stragglers were brought in as prisoners, who stated that they belonged to the command of Gen. Rains, and seemed glad enough to be captured. They reported that the army of McCulloch was five miles in the rear, and that accessions were being recruited from all the adjoining counties. This information agreed with that gained from the prisoners, and betrayed the weakness of the enemy; said they, “We have had nothing but fresh beef and unbolted flour to eat for many days.” They were forced northward by starvation, and the Union men must either flee or be taken prisoners, while the State rights gentry must join their force or be plundered; he would find, however, the plunder attended either alternative. In this way they had recruited thousands, leaving a desert behind them more complete than the locusts. Forage, wheat, eatables and drinkables, in any quantity, did not escape them. Clothing and trinkets of little or no value, all seized. They are the most complete land pirates this continent ever saw.

August 2.--We resumed the line of march at sunrise; the ground of yesterday's operations was carefully gone over in search of the much dreaded “masked batteries.” Gaining the summit of the hill from which the rebels had sallied on the day previous, we found a sad spectacle. A house by the wayside, with four wounded men in the first room, in the second one severely wounded in the back and shoulder, in the third a corpse stretched out with the face quite black. At the well, close by the house, the pools in the little stream were red as blood for thirty yards, where they had washed their wounded. The men stated they had only been picked off the field that morning, and that there were many more who had been carried off with the retreating army. They confirmed substantially the reports of the captives.

Descending into the next valley, we could just perceive, by the dense clouds of dust, that the enemy were but a few miles ahead. Two guns were placed upon an eminence; upon seeing a column of troops moving up a ravine, and when at the distance of three-quarters of a mile, we opened fire upon them, when they rapidly retreated. We afterward learned that this was a scouting party, who had crossed over from Marionville, after taking what provisions and men they could press into their service by their very summary process. The shell struck the chimney of a house in which the officers were dining. They did not wait for the dessert to be served.

Arrived at Curran, twenty-six miles from Springfield, we encamped, to take advantage of tho good water. Our position was much exposed, but from the exhibitions of valor for the past few days we stood in little fear of an attack. Five prisoners were brought in by our skirmishers, one of which, upon being questioned by General Lyon, manifested considerable impertinence; his actions being suspicious he was carefully watched, and when told to rise from the ground a revolver was found under him. A deserter came in from the other camp, who stated that he was impressed into their service in Missouri; their camp was six miles to the north, and strongly intrenched; had eight pieces of cannon, and, though his comrades said they had fifteen thousand men, his opinion was about six or seven thousand. Quite a little excitement was created throughout the camp in the morning by a report that we were surrounded, which was caused by the appearance of troops on our rear — doubtless a portion of the roving bands desirous of rejoining their command. A squad of about forty entered our column and chatted with our men under the impression that they were in the army of Rains, until they saw our artillery coming up, when they inquired “whose troops we were?” Upon being informed “Gen. Lyon's,” they made a hasty exit into the dense woods, one of the staff officers ordering the men to fire upon them, but they had made good their escape.

Our troops had mistaken them also for the “Home Guards,” which are accustomed to act as guides and scouts, and thus they missed by a narrow chance, the opportunity of bagging the whole of them and their horses and muskets.

The names of our killed are Corporal Klein, privates Givens and Devlin. [471]

Springfield, August 6.
After another day's hardship and a night's repose, the morning dawned upon us with its fierce glare. General Lyon finding himself short of provisions, his men weary and footsore, many of them sick from intemperate use of water and green fruits, with a powerful enemy encamped in front, whom he could not chase by reason of the precautions against surprises and flank movements — moreover, a large force of the enemy in the direction of Sarcoxie, and the necessity of keeping open his communication with Springfield — called a consultation with Brigadier-Generals Sweeney, Siegel; Majors Schofield, Shepherd, Conant, Sturgis; Captains Totten and Shaeffer, when it was determined to retire toward Springfield. This conclusion seems to be well-founded when we reflect that the provisions for such an army must be transported from Rolla at great risk (of capture. Nothing could be found either for man or horse on the track of the rebels.

Hardly had the decision been declared, when one of the cavalry scouts announced that he had witnessed the departure of McCullough's camp in the direction of Sarcoxie, describing the train as long as that usually pertaining to an army of seven thousand men.

On Sunday morning we retraced our steps, leaving Curran, Stone Co., the furthest point of our expedition, with reluctance at not meeting the object of our search, but with hearts gladdened that we were once more to be placed beyond the danger of starvation. We marched thirteen miles during the day in a broiling sun. Several of our men fell from the fatigue and heat; two reported died from sunstroke.

At Cane Creek we found another deserter who had been forced into a Louisiana regiment, and had accepted the first chance to escape. He is a German, and has a brother in the Missouri Volunteers. His statements confirm those of the other deserter. His regiment left New Orleans 1,050 strong, and when he left it, death, disease, and desertion had reduced it to 700. His regiment was well drilled and armed. Three Arkansas regiments were armed with old smooth-bore muskets; the balance with odds and ends of all kinds, some few being without arms. Two Texan regiments are daily expected, with two brass guns. He gives a deplorable account of their commissariat and subsistence department. He is kept in close custody, both for his own protection and as a precaution against fraud.

We reached Springfield to-day, and were much surprised to learn that the inhabitants had been the victims of the most unreasonable fright,--a report having been spread during the night that the enemy was about to attack the town. Singularly enough nearly all the pickets came into town, instead of remaining at their posts. I ought in justice to say that these were “Home Guards,” who have been mustered into the service to meet the emergency.

We brought in sixteen prisoners, most of them taken in a hostile attitude toward the Government. We witnessed a very salutary way of treating rebels. Two or three prominent secessionists, who at one time were accounted respectable, are busily hauling the debris from the streets, and performing other such municipal duties under guard, greatly to the edification of a crowd of boys and negroes. We think this is the happy medium between hanging our prisoners and swearing them.

--N. Y. World, Aug. 12.

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