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Doc. 240. fight at Mount Zion, Mo.

General Prentiss' official report.

Headquarters army of North Missouri, Palmyra, Mo., Jan. 4, 1862.
Capt. John C. Kelton, Assistant Adjutant-General Department of Missouri:
In pursuance of a special order, received on the evening of Dec. 23, 1861, I proceeded from Palmyra for Sturgeon on the morning of the 24th day of December, with five companies of the Third Missouri Cavalry, Col. John Glover commanding. I arrived at Sturgeon on the evening of the 26th. During the following day, having learned that there was a concentration of rebels near the village of Hallsville, in Boone County, I sent forward one company of cavalry, commanded by Captain Howland, to reconnoitre in that vicinity. Capt. Howland proceeded to Hallsville, but found no rebels. After proceeding about two miles beyond, his advance guard encountered the rebels in force, commanded by Col. Dorsey. Capt. Howland endeavored to draw off his company, having taken nine prisoners, but was overpowered. Being wounded, and having lost his horse, he was taken prisoner, with one private of his company. The remainder of his men made good their retreat, arriving at Sturgeon at nine o'clock P. M. Having learned the position of the enemy, I immediately ordered five companies of cavalry, Col. John Glover commanding, and five companies of sharpshooters, Col. Birge commanding, numbering in all four hundred and seventy, to march at two o'clock A. M., at which hour I started, and after marching a distance of sixteen miles, at eight o'clock A. M. of the 28th inst., I found one company of rebels, commanded by Capt. Johnson, in position, to the left of the road leading from Hallsville to Mount Zion. I ordered two companies of sharpshooters to pass to the rear of the enemy, and one of cavalry to dismount and engage them in the front, it being difficult for the sharpshooters to attain their position unperceived, the enemy manifesting a disposition to retire.

Col. Glover opened fire, and succeeded in killing five and capturing seven prisoners, from whom I learned the number and position of the main force. The enemy being posted at a church, known as Mount Zion, in Boone County, and one mile and a half in advance, numbering near nine hundred men, I ordered the cavalry under Col. Glover forward, accompanied by two companies of Birge's sharpshooters. Col. Birge, with them, arriving near the encampment, one troop of cavalry were ordered to dismount and engage the enemy. The sharpshooters were afterward ordered through a field on our right to skirmish with the enemy's left, and if possible drive them from the woods.

The firing being heavy, these three companies not being able to drive the enemy from his cover, Col. Glover, with his available force, moved in double-quick to the aid of the three companies engaged, and for half an hour longer the battle raged and became a hand-to-hand fight. Capt. Boyd's company of sharpshooters were in the midst of the rebel camp. Also, Major Carrick, with Company C, Third Illinois Cavalry. When Col. Glover arrived, the rebels could not stand the fire of our rifles, and retreated, leaving in our hands ninety (90) horses and one hundred and five (105) stand of arms. The battle was brought to a close about eleven A. M.

The reserve of two companies coming into action at the moment the enemy gave way, our victory was complete. After collecting our wounded, we proceeded to collect those of the enemy, placed them in the church, and sent for farmers and friends in the vicinity to render assistance. I collected wagons, made our wounded as comfortable as possible, and at four P. M. started for Sturgeon, where we arrived at nine P. M. Our loss in the battle of Mount Zion, and in the engagement of the evening previous, is as-follows: Killed, three; slightly wounded, forty-six; severely wounded, seventeen. Rebel loss.--Killed, twenty-five; wounded, one hundred and fifty.

I have not been able to get a correct report of the rebel missing; but having taken thirty prisoners from the barn, their punishment is a severe one. Sixty of the rebels, with Captain Howland and four of our men as prisoners, arrived at the camp at night, twenty miles distant from the field of battle.

Permit me to mention that our entire force behaved gallantly. I make special mention of the following officers: Colonel John M. Glover, Major Carrick, Lieutenants Yates and Kirkpatrick, of the Third Missouri Cavalry; Colonel Birge, Captain Boyd, and Adjutant Temple, of Birge's Sharpshooters, and Lieutenant Edwin Moore, my aide. I also assure you that the men behaved with coolness and daring during the engagement.

Annexed please find list of names of our killed [515] and wounded, and list of rebel wounded, and left by us at Mount Zion. I have the honor to be, Captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. M. Prentiss, Brigadier-General.
List of killed and wounded at the battle of Mount Zion, December 28, 1861, of the First Regiment of Sharpshooters--Colonel Birge commanding.

Severely Wounded.--W. Derot, Company B, since died; Sergeant Larimore, Company B; J. Manar, Company B; P. Putnam, Company B; C. H. Machie, Company H; H. Gurnon, Company H; C. Atherton, Company H.

Slightly Wounded.--A. Henoesi, Company A; John Lynch, Jesse Chambers, L. Beach, D. Martimore, W. H. Blake, Tobias Miller, Peter Edwards, Company B; Sergeant Weeks, Company D; Sergeant Lemon, Corporal Carr, J. M. Parker, J. Vinton, M. Grady, T. Slevin, Company H.

List of rebel wounded left at Mount Zion Church, after the battle of December 28, 1861.

W. C. McLean, arm broken; Wm. Phillips, shot through stomach; Wm. Swader, Calloway County, (since died,) right breast; Wm. T. Ives, Lincoln County, through groin; Major Thomas Breckinridge, Warren County, right arm and left breast; John H. Jones, Warren County, thigh; Samuel Barnum, Lincoln County, left shoulder; F. J. Brougham, Calloway County, neck; A. J. Parson, Montgomery County, left thigh; Robert Snead, Lincoln County, both thighs; C. King, Lincoln County, both thighs; W. H. Vaughn, Lincoln County, throat; C. McDonald, St. Charles County, both thighs; Abram Bramberger, Calloway County, left breast; J. E. McConnell, Montgomery County, right thigh; L. Davis, Breckinridge County, right cheek and neck; F. G. Henderson, St. Charles County, hand; R. S. Montford, Calloway County, calf of leg; J. Crossman, Boone County, small of back; C. Cuisenberry, Boone County, right breast;----Kernan, St. Charles County, left hand and face; John Bailey, Warren County, thigh; Captain Myers, Warren County, side; W. R. Smith, Pike County, left shoulder;----Martin, Pike County, leg; Lawrence Jacobie, Pike County, hand. Four names not obtained, dangerously wounded.

Slightly Wounded.--Captain J. T. Harland, Company A; F. S. Morris, Company A; Joseph Washburne, Company A; Daniel Barret, Company A; J. H. Warnesbry, Company B; James Eagle, do.; Marion Morrell, Company C; Thos. Phillipot, do.; Henry Ferguson, do.; John Wessell, do.; Thomas Kirby, do.; John Scroggen, do.; William Beman, do.; Robert Allen, do.; Herbert Reed, Company D; J. A. Flickiner, do.; J. H. Turner, Company A; Henry Alters, Company A; Daniel Shannehan, Company B; Julius Krenling, Company B; Henry Henry, Company C; Henry S. Akers, do.; Jesse Steele, do.; William H. Howell, do.; John R. Rogers, do.; Millard Williams, do.; William B. Davis, Company F; John Macklin, do.; George Lopez, do.; John W. Donaldson, do.; Allen H. Fite, Company F.

Report of killed and wounded at the skirmish near Hallsville, December 27, 1861, and at the battle of Mount Zion, December 28, 1861, of Colonel John Glover's Third Missouri Cavalry.

Killed.--Hugh Gregg, Company C; Alfred Magers, do.; G. Milton Douglas, do.

Severely Wounded.--Andreus Goodrich, Company A, since died; Wm. Wright, Company B, since died; Charles Carnehan, Company A, since died; D. H. Hindman, do., do.; C. C. Washburn, do., do.; John R. Stewart, Company C, do.; George Barcastle, do., do.; Isaac Black, do., do.; Wm. H. Hardin, Company E, do.; Benjamin F. Tidell, do., do.

Missouri Democrat account.

camp McClellan, North Missouri, Sturgeon, Saturday, Dec. 28.
One of the sharpest battles of the war was fought about eighteen miles from this place today. Colonel Birge, commanding his regiment of sharpshooters, had learned through his spies that a rebel camp was located at a place called Mount Zion Meeting House, in Boone County. General Prentiss having come to this place yesterday with about three hundred cavalry, under command of Colonel Glover, he accordingly organized a command of five companies of sharpshooters, under Colonel Birge, and two hundred cavalry, under Colonel Glover, and moved toward the rebel camp. Arriving within about a mile, General Prentiss ordered Colonel Glover to attack a detachment of about one hundred, which had taken position in a lane. He did so with great gallantry, killing a number, and taking several prisoners. The others fled to camp.

The order of battle was now assumed. Colonel Birge, with three companies of his command, advanced through the field, taking the left, joined the force of Colonel Glover, while General Prentiss held a position with a reserve of sharpshooters and a portion of cavalry. The attack was commenced in full force. The fire from the whole rebel line was terrific upon the right wing. For a moment our column wavered and fell back. Colonel Birge, observing this, rode into the most perfect storm of leaden hail that was ever met on battle-field, calling upon the men to rally. Colonel Glover, coming up with Major Temple, and uniting with Colonel Birge, soon rallied the whole line, and the fight became terrible. Captain Boyd, advancing from the right wing, poured in from the rifles, at every fire, messengers of death. Colonel Birge, with a daring that could not be excelled, led on the left wing. He soon saw the enemy on the right giving way, and, sounding the cry of victory, the whole line rushed forward, and the rebels fled in every direction. Colonel Birge pursued them, with Captain Boyd, for two miles, killing four, and taking five prisoners.

The rebel battle-ground — what a sight! After they had taken away, before they fled, seven [516] wagon loads, it was then completely covered with dead and wounded. The rebels had taken chosen ground in the woods, where cavalry could not operate. Colonel Glover, however, dismounted his cavalry, and led them forward with his usual bravery. The coolness and daring of Colonel Birge, in rallying his men in the midst of a perfect tornado of bullets, is deserving of all the praise due to a gallant soldier; and what is more for him, during the three hours the battle raged, he never left his position in advance of the line, cheering his men on.

The rebels lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, not less than one hundred and fifty. Ninety horses were taken, and a load of arms, saddles, and all their camp equipage. Our loss, eight or nine killed, and about twenty-five wounded.

Account of the battle by one who was engaged in it.

On Monday, December 23d, six companies of Colonel Glover's cavalry received marching orders for the next day, with instructions to take their camp equipage and four days rations. On the 25th they started, accompanied by Brig.-Gen. Prentiss and part of his staff, Col. Glover, Major Carrick, and Adjutant White being in command. They arrived at Sturgeon, on the North Missouri Railroad, at seven o'clock of the 26th, and half frozen — having made a forced march, in the face of a bitter cold wind, of twenty-eight miles, twelve of which being unbroken prairie, in less than ten hours. On his arrival, General Prentiss received information of the existence of a camp of rebels near a meeting house known as Mount Zion, about sixteen miles from Sturgeon.

On the morning of the 27th, he despatched Captain Howland, of Company A, with forty-six men of his command, under the direction of the man who gave the information, to find the whereabouts of the rebel encampment. This guide, by the way, had said that there were but sixty or eighty rebels at the place spoken of. Captain H., after having satisfied himself of the location of the rebel camp, began his march back to Sturgeon, when just at sunset he came upon the rear guard of the enemy, who appeared to have prepared themselves to cut him off on his return. Captain Howland immediately attacked and dispersed the rebels, taking seven prisoners, six horses, and nine guns. While he was engaged in securing his prisoners and horses, the main body of the enemy, some four hundred and fifty strong, who had heard the firing, made an attack on his handful of men, and after half an hour of desperate fighting, succeeded in dispersing them, wounding four--among them the gallant captain, and taking three privates and himself prisoners.

Immediately on the receipt of the news of the fight, brought by those who had escaped, General Prentiss gave orders for the six companies of cavalry, and three of Colonel Birge's sharpshooters, to be ready to march for the rebel camp at two o'clock on the morning of the 28th. Long before the hour arrived, the men were in the saddle, and eager for the march. We started at the hour, and arrived near the scene of the last night's fight just after daylight. Proceeding cautiously over the ground, we saw just beyond, in a lane, the advance guard of the enemy, about one hundred strong, who were disposed to dispute our further advance.

Lieut. Yates, of Company B, who led our advance guard, dismounted his men, and gave the rebels a taste of his Sharp's rifles. He had not opened fire but a few moments, when Captain Bradway was ordered to charge on the enemy with his company. This he did, and the rebels, who before this had broken, fled in all directions. Colonel Glover, who, with two companies of infantry and three of cavalry, had gone across an adjoining field, came up in time to assist in the pursuit, and captured some twenty of the rebels. The enemy lost in this encounter four killed and seven wounded. None of our men were killed or wounded.

As soon as we had secured the prisoners and attended to the wounded, Col. Glover ordered Major Carrick to take one of the prisoners, and a company of cavalry, and go and find the exact location of the enemy's camp; while the balance of the men were ordered to take position a half mile in advance of where we had met the rebel advance guard. The major took the prisoner, and thirty men, and soon found the stronghold of the enemy. Ordering the men to dismount, Major Carrick, with a bravery and daring worthy of a better fate, attacked the enemy six hundred strong. The men fought well and never flinched under the terrible fire of the enemy, until they were ordered to retreat by the Major. In this attack we lost three killed and several wounded, together with ten prisoners.

In the mean time Gen. Prentiss had ordered the infantry,under the command of Col. Birge, to advance under the cover of a cornfield. deploying as skirmishers, and attack the enemy on the north or rear, while Col.. Glover, with the entire force of cavalry, made an attack on the east and south, thus almost completely surrounding the enemy and rendering his capture certain. But for reasons unknown to the writer, the sharp-shooters failed to attack from the cornfield and woods, instead of which they passed through the field and came out into the lane immediately in front of Col. Glover. This deranged the order of battle; and the consequence was, that the sharpshooters and cavalry became mingled in the final charge. Col. Glover pressed forward with his men, until a shower of bullets warned him that it was time to dismount, as bushwhacking was the order of the day. The men dismounted, and the battle soon became general. From the woods, where the enemy was hidden from view, came a perfect hailstorm of bullets. From Mount Zion, where the main body of the enemy was posted, came a continuous roar of fire-arms. From the lane, [517] the open field, and the cornfield, the sharp crack of Sharp's rifles blended with the louder report of the Enfield and Dimmick. Our men fought like heroes, and never a man of them flinched. There was not a moment, from the beginning of the battle to the end, when the fate of the day was undecided.

After the firing had lasted about half an hour, Col. Glover gave the order to charge on the enemy. “Come on, men.” said he, “let us fight them in their own way — let us bushwhack them.” With a wild cheer the men follower the lead of their intrepid commander. Springing over the fence, they were soon face to face with the enemy. Our foes largely outnumbered us, and had the advantage of position; they were brave men, and fought well. But their bravery and numbers availed but little against the daring and impetuosity of our men. As soon as we got into the woods where we could see the rebels, our rifles began to tell with terrible effect on their ranks. Men fell in all directions, until the ground was fairly covered with dead and wounded. For ten minutes after we entered the woods, the enemy held their ground, and then broke and fled in every direction. We followed them for three-quarters of a mile beyond the church and then gave up the chase. From first to last, the battle lasted about two hours.

Thus ended one of the most severely contested and bloody battles that has been fought in Missouri, in proportion to the numbers engaged. Our force consisted of six companies of cavalry, numbering about three hundred, and parts of three companies of Col. Birge's Sharpshooters — say one hundred and fifty men. Thus our whole force did not exceed four hundred and fifty, men and officers. To this the rebels opposed seven hundred or seven hundred and fifty men, nearly all of whom were armed with double-barrelled shot guns, making their numbers equal to fifteen hundred men. If they had fired low, with this immense superiority, they would have annihilated us. But, fortunately for us, they fired too high, and most of their shots passed over our head.

Our loss was three killed, three mortally and about fifteen slightly wounded. The loss of the enemy, as far as I could ascertain, was twenty-one killed and over one hundred wounded. Forty of the wounded were left on the field and in the church. Eight of these have since died, and I was told by Dr. Brown, who was called to attend the wounded, that there would but very few of the forty recover, their wounds being nearly all mortal. Among the wounded was Major Breckinridge and Adjutant Henderson. An hour after the battle Adjutant Henderson came in with a flag of truce, and asked the privilege of burying their dead and attending to their wounded. This was granted by Gen. Prentiss.

The enemy were commended by Col. Dorsey, Lieut.-Col. Kent, and Major Breckinridge. We took twenty-seven prisoners, one hundred and five guns, and a large number of horses, blankets, powder-horns and shot-bags. After attending to our wounded, we began to return to Sturgeon, which we reached at nine o'clock the same night.--Hannibal (Mo.) Messenger.

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