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FREMONT'S ADMINISTRATION. It Linois Tiioors In The West—Situation Of Missouri—St. Louis And Lyon—Attack
ON BOONEVHLE—CARTHAGE—ARRIVAL OF FREMONT—"WESTERN DEPARTMENT"—A
Critical Time—Southeastern Missouri—Reynold's Pkonunciamento—Gor. JackSon's Proclamation—Wilson's Creek—Death Of Lyon—Prentiss To Fremont— Fremont's Statement—Plan Of His Campaign—His Celebrated Order—LexingTon—Col. Mulligan's Force—The Assailants—1st, Estyan's Testimonial—InDignation—Colfax And Fremont—Retreat Of Price—Crossing The Osage—FreMont's March—Zagonyi's Charge—Price At Pineyille—Removal Of Fremont— Hunter's Retreat—Its Adverse Consequences—Fight At Monroe—Gen. HurlBut's Order—Gen. Pope's Order—Battle Of Charleston—Fremont's Report— Colonel Dougherty—The March—Charge—Its Results—Killed And WoundEd—Battle Of Fredericktown—Col. Plummer And His Command—The EnGagement—The Victory.
IN the disposition of the armies of the Union, the Illinois troops, with the exception of a few regiments, have been with the armies of the West and Southwest, and not with those of the East; have fought along the Mississippi, the Tennessee, the Cumberland, the White and the Savannah, rather than the Potomac, the James and the Rapidan. This they do not regret, for with occasional disasters the armies of Belmont and Donelson, of Henry and Shiloh, of Corinth and Iuka, of Vicksburg and Stone River, of Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain, of Atlanta and Savannah, may compare their roll of marches and battles with that of the veterans of the famed captains of the past.
The military operations of the West began with the occupying of Cairo, the importance of which has been stated. Missouri, with a disloyal Executive, was plunged into the vortex of secession by his act alone, for not even the pliant, cringing Legislature he assembled would go to the extreme length of voting the State out of the Union, though quite willing to do all lesser acts of treasonable aid
and comfort; willing to vote the School Fund, and the money set apart for the payment of the July interest on the State debt, and such other funds as they could bring under their control, for military purposes, "that the State might be protected against invasion and insurrection;" willing to give Governor Jackson, as thorough a rebel and as vile a traitor as there was in South Carolina, exclusive military authority, arming him virtually with dictatorial powers, and making merely verbal opposition to his mandates, treason; willing to enact that every citizen, subject to military duty, should be at the traitor Governor's pleasure, subject to draft, and required to take an oath of obedience to the State Executive; all this it could vote, but dared not vote the State out of the Union. The Governor appointed Sterling Price Major-General of the State troops, and divided the State into military districts, under the following named Brigadiers, of his own appointment: viz., Parsons, M. L. Clark, Jno. B. Clark, Slack, Harris, Rains, McBride, Stein and Jeff. Thompson, who were to organize and send their troops to Booneville and Lexington.
The commercial metropolis of Missouri and the Southwest, St. Louis, would have been seized and held but for the intrepid promptness of Captain, afterwards Brigadier-General Lyon. Says Col. Estvan of the Confederate cavalry, "With the permission of the Confederate Government, a body of troops had formed a camp outside of St. Louis. The Captain of the Federal troops stationed there, did not, however, allow this germ of a revolutionary movement to grow under his very eyes. Relying upon the German population of St. Louis, as well as upon the loyalty of their feelings as citizens of the Union, he assembled some battalions of German troops, marched to the revolutionary camp, and after an energetic summons made them surrender. This gave great annoyance to the Confederates at St. Louis. The Germans were received with showers of stones and pistol shots, which unpleasant welcome was responded to by the poor fellows with a volley, which killed some of the ringleaders. The excitement increased, and St. Louis, that beautiful and flourishing city, was on the point of becoming the scene of strife between two contending factions, which it only escaped through the presence of mind of Captain Lyon, of the United States army." RETREAT THROUGH CARTHAGE. 157
This Captain Lyon was subsequently made Brigadier-General of volunteers, and his characteristic promptness and decision led him v to move immediately upon the Confederate forces, which occupied Boone ville, on the 18th of June, 1861. Accordingly, with some two thousand men, he left St. Louis on steamers; and after landing at Jefferson City, re-embarked and reached Rockport, nearly opposite Boone ville, on the morning of the 17 th, and crossing, met the forces of Marmaduke, which came toward the landing to suprise him, but to their own surprise, met him more than half way from the landing to their own encampment. A conflict followed, and the "State troops," under their secession organization, were routed, and fled in wild confusion, leaving their camp equipage, provisions, stores, two iron six-pounders, with horses, and small arms. The loss was small on either side. General Lyon entered the town at half past twelve, and established his head-quarters at the Fair ground, quartering the regiment of Col. Frank. P. Blair in the Thespian Hall.
On the Fourth of July Col. Franz Sigel met the forces of Jackson, and though vastly outnumbered, made a gallant fight, and conducted a masterly retreat to Carthage, and through that town to Sarcoxie. Jackson was reinforced by the command of Price, and Sigel, outnumbered nearly fourfold, was compelled to continue his retreat via Mt. Vernon to Springfield, where he effected a junction with Lyon. This affair was held to reflect great honor upon our arms, both in the engagement and the necessary retreat. The rebel loss far exceeded that of Sigel's force. The latter, a mere handful, after the previous day's march of twenty-two miles, marched more than thirty miles, fought three distinct engagements, besides incessant skirmishing with superior numbers, and when compelled, by lack of ammunition, to fall back, did so, with the enemy hovering on both flanks and pressing his rear, with a loss so small as to excite wonder.
The attention of the War Department appeared, perhaps necessarily, to be directed almost solely to Washington and its defenses. The West, the great rivers and long lines of railway, the cities and immense stores of provisions of the Southwest, were doubtless important, but were left to take care of themselves.
On the 9th of July, 1861, John C. Fremont, who had just arrived
from Paris, received the commission of Major-General in the regular army, and with it the following order:
<l The State of Illinois, and the States and Territories west of the Mississippi, and on this side of the Rocky Mountains, including New Mexico, will, in future, constitute a separate command, to be known as the Western Department, under the command of Major-General John C. Fremont, of the United States army, head-quarters at St. Louis."
It will be seen by a single glance at the map that his Department was, of itself, an empire in extent, with an armed foe threatening it in various directions. He was expected to raise, organize, arm and discipline his forces, for there could be none spared from the mountains of Virginia or the banks of the Potomac. "He was also expected," says Mr. Abbott, "with his victorious columns, to pierce and divide the Southern Confederacy of rebels, by descending the Mississippi river from the Lakes to the Gulf. No plan for the campaign was afforded him; no special instructions were given. The accomplishment of the object desired was entrusted wholly to his hands."
The appointment was made at a critical time. In Western Missouri Lyon had effected a junction with Sturgis, and with unpaid and poorly armed troops—" Home Guards," three months' men and others, in all not exceeding thirty-five hundred men, and they rapidly melting away—confronted at Springfield by the combined forces of McCulloch, Price and Jackson, whose rapidly increasing forces bade fair to reach the number of twenty-five or thirty thousand, he telegraphed urgently for reinforcements, but "Washington was in danger," and neither Scott nor McClellan could spare any men, and replied by ordering him to send his regulars to Washington! No wonder the wrung heart of Lyon almost despaired, and that on the 15th of July he wrote to a friend: "I must utterly fail if my regulars all go. At Washington, troops from all the Northern, Middle and Eastern States are available for the support of the army in Virginia, and more men are understood to be already there than are wanted, and it seems strange that so many troops must go from the West, and strip us of the means of defense; but if it is the intention to give up the West, let it be so. I can only be the victim of imbecility, or malice. Scott will cripple us if he can."—[Letter to CoL Harding.
CONFEDERATE FORCE IK MISSOURI. 159
In southeastern Missouri it was equally gloomy. General Prentiss held Cairo and Bird's Point, with eight regiments, amounting to 6,350 men, of whom six regiments were three-months' troops who, though most of them re-enlisted could not be relied upon for service until after re-organization. Col. Marsh of the 20th 111. Vols, held Cape Girardeau, an important position between Bird's Point and St. Louis, but had not a single battery for its defence; Col. Bland was stationed at Ironton, seventy-five miles from St. Louis by railroad, and his force was but 850.
At New Madrid Gen. Pillow had a well drilled force of from fifteen to twenty thousand which was daily increasing, while he had also a supply of excellent artillery and cavalry. Hardee was moving on Ironton at the head of three thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry. Another force gathered under Jeff. Thompson at Bloomfield, who wrote vauntingly to a secession friend in St. Louis that the Union forces would be driven north of the Missouri River in thirty days.
Thos. C. Reynolds, Lieut.-Governor, issued a proclamation as acting Governor of Missouri, dated New Madrid, July 31st, stating his return to the State after a two months' absence as Commissioner to the Confederate States, and saying:
"And now I return to the State, to accompany in my official capacity, one of the armies which the warrior statesman ["one Jefferson Davis"], whose genius now presides over the affairs of our half of the Vhion^ has prepared to advance against the common foe. * * *
"I particularly address myself to those who, though Southerners in feeling, have permitted a love of peace to lead them astray from the State cause. You now see the State authorities about to assert with powerful forces, their constitutional rights; you behold the most warlike people on the Globe, the people of the lower Mississippi valley, about to rush with their gleaming bowie-knives and unerring rifles, to aid us in driving out the Abolitionists and their Hessian allies. If you cordially join our Southern friends, the war must soon depart from Missouri's borders ; if you still continue, either in apathy, or in indirect support of the Lincoln Government you only bring ruin upon yourselves by fruitlessly prolonging the contest. The road to peace and internal security is only through union with the South. We will receive you as brothers, and let by*gones be by-gones. Rally to the Stars and Bars in union with our glorious ensign of the Grizly Bear!"
"There were two Richmonds in the field." In August, Governor Jackson issued a proclamation designed as a declaration of inde