Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens


Chapter 11
Military History
Approved by Judge J. J. Gideon and Capt. George M. Jones

Part 2
The Civil War Begins


BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR BEGAN.

The people of Greene county received the news of the election of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in the fall of 1860, with a great deal of dissatisfaction, however not a great deal was said, the people in general being willing to abide by the results of the election, making the best they could of the situation, believing it better to be on the alert and to await the outcome; but there was a feeling of dark foreboding in the breasts of most, an inscrutable impending calamity, which they knew not the nature nor, how to avert. Few seemed to know their own feelings, unconditional Union men one week were secessionists the following week, and some who first sanctioned the policy of South Carolina and other Southern states on their withdrawal from the sisterhood of states, later declared in favor of the national government. However, no matter what their feelings were they all sincerely hoped that war might be averted, consequently they waited, a large number expressing the sentiment, "Let us wait and see what Lincoln will do." Possibly the major portion of the citizens of this county were of opinion that the interests of Missouri were not materially different from those of the other slave-holding states, but they were in favor of waiting the development of the policy of the new administration before taking any steps leading to the withdrawal of the state from the federal Union. While there were a great many slave-holders, the majority of them were known to treat with due consideration and fairness their negroes. A hard and cruel master was practically unknown, and the blacks seemed to be contented. There was a stringent law against mistreating slaves, and this law was rigidly enforced in Greene county, those who did mistreat their slaves being promptly indicted, if a complaint was made to the authorities. In February, 1861, the county court appointed M. J. Hubble, John Lair and Benjamin Kite patrols for Campbell township, their duties being to keep order among the slaves for twelve months. These were the last patrols ever appointed in Greene county. A few months later a force of several thousand patrols came into the county, commanded by Capt. Nathaniel Lyon and Capt. Franz Sigel. Later others came, commanded by Sterling Price and Ben McCulloch, and the movements of these patrols were on so large a scale that the doings of the trio appointed by the county court were scarcely noted. Governor Claiborne F. Jackson called a convention in February in order to ascertain the will of the people of Missouri as to whether they favored secession or remaining by the Union, it being his opinion that the interest and destiny of the slave-holding state were the same; that the state was in favor of remaining in the Union so long as there was any hope of maintaining the guarantees of the constitution; but that in the event of a failure to reconcile the differences which then threatened the disruption of the Union, it would be the duty of Missouri to stand by the South, and that he was utterly opposed to the doctrine of coercion in any event. The election of delegates to this convention was held February 18, 1861. Those who favored secession were in the minority, but they were outspoken. The candidates from the Nineteenth senatorial district, which included Greene, Christian, Taney, Stone and Webster counties, were Sample Orr and Littleberry Hendricks of this county, and R. W. Jamison, of Webster county, who were "unconditional Union" men, and opposed to the secession of Missouri under any circumstances; the candidates who were understood to be in favor of secession under certain emergencies were Nick F. Jones and Jabez Owen, of Greene, and T. W. Anderson. The result of the vote showed that the Union candidates had been selected by a large majority, a vote of four to one, each one of the Union candidates receiving a majority in Greene county of over one thousand votes. And although a number of those voting for the Union candidates afterwards became avowed secessionists, the election settled the political status of the people of this county and this district beyond any doubt, standing overwhelmingly in favor of the unconditional Union candidates. At the state convention, a few weeks later, it was decided that there was no adequate cause to impel Missouri to dissolve her connection with the federal Union, and the convention took unmistakable ground against the employment of military force by the federal government to coerce the seceding states, or the employment of the military force by the seceding states to assail the government of the United States. Judges Orr and Hendrick, the members of the convention from Greene county, upon their return home, were warmly commended by the people and press for their course. [239-240]

The people of this county took a marked interest in public affairs during the early part of 1861, and a number of public meetings were held, but no important action was taken. The prospect of war was freely discussed, and many prepared for it. A few openly sympathized with the seceded states, but the majority preferred to take no decided steps to aid either side. Many declared that Missouri had done nothing to bring on a war and should do nothing to help it along should one break out, declaring that her citizens were neither secessionists nor abolitionists. But a number of secret meetings were held by men of both sides. An effort was made to find out the politics of each man, and each side knew that the other was meeting secretly, but no interference was attempted, neither caring to voluntarily molest the other, and even little attempt was made to send out spies. One meeting by the which was held the latter part of March, near the place where Wilson's Creek was subsequently fought, was of considerable importance. It was attended by delegates from various counties of southwest Missouri to determine what was best to be done, and a general exchange of counsel by the leading Union men of this part of the state. Greene county was represented by Judge Hendricks and Col. Marcus Boyd. Cedar county's representative was Col. J. J. Gravelly, afterwards a member of Congress and lieutenant-governor of this state. A number of other men important in public life in surrounding counties of that time were present; and it is said that a secret agent of President Lincoln was there. The result of the conference was a determination to stand by the Union at all hazards, and if necessary fight for it. Those favoring the secession of the state worked zealously, preparing for emergencies, and were encouraged from time to time by emissaries of Governor Jackson, and the secession cause in central Missouri, who promised them plenty of arms if the time should come to use them. While most of these men deplored civil war, they determined to do their best in the interests of the South if war had come, allied, as they were, to that section by ties of kinship, of birthplace, of self-interest, of sympathy, of commonality of sentiment. And no men ever more honest in opinion or more in earnest than the secessionists of Greene county. Without making invidious comparisons or distinctions, it being always the first duty of the historian to give the facts, it is but fair to say that the leading Unionists of the county at that time were Henry Sheppard, Benjamin Kite, Marcus Boyd, Sample Orr, Mordecai Oliver, Littleberry Hendricks, R. J. McElhaney, John M. Richardson, John S. Phelps, R. B. Owen, and Dr. T. J. Bailey. Among the leading Southern sympathizers were Samuel Fulbright, Junius T. Campbell, Nick F. Jones, O. B. Smith, John W. Hancock, John Lair, E. T. Frazier, W. C. Price, Dr. G. P. Shackelford, Charles Carleton, Capt. Don Brown, P. S. Wilks, Joe Carthal, Thompson Brown and D. D. Berry, Sr. [241]

NEWSOF FORT SUMTER.

When the long suspense was broken by news that General Beauregard had fired on Fort Sumter, April 12, 1861, the Confederates thereby precipitating the long-looked for conflict, nowhere in the country did excitement run higher than in Greene county, and Governor Jackson's refusal to respond to the requisition on Missouri for a portion of the seventy-five thousand volunteers which President Lincoln called for, was the paramount topic of discussion here. Although Springfield had no railroad at that time, a telegraph line had been built here from Rolla, and the citizens were informed of the important happenings as quickly as any section of the Union. The Advertiser issued an extra edition announcing the Fort Sumter incident, and the people assembled in large crowds discussing the incident and its probable results. On April 22d Governor Jackson called a special session of the state Legislature to meet May 2d, and at that session a military bill, was passed, providing, among other things, for the organization of the military forces of the state, called the Missouri State Guard. Under orders from the governor one company was raised in Greene county, and Capt. Richard Campbell was placed in command. The Unionists of the county were aggressive and outspoken, knowing that they were greatly in the majority, and a military organization was soon affected. Arms were soon procured from the Overland State Company and other sources, and the stores round about were soon called upon to sell all their ammunition. A number of the leading men of the county had been in correspondence with the Union officers at Washington and St. Louis and had received instructions to prepare for the direst emergencies as best they could. So leaders were ready to organize the men, equip and drill them. The Union men of this county were of all political parties. John S. Phelps, congressman from this district, was a Douglas Democrat, and he returned from Washington to his home in Springfield early in the troubles and at a conference of Union men held in a local bank building on the public square, gave as his opinion that the honor and interests of the people of Greene county commanded them to stand by the Union, and other Democrats joined him in this view. The Bell and Everett men were nearly all Unionists. Some time previously, at the political meeting in Franklin county, Sample Orr, who had been candidate for governor, declared himself to be not only a Unionist, but a coercionist—making war upon the secessionists at once. He was a candidate on the Bell-Everett ticket. [242]

At that time Nathan Robinson, a secessionist, was postmaster at Springfield. Early in May, Benjamin Kite, who had voted for Lincoln, and who was one of the leading Republicans of the community, received a commission as postmaster, succeeding Mr. Robinson. It seems that the commission had been sent to Mt. Kite as an obscure country postoffice between Springfield and Bolivar, and the fact that a change in postmasters at the former place had been made was not known to the people. It was understood that such a change would be resisted. The new postmaster surprised Mr. Robinson one morning by boldly entering the office with his commission in one hand and a loaded revolver in the other and demanded that Mr. Robinson vacate at once and haul down the Confederate flag which he had raised over the postoffice, which he did without resistance.

About this time Gen. William S. Harney and Gen. Sterling Price agreed that no more troops were to be armed or organized in Missouri on either side, and this agreement had a tendency to quiet the minds of the people for a time, but they soon became alarmed again over reports to the effect that the secessionists were organizing, arming and rapidly preparing for hostilities. In the stage-coach at Springfield, a letter which J. S. Rains had carelessly dropped, showed that negotiations were pending with the Cherokee Indians and other tribes to induce them to join the secessionists, and that it was believed fifteen thousand armed savages could be secured. It was also rumored that guns and troops were expected from Arkansas. General Harney telegraphed General Price relating what had been told him of the threatened invasion from the south and intimating the probability of his sending a regiment to Springfield to protect peaceable citizens. General Price replied to him that his information was undoubtedly incorrect, that arms and men could not be crossing into Missouri without the knowledge of Governor Jackson or himself, and that they had had no such information, and advised against sending a regiment to this part of the state, fearing it would exasperate the people. Price assured him that he was dismissing his troops and that he intended to carry out his part of the agreement faithfully. The Union men at Springfield hoped that the agreement of these generals would be carried out, but they remained feverish and restless, and had no confidence in it being done. Gen. J. S. Rains began organizing secession bands under the military bill. It was believed that secessionists were in Arkansas soliciting aid, and that troops from that state were mobilizing near the state border and entrenching themselves at Harmony Springs. The Home Guard was organized at Springfield about this time, eight hundred men being mustered into service, and a general mass meeting of secessionists was called for June 11th. The Unionists of Springfield decided to guard the town to prevent their opponents from coming in and carrying away ammunition and provisions, and consequently details were made and the streets patroled all night and all the roads leading into town carefully watched. [243]

GATHERING OF THE CLANS.

Although the citizens of Greene county earnestly desired to evade actual warfare, all had felt for some time that war could not be averted. Emissaries from the seat of the Confederate government visited this section of the state at various times and encouraged those who sympathized with the South. Governor Jackson sent a large quantity of gun powder, to Linn creek, from which point it was distributed throughout southwestern Missouri to the State Guards and armed secessionists. Greene county's share was brought by stage-coach to Springfield and hidden in Campbell's barn, the major portion of which w was finally captured by Federal troops. The Home Guards, composed of Union men, had perfected a number of organizations in this and adjoining counties. They were armed with squirrel rifles, navy revolvers and shotguns. As per previous plans, Campbell's company of State Guards and a large body of secessionists gathered at Fulbright's spring on June 11, 1861. Governor Jackson, in forming the state into military districts, had commissioned John S. Rains, a prominent politician of Jasper county, brigadier-general of the Missouri State Guard of this district, called the eighth district, and it was understood to be in obedience to his orders that the Greene county company mustered. General Rains was well known to the people of this county, and had been a candidate for Congress on the Bell-Everett ticket for the Unionists, against John S. Phelps in the presidential campaign of 1860. He was also at this time a state senator. Word had been sent to all the Unionist companies to gather at Springfield on June 11th and make such a demonstration as would discourage the sessionists, so they gathered on the Kickapoo prairie, about two miles south of Springfield near a small pond, and they came from all directions, bringing their arms, teams, wagons and provisions. The day being oppressively hot and there being a lack of water and shade at the goose pond," John S. Phelps rode out to the meeting and invited the crowd to his farm nearby where it would be more comfortable and they accepted and soon all the companies were encamped in Phelps' pasture. The twelve or more companies were formed into a regimental organization, of which John S. Phelps was chosen colonel, Marcus Boyd, lieutenant-colonel, and Sample Orr and Pony Boyd, majors. The regiment had no sooner been formed than a number of the privates asked the officers to lead them at once to Fulbright's spring so they might roust the secessionists who were there organizing and drilling. Major Orr expressed his willingness to do so, but Colonel Phelps forbade any such demonstration, cautioning his men to do nothing to precipitate hostilities, as they would come soon enough of themselves, and the people would eventually have their fill of bloodshed. Meanwhile the secessionists were preparing for a great demonstration in town, desiring to parade the streets with their forces and raise over the court house a new flag designed for the occasion. Couriers freely passed between the two camps, and it was soon learned that if an attempt was made to raise the flag of the secessionists over the courthouse a collision would ensue. Col. Dick Campbell rode to the Union camp and conferred with Colonel Phelps, telling him of his plans to raise a Southern flag over the court house, to which Colonel Phelps stoutly objected, saving that no such banner had a right to, and should not wave over Greene county if it could be prevented. An amicable agreement was finally reached whereby Col. Campbell's men raised the state flag and the other side raised the stars and stripes at the same time over the court house and both regiments paraded the streets of Springfield at the same time, and the day passed without bloodshed, however a clash was narrowly averted. The Home Guards held the town that night, and all was quiet; however, they discussed plans to capture the Southern sympathizers the following day, but before an attempt was made in this direction, Colonel Campbell led his men away, and a conflict among fellow citizens was a second time averted, or more properly, postponed. Phelps' regiment of Home Guards, which had been raised without authority from any source, and only in obedience to the natural rights of self-protection, was disbanded for the time, each man to return to his home and to consider himself a "minute man," ready to be called out at a moment's notice, if needed. [244-245]

FIRST FEDERAL TROOPS APPEAR.

Upon the disbanding of Phelps' regiment, S. H. Boyd, Dr. E. T. Robberson and L. A. D. Crenshaw, all royal Union supporters, determined to go to St. Louis and impress upon the Federal military authorities there the importance of sending troops, arms and general munitions of war to Springfield without delay, and assist the Union men in southwest Missouri in order to hold this section against the secessionists. The three men made the trip on horseback each riding a white horse, to Rolla, Dr. Robberson, who knew the country well, leading the way. They left Springfield at night and selected a path through the woods in a direction which they knew there would be little danger of being intercepted. On their way they passed a large number of men, some alone, some in small bands, and all bearing arms whether they were friends or foes was never ascertained, for no questions were asked by anyone. The party rode rapidly, lost a horse, but reached Rolla in time to witness its capture by the first, Federal troops in this part of Missouri, the Third and Fifth Missouri Volunteer Regiments, commanded by Col. Franz Sigel. Some State Guards were in Rolla at the time, and being taken unawares by Sigel's Germans, many of them were made prisoners. The Greene county trio had the ride for nothing, for in a conference with Colonel Sigel they were informed that he was then on his way to southwestern Missouri for the purpose of holding this section in line for the Union, and to give special attention to Gen. James S. Rains and the division of State Guards, then, supposed to be concentrating near Sarcoxie, in Jasper county. A few days later Colonel Sigel resumed his march toward Springfield. He commanded his own regiment, the Third, while the Fifth regiment was commanded by Col. Charles E. Salomon, and Messrs. Boyd, Robberson and Crenshaw returned to Greene county with these two regiments. The long trip from Rolla over a very rough country was slow, and the Federals were compelled to feel their way cautiously. The country was well reconnoitered, detachments being sent out on either side the moving column. [245-246]

It was Sunday morning, June 24, 1861, when those who lived in the eastern part of Springfield looked out and saw uniformed men on horseback, riding at the head of a long column of troops marching along the St. Louis road, then a light breeze unfurled a banner, showing the familiar Stars and Stripes; then the band struck up a national air, and in a few moments the entire city knew that the Union soldiers or "Yankee Dutch" were coming; in fact, had come and were in possession of the town, "before anybody knew it." Most of the people were at church on this quiet Sabbath, when the invaders reached the public square just before noon. A pompous German major rode with his detachment to the Christian church, where the Rev. Charles Carleton was preaching to a large audience, the majority of who were known to be in favor of the Southern cause. A cordon of soldiers quickly surrounded the church building and respectfully waited until services were over and the benediction pronounced, when the major entered, filling the doorway with his massive figure and called out in stentorian tones: "In der name of mine adopted gountry, der United Stades of Ameriky, und der, Bresident, and der army, und by der orders of Franz Sigel, you are mine brisoners of war! Pass out, all of you mens, und to mine headquarters in der gourt house go, right avay quick! Forwart, March! Der laties may go home!" The court house was soon filled with prisoners accused of being guilty of real of premeditated treason against the government, and some impressments of property made. The powder stored in the Campbell barn which had been sent by Governor Jackson was found and promptly appropriated by Sigel's men. Pickets were thrown out on all roads leading into the city, and reconnoitering parties made incursions into the country from time to time. [246]

T. W. Sweeney, a captain in the regular army, who had been chosen a brigadier-general by the St. Louis Home Guards, came to Springfield on July 1, 1861, with a force of about fifteen hundred men, including the First Iowa Infantry, which wore gray uniforms, a portion of the Second Kansas Infantry, a battalion of regular dragoons and some artillery. He was recognized as a brigadier-general, and thus outranked all other Federal officers in southwestern Missouri, and so became commander of all Union forces here. Sweeney was an Irishman. He had fought in the Mexican war, where he lost an army. He was an aggressive fighter, but seemed to lack coolness and sound judgment, and although he started at the beginning of the war with a high rank, he never attained much distinction as a military man. He will be remembered as the man, who led the Fenian raid into Canada, after the close of the Civil war, which raid ended so ignominiously. During the early part of the Civil war it was the custom of the commanding generals to issue frequent proclamations. Many believe that they did neither good nor harm. They came frequently from the Federal officers who were in southwest Missouri. The Union people did not need them, and the secessionists paid no attention to them, unless it was to break them, and a number of men rode up and down the country tacking up copies of proclamations by Generals Price, McCulloch and Rains. We give the following from the pen of General Sweeney, which is a typical "proclamations" and which, it seems, had no effect whatever on the people of this locality: [247]

Headquarters Southwest Expedition—Springfield, Mo., July 4, 1861.
To the Citizens of Southwestern Missouri: Your governor has striven to cause the state to withdraw from the Union. Failing to accomplish this purpose by legislative enactment, he has already committed treason by levying war against the United States. He has endeavored to have you commit the same crime. Hence he has called for troops to enter the military service of the state, not to aid, but to oppose the government of the United States.

The troops under my command are stationed in your midst by the proper authority of our government. They are amongst you, not as enemies, but as friends and protectors of all loyal citizens. Should an insurrection of your slaves take place, it would be my duty to suppress it, and I should use the force at my command for that purpose. It is my duty to protect all loyal citizens in the enjoyment and possession of all their property, slaves included. That duty shall be performed.

I require all troops and armed men in this part of the state, now assembled, and which are arrayed against the government of the United States, to immediately disperse and return to their homes. If this shall not be done without delay, those hordes of armed men shall be taken prisoners or dispersed. I request every citizen to acknowledge that he owes allegiance to the United States to aid me to prevent the shedding of blood and to restore peace and quiet to this portion of the state. Those who have manifested a want of loyalty either by act or word, toward the government of the United States are requested to appear before me or any officer in command of any post or any detachment of troops under my command and take an oath of allegiance to our government. Gross misrepresentations of the oath, which has already been administered to many of your most respectable citizens, have been made. No loyal citizen will decline to take such an oath. It is the duty of every good citizen to bear allegiance to the government and to support the constitution of the United States, not to encourage secession by word or act, and to obey all legal orders eminating from the constituted authorities of the land. No loyal citizen will bear arms against his government or give aid and support to the enemies of the country. Such, in brief, are the obligations required.

I assure you that the government of the United States will deal leniently, yet firmly, with all its citizens who have been misled, and who desire to maintain and preserve the best government ever devised by human wisdom. (T. W. Sweeney, U. S. A., Brigadier General Commanding)

During the latter part of June, 1861, the forces under Governor Jackson and Colonel Marmaduke marched to the Southwestern part of the state to join the forces of General Rains, and to be in easy distance of Gen. Ben McCulloch's army at Fayetteville, Arkansas. When news of this movement reached Colonel Sigel he at once set out from Springfield with his regiment to intercept Jackson and Marmaduke, and if possible prevent the juncture of their forces with the troops under General Rains, and to attack the latter and destroy him in camp in Jasper county. Besides his own regiment, Sigel had the major portion of Colonel Salomon's regiment, eight pieces of Backoff's artillery, six and twelve pounders, and a company of regulars, and he "pressed" into service a number of horses and wagons, which he took from the people of the vicinity of Springfield. The little army left Springfield about July 1st, taking the road westward toward Mt. Vernon, it being sixty-five miles to Carthage. On July 5th the opposing forces came together at Carthage. Against the eight companies of Sigel's regiment, seven of Salomon's and the artillery under Backoff were the State Guards under Governor Jackson in person, and Generals Rains and Parsons. The Federals were defeated and fell back to Mt. Vernon, Sigel being foiled in his attempt to prevent the concentration of the secessionists. [247-248]

WHEN GENERAL LYON CAME.

Southwest Missouri was becoming the store center of the West. On July 3, 1861, Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, who was destined to play a very important role in the war drama in this part of the country, left Boonville, where a battle had been fought with Jackson and Marmaduke, three weeks previously. He was at the head of some two thousand troops, leading them to Southwestern Missouri for the purpose of co-operating with Sigel. Another force of about sixteen hundred men, comprising ten companies of Kansas volunteers, six companies of regular infantry and dragoons and five companies of cavalry, under the command of Maj. S. D. Sturgis, left Kansas City on June 25, destined also for southwest Missouri. At Grand river, in Henry county, the two commands formed a junction and then started to find Sigel. General Lyon upon hearing of the Union defeat and retreat eastward, changed his direction more to the eastward, reaching Greene county about July 13th and went into camp near Pond Spring in the western part of the county and on the above mentioned date Lyon rode on into Springfield. Those who saw him enter the town always remembered vividly his appearance. He was mounted on a splendid iron-gray horse, with an escort and body-guard of ten picked men from the First Regiment, United States, Regular Cavalry, all of whom were men remarkable for their large size, strong physique, and fine horsemanship. The bright, neatly fitting blue uniform contrasted sharply with his red beard and long red hair. He treated citizens with kindness and courtesy although impressing their domestic animals and such provisions as he needed for his army. He soon got in communication with Sigel, also with General Fremont at St. Louis, asking the latter to send him reinforcements at once. He also busied himself with recruiting for the Federal service, and issued commissions to the officers of the Home Guard companies, and mustering in enlisted men. His arrival in Springfield was heralded broadcast and he was soon visited by Union leaders from all over this section of the state, by men from the various counties within a radius of seventy-five miles. [249]

The regiment of Home Guards which General Lyon accepted and which had been organized during the previous month, contained twelve companies and an aggregate of eleven hundred and thirty-three officers and men and it saw considerable service of a varied nature in Greene and adjoining counties. A number from Christian county were in the regiment, but all the field officers were from Greene county, as follows: John S. Phelps, colonel; Marcus Boyd, lieutenant-colonel; S. H. Boyd, major; R. J. McElhaney, adjutant; Henry Sheppard, quartermaster. The companies from Greene county were as follows: Company A—John A. Lee, captain; Jason T. Fielden, first lieutenant; aggregate strength of company, fifty-eight. Company B— William Vaughn, captain; Isham W. Faught, first lieutenant; George M. Keltner, second lieutenant; aggregate strength of the company, seventy-three. Company C—J. T. Abernathy, captain; Hugh Boyd, first lieutenant; William Cliborne, second lieutenant; aggregate strength, seventy-five. Company D—Charles I. Dunwright, captain; William H. Kershner, first lieutenant; Walter A. Gault, second lieutenant; aggregate strength, ninety-six. Company G— T. C. Piper, captain, resigned July 30th, and succeeded by J. A. Mack, Sr.; T. V. Massey, first lieutenant; T. B. Gibson, second lieutenant; aggregate strength, fifty-six. Company K— John W. Gatty, captain, resigned July 8th; Hosea G. Mullings, first lieutenant; J. S. Roberson, second lieutenant; aggregate strength, one hundred and twenty-five. Company L—William H. McAdams, captain; David C. Allen, first lieutenant; S. B. Rainey, second lieutenant; aggregate strength, seventy-five. Company M—Sampson P. Bass, captain; Pleasant A. Hart, first lieutenant; Stephen L. Wiles, second lieutenant; Henry Sullivan, third lieutenant; aggregate strength, one hundred and one. Company N—Daniel L. Mallicoat, captain; George W. Cooper, first lieutenant; Francis L. Milligan, second lieutenant; aggregate strength, sixty-two. Other companies were "E," Captain Nelson; "F," Captain Stevens (died on a scout, June 25, 1861); "H," Captain Jesse Galloway (killed September 29,1861); and "I," Captain Allred, from other counties. The regiment was disbanded August 17, 1861, one week after the battle of Wilson's Creek. Many of its members re-enlisted in Phelps' regiment and the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry. [249]

A FALSE ALARM.

A picnic and basket-dinner was held by the women of Springfield who were of Union families at Pond Spring near where the army of General Lyon was camped in the western part of Greene county. The officers and visitors were spending a pleasant hour at lunch under the shade of the trees, when a great cloud of dust was observed along the road to the west and a column of troops was seen to be approaching. The alarm was given and great excitement prevailed, everyone believing that Price and McCulloch, who were known to be not far away, were marching on the Union camp with their armies, and the dust was supposed to be caused by the vanguard of their approaching commands. The long role sounded in the Union camp, bugles rang out, "there was mounting in hot haste," the infantry swung into line, the artillery unlimbered and formed in position, and everything was ready for a fight within a few minutes. The picnickers were placed in secure retreats in a deep hollow in the rear of the picnic grounds. But it was soon discovered that the marching column was composed of Union refugees, with their wagons, cattle, household goods, men and their families who had been frightened out of Barry, Newton and McDonald counties by the troops of Price and Rains. [250]

Recently other Federal troops had reached Springfield and passed on. Among these was the Fourth Regiment United States Reserve Corps, under Col. B. Gratz Brown, of St. Louis, afterwards a United States senator and governor of Missouri. When the first eight companies of this regiment reached Springfield on July 5th and hearing of Sigel's defeat at Carthage it marched two days later on to Mt. Vernon to assist him, but returned to Springfield July 9th, and about a week later went back to St. Louis and was mustered out, its terms of enlistment having expired. When Sigel went west to Neosho before the battle of Carthage he left two companies of Salomon's regiment in Springfield under Maj. Cronenbold, and in the meantime these troops had made numerous arrests among the citizens, charged with "disloyalty," and the court house which was used as a prison, was soon full. Colonel Sigel had appointed Col. John S. Phelps and Marcus Boyd a commission to examine into the cases of the imprisoned, with power to release or retain in custody as they saw proper. The result was that few were kept as prisoners.

There was at that time a large foundry in Springfield and its workmen were set to casting cannon balls for Sigel's artillery, and these together with wagon loads of provisions were hurried to him as he was about out of both. This was all done under direction of Col. Phelps, who was, in a sense, commander of the post here. In the rush to get the cannon balls to the front, some of them left the foundry so hot that one wagon was set on fire. About this time Major Dorn was a special agent for the Southerners among the tribes in the Indian Territory. His family resided in Springfield, and, upon hearing of the precarious situation here he sent for his family to join him. Members of the family rode in a carriage while the household effects were placed in wagons. When but a few miles out of town, Colonel Phelps sent a detachment of soldiers and brought the refugees back, making a thorough search of the wagons, for he had been told that they contained ammunition and other articles contraband of war intended for use of the secessionists under Price and Rains. However, nothing was found and a few days later the Dorn family was allowed to proceed on its way.

A company of Home Guards was mustered into the Union service for three months by authority of General Sweeney soon after the Federal occupation of Springfield. This company consisted of eighty-nine men, and was armed with muskets taken from a company of mutineers belonging to one of Sigel's regiments which had become insubordinate on the march from Rolla to Springfield. The company was an independent one and not attached to any regiment or battalion. It was organized chiefly for duty in Springfield and was here during Sigel's absence and the battle of Carthage. [251]

THE EXPEDITION TO FORSYTH.

Hearing that a large secession camp was at Forsyth, Taney county, General Sweeney was detailed to take about twelve hundred men from Springfield on July 20th to break it up. The command was composed of two companies of the regular cavalry under Capt. D. S. Stanley; a section of Captain Totten's battery, in charge of Lieutenant Sokalski; about five hundred men of the First Iowa Infantry, under Lieutenant colonel Merritt; Captain Wood's company of mounted Kansas volunteers, and the Second Kansas Infantry under Colonel Mitchell. The little army left Springfield on Saturday and reached Forsyth two days later, on Monday afternoon captured the town with but little difficulty, putting to flight about two hundred State Guards, who had been quartered in the court house and secured some guns, provisions, horses, clothing, blankets and a few prisoners; also a quantity of lead was taken from a well into which it had been thrown when the invaders approached the town. Three shells were thrown into the court house after the Unionists had possession of the town. In the skirmish, three Federals were wounded and a horse was shot from under Captain Stanley. It was reported that five were killed of the secessionists and ten wounded among whom was a Captain Jackson. For some unknown reason General Sweeney did not molest a Confederate camp of one thousand men, only fifty miles from Forsyth, at Yellville, Arkansas.

The Confederates were not ignorant of the activity of the Federals in southwest Missouri during this period and were making every preparation possible to dispute the occupancy of this section of the state with their foes. Gen. Ben McCulloch, a dashing Texan, who had seen service as a "ranger," had been ordered by the Confederate government to go to the assistance of its allies in Missouri. He accordingly established temporary headquarters at Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he was joined by one regiment of Louisiana and Arkansas volunteers and a division of Arkansas state troops. The Missouri State Guards, under Governor Jackson and General Rains, had first gathered near Sarcoxie, Jasper county, later pitching their tents on the Cowskin Prairie, in McDonald county, where considerable time was spent in drinking, organizing and recruiting. From the latter encampment Gen. Sterling Price began moving the State Guards, on July 25, 1861, toward Cassville, Barry county, where he was to meet the troops of Generals McCulloch and N. B. Pearce, also Gen. J. H. McBride's division of State Guards. Here preparations were to be made for a forward movement on General Lyon, Sigel, Sweeney and other Union commanders, whose troops were in the vicinity of Springfield. The junction of the secession forces was effected on July 29th, and the combined armies were soon put under marching orders. [252]

 

The First Division was commanded by General McCulloch in person; Gencral Pearce, of Arkansas, commanded the Second Division, and the Third Division, under General Steen, of Missouri, left Cassville, August 1st and 2d, taking the Springfield road. It is said that General Price, with the major portion of his infantry, accompanied the Second Division. A few days later a regiment of Texas Rangers, under Colonel Greer, joined the advancing Confederates. The advance guard was commanded by Gen. J. S. Rains, the noted Jasper county politician. His was the Eighth Division and of this he selected six companies of mounted Missourians to lead the van. Rains was given the advance because many of his men were residents of this section of the state and were familiar with the roads and general lay of the land. On Friday, August 2d, he camped at Dug Springs, in Christian county, about twenty miles southwest of Springfield. The main army was some distance to the westward. The Confederate army was really composed of three armies, as follows: The Missouri State Guard under General Price, a division of Arkansas state troops under Gen. N. Bart Pearce, and a division of Southern troops under Gen. Ben McCulloch. Pearce's division was composed of the First Arkansas Cavalry, under Col. De Rosey Carroll, Capt. Charles A. Carroll's independent company of cavalry, the Third Arkansas Infantry, under Col. John R. Gratiot, the Fourth Arkansas Infantry, under Col. J. D. Walker, the Fifth Arkansas Infantry, under Col. T. P. Dockery and Capt. Woodruff's Battery, the "Pulaski Artillery." All of the infantry regiments had enlisted for three months only and their terms of enlistment expired about September 1. They were properly state militia. Another Arkansas battery under Capt. J. G. Reid, of Ft. Smith, was also with General Pearce, but later assigned to McCulloch's division. [253]

AN ENGAGEMENT AT DUG SPRINGS.

The Federal scouts duly informed General Lyon of the concentration of the Confederate troops, and of the intention of the combined armies to engage him in battle. His spies were bold and faithful. They sometimes marched in the enemy's ranks, loitered about the headquarters of the commanding officers and in whatever manner possible gathered information that was of great value to the Federals, then left the camps unobserved, slipped through the line of pickets and made their way in all haste to inform their chief. Most of these scouts and spies were residents of this part of the state and were familiar with "the lay of the land" in general. On the other hand the spies of General Price were just as clever and daring, and gained such information as he required from the Federal camp. They, too, were residents of this part of the state. A number of Greene county men acted as scouts and spies for both armies. Although the Southern army greatly outnumbered his own, Lyon, the fighting Irishman that he was, decided to go out and give battle, not waiting for the enemy to come to him, but meeting him half way. He had sent numerous messages to General Fremont for reinforcements from St. Louis, but not deeming it advisable to wait any longer on uncertainty he got his army in motion late Thursday afternoon August 1st. The forces of Sigel and Sturgis had swelled his army to five thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight men of all arms, infantry, cavalry and eighteen pieces of artillery. Mounting his white charger he led the force in person, taking the road toward Cassville, leaving behind a force of volunteers and Home Guards to hold Springfield. That night the army bivouacked about ten miles southwest of Springfield on a branch of the James river. His subordinate commanders were Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sweeney, Col. Franz Sigel and Maj. S. D. Sturgis. Early the following morning the command resumed its march. The men suffered severely from the dust, intense heat and thirst. Most of the wells and streams were dry as a result of the drought. Late in the afternoon as much as five dollars was offered for a canteen of warm ditch water, but the column pushed on until the vanguard came upon General Rains' troops at Dug Springs, which is in an oblong valley, five miles in length and broken by projecting spurs of the hills, which form wooded ridges. AIthough the enemy was first seen about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, at a house by the roadside with a wagon partly laden with cooked provisions from which they were driven away by a shell from one of Captain Totten's guns, it was not until five o'clock in the afternoon that general fighting began. At that time a battalion of regular infantry under Capt. Frederick Steele, a company of United States Dragoons under Capt. D. S. Stanley, and two six-pounder's of Captain Totten's battery had a skirmish with Rains' men, driving the latter away, with the loss of one killed and a half dozen wounded, and capturing ten prisoners. Lieutenant Northcut is said to have been mortally wounded. The Federal loss was four killed outright, one mortally wounded, and about thirty slightly wounds. Three of the Union killed were Corporal Klein and Private Devlin and Givens. H. D. Fulbright, a native of Greene county, where he had resided most of his life, was sun struck during the engagement and died. Another Greene county man, W. J. Frazier, of Captain Campbell's company was slightly wounded. Although Captain Campbell was at that time absent on a scout, the larger portion of his company participated in the skirmish. Rains' troops were pursued by the Federals the following morning as far as Curran, twenty-six miles from Springfield and almost on the county line of Stone and Barry counties. During the day a scouting party of Southerners, which had come from Marionville, was met, but they fled when Totten's artillery opened fire on them. [253-254]

GENERAL LYON RETREATS.

Upon reaching Curran, General Lyon decided to return to Springfield, having found the forces of the enemy to be so overwhelming compared to his own, and await the reinforcements which he still had some hopes of being sent from St. Louis, deciding that he could not afford to risk a decisive battle under the circumstances, for the possession of southwest Missouri, which seemed to mean so much at that time. His scouts had reported that a large force of State Guards was marching from the direction of Sarcoxie to join Price. Accordingly after a council of war with his officers, Sweeney, Sigel, Majors Sturgis, Sheppard, Schofield and Conant, and the artillery captains, Totten and Schaeffer, General Lyon concluded that it was best to counter-march his army and soon was on the road to Springfield, coming this time directly to the town, where he arrived August 5th. 'The main body of the army camped about the town. Nearly two thousand of the volunteers and regulars under Lieutenant-colonel Andrews, of the First Missouri, and Major Sturgis were stationed about four miles from town, where they remained until August 7th, when they were withdrawn to the line of defense around the town. A guard was at once placed on all the roads and avenues of approach to Springfield. No one was allowed to pass out of the town except physicians, although everybody was admitted. No camp was ever better guarded and all knowledge of what was going on within the Union lines was prevented reaching the enemy.

According to Col. Thomas L. Snead, General Price's assistant adjutant in 1861, he and General Price rode over to General McCulloch's camp at McCulloch's farm, on Sunday morning, August 4th, and in the presence of Snead and Col. James McIntosh, who was McCulloch's adjutant general, General Price urged McCulloch to co-operate with him in an attack on Lyon who was supposed to be in the immediate front, the Confederates having not at the time been apprised of the fact that he had retreated. It seems that McCulloch was a man of considerable obstinacy, overestimating his own ability as a commander, and had no faith whatever in the generalship of Price, in fact,, had a general contempt for the Missouri officers in general. Price was a major-general of Missouri militia, McCulloch only a Confederate brigadier. Price was somewhat boisterous in manner, had a loud voice and a positive address, and always spoke to McCulloch as if he regarded the latter to be his inferior. At this conference the following parley took place: "Do you mean to march on and attack Lyon, General McCulloch?" Price inquired. "I have not received orders yet to do so, sir," answered McCulloch, adding, "My instructions leave me in doubt whether I will be justified in doing so." "Now, sir," said Price, still in his loud, imperious tone, "I have commanded in more battles than you ever saw, General McCulloch. I have three times as many troops as you. I am of higher rank than you are, and I am twenty years your senior in age and general experience. I waive all these considerations, General McCulloch, and if you will march upon the enemy I will obey your orders and give you the whole command and all the glory to be won there." McCulloch then said that he was expecting a dispatch from President Jefferson Davis and would take General Price at his word if it should be favorable, and if after consideration with General Pearce the latter should agree also to co-operate, the latter having an independent command of Arkansas state troops. General Price immediately called his general officers together and told them what he had done. They were at first violently opposed to his action, but finally they gave their unwilling consent to what they considered an unnecessary self-abasement. In the afternoon McCulloch and McIntosh came to Price's headquarters and McCulloch announced that he had received, in the meantime, dispatches from Richmond that gave him greater freedom of action, and also that he would receive that night Greer's Texas regiment, comprising one thousand men as reinforcements, and that he would, therefore, accede to General Price's proposition and assume command of the combined armies and march against Lyon. Accordingly General Price directed Col. Snead to write the necessary orders and had them published to the Missouri State Guard. Word had come that the Federals were retreating and the orders were to move forward that very night. Later it was discovered that General Lyon had escaped with his army. [255-256]

CONFEDERATES ENTER GREENE COUNTY.

The three divisions of the Confederate army were now united, General Rains having fallen back on the main force after his rout at Dug Springs,McCulloch and Price being at that time five miles away, camped on Crane creek in the northern part of Stone county, and he reported to them that he had been assailed by a force much greater than the combined Southern armies. It seemed that he had been thoroughly frightened. His report was given greater weight than it should have been by his superior officer, General McCulloch advised a retreat, but General Price counseled a forward movement, his officers and men agreeing with him and asking to be led into combat, but as McCulloch was not willing to advance, General Price asked him for the loan of some arms for a portion of his command which was without adequate arms, that the Missourians might advance alone. McCulloch refused and the confusion and embarrassing disagreement continued until Sunday evening, August 4th, when McCulloch received orders from the Confederate capital to advance on General Lyon. This order greatly pleased General Price. A council was at once held at which McCulloch agreed to march on Springfield provided he was granted the chief command of the consolidated army. Price was anxious to give battle to the Federals and defeat and drive them from this section of the state before General Fremont could send reinforcements from St. Louis, so he consented to the terms of the imperious Texan, although Price was by all right and justice in supreme command of all the Confederate forces in Missouri. And he said, "I am not fighting for distinction, but for the liberation of my country, and I am willing to surrender not only my command but my life, if necessary, as a sacrifice to the cause." So about midnight the Southerners broke camp and began their march on the Fayetteville road toward Springfield August 4. Their progress was slow and cautious until August 6th, when the crossing at Wilson's creek was reached, near the Christian county line, ten miles southwest of Springfield. [256-257]


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