History of Greene County, Missouri

R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian

Chapter 10
From the Battle of Wilson's Creek to the Close of 1861

Part 2
Zagonyi's Charge — The March Begun — "The Enemy in Sight" — Refreshments —Capture of Maj. White — The State Guards in Camp — nearing the Ground — Preparing to Receive Company — "Forward! Charge!" — The Fight Begun — Foley Comes Up — Forming Again — The Second Charge — Victory —Rout of the State Guards — The Scouts and the irish Dragoons — Into Springfield — "Welcome!" — Killing of Mr. Stephens — Raising the Stars and Stripes over the Court House — Mrs. Worrell's Flag — Back to Fremont — The Fremont Body Guard — Release of Maj. White — Tom Dryden, the Union messenger Boy — The Flag of Truce Episode — A "Yankee Trick" — Casualties of Zagonyi's Charge


While the army of Gen. Fremont lay along the Pomme de Terre river, about 50 miles to the north of Springfield, Maj. Charles Zagonyi, in command of Fremont's Body Guard, an organization irregularly enlisted, and numbering three companies of near 100 men each, received orders from the general in command to take a detail from each of the companies of his own command, and, uniting with Major Frank J. White's battalion of "Prairie Scouts," proceed to Springfield by a forced march, and if possible surprise and capture the place. Two citizens from the northern part of this county had made their way to Gen. Fremont's camp, and, after much difficulty in obtaining an audience with "His High Mightiness," who was surrounded by as many guards and as difficult of access as a czar, informed him that the force of secession troops in Springfield did not then exceed 500 men, the most of whom were poorly armed.


Thursday evening, October 24, at about 9 o'clock, when it was very dark, the command started. At daybreak, Friday morning, Zagonyi had reached a point five miles north of Bolivar, and here he halted for breakfast and to rest and feed the horses. Here Maj. White, who with his "Scouts," numbering 154 men, had been first ordered on the expedition by Gen. Sigel, became too unwell to sit on his horse, and at Zagonyi's suggestion remained a short time at a farm house, and then pushed on in A carriage accompanied by a lieutenant and live men as an escort. [372]


Proceeding toward Springfield Maj. Zagonyi saw no enemy or sign of one until within about eight miles of town, up in Robberson township, when a squad of some ten or fifteen armed men were discovered taking wheat from a barn on the prairie near by. A platoon of the Body Guard was sent after them, and some of them were captured; the others succeeded in making good their retreat through the neighboring woods. One was badly wounded by saber cuts, and taken to Mr. Daniels' for treatment. It was then ascertained that the men were a foraging party from a considerable force of State Guards at Springfield. Farther on, but in the same neighborhood, Maj. Zagonyi learned from Union citizens that this force was much larger than had been expected, but it was resolved to press on at all hazards.


At Josiah Burney's still-house, on Sac river, in section 33-30-22, Robberson township, a detachment of the Federals are reported as having halted "twenty minutes for refreshments," and in twenty minutes were ready to charge and to fight Price's entire army if necessary! The farther they progressed the braver and more reckless they became, and though the citizens of whom they inquired were emphatic in their statements that the force in Springfield numbered 1,000 or 1,200, yet they demanded to be led forward instantly, expressing their ability to "clean out" any force numbering not more than four to one. Zagonyi's guide, W. P. Cox, Esq., of Christian county, emphatically denies this statement, and says no still-house was visited and no whisky drank before the fight, to his knowledge.


Meantime Maj. White, who was coming along in his carriage, reached the forks of a road, and chancing not to take the one leading to the right, which Zagonyi had followed, went on until when near Springfield he and his escort were suddenly surrounded by a strong detachment of State Guards and made prisoners. The major states that he broke his own sword, and that one of his escort refused to surrender and had to be pulled from his horse by his captors. The major blamed his capture upon Zagonyi, who, he says, should have left a picket at the forks of the road to direct him which one to take. The party was taken to the main camp just west of Springfield, where, Maj. White states, they were surrounded by a crowd of excited secession soldiers, some of whom cocked their revolvers and proposed to "shoot the d—d jayhawkers." Two officers (whose names unfortunately can not be learned1), interfered and protected them. Maj. White was quite sick and cursed and swore at his captors for disturbing him in his condition.


The secession forces at Springfield were encamped just west of town, on the Mt. Vernon road, about one mile and a quarter from the public square, and on both sides of the road. They numbered not far from 1,000 men, about 800 of whom were cavalry, the remainder were infantry. They were very well supplied with baggage wagons, tents, etc., but for the most part were poorly armed. They were new troops principally and had seen but little if any service. Their arms were shotguns, rifles, revolvers, etc. Some of them had no arms at all. These forces were under the general command of Col. Julian Frazier, of Wright county,2 and were composed of the cavalry battalion of Col. Miscal Johnston, the infantry battalion of Col. Schnable, and the companies or battalions of Capt. Hawthorn, of Dallas county, Capt. Wickersham, of Laclede, and Col. Turner's. The men were chiefly from counties east and northeast of this. Col. Julian Frazier was the senior colonel. Col. J. A. Schnable was next in rank. Lieut. Col. Turner was in command of the forces at Springfield. Col. John H. Price, of this county, was in Springfield at this time in person, but without any considerable number of his command.

The forces in camp had been warned of the Federal approach by those of the foragers who escaped when the attack was made upon them at the wheat granaries up in Robberson township. Preparations were at once made to receive the attack. A force of riflemen (infantry) were placed in ambush in the woods bordering the road that skirted the camp, perhaps 500 of the cavalry (Frazier's) were formed on the open ground of the encampment, and the remainder were ambushed in a cornfield and in the thickets at the rear. [374]

South of Sac river Zagonyi left the Bolivar road and struck across the country in a southwest direction until he came on the Grand prairie. In a short time he procured the services of Jabez Townsend, a strong Union citizen, to guide him over the Carthage road and upon the enemy's camp. The road was reached about four miles west of Springfield.


Zagonyi had pressed on, coming over the main Carthage road, until he arrived within a short distance from town. The ground not being favorable for offensive operations with cavalry, after a consultation with his guide, Parker Cox, the major resolved to cross over the prairie to the westward and come into town over the Mt. Vernon road. This maneuver was successfully accomplished, but upon arriving within about three miles of town some citizens gave information that "the rebels, two thousand strong," were drawn up and prepared to fight!


The ground selected by the secession troops for their reception of the Federals was in the immediate vicinity of their camp, on the Mt. Vernon road, in and about the fair grounds as they then were. The road was the same over which Lyon had marched on his way to the fatal field of Wilson's Creek, and by another singular coincidence the same Wilson's creek, here as a mere brook, however, ran through the lot in which the engagement was to and did take place. As Zagonyi was to come in from the west, Johnston and Frazier and Schnable had scattered skirmishers throughout the dense woods or chapparal on either side of the lane along which the Federals were to pass. The woods and rough bushy ground to the south of the road was also pretty well filled with shot-gun men. Another detachment guarded the train, holding possession of the fair ground, then surrounded by a high board fence. The main body of the force, however, was drawn up somewhat in the form of a hollow square, in an enclosure to the north, the greater portion of the infantry lying along a high Virginia rail fence, running nearly to the creek and also at the head of the field bordering on the woods; the cavalry—or much of it—was on the other side of the field, also supported by the forest.

The only point of attack for Zagonyi was down the lane on the right, and the enemy were so disposed as to command this approach perfectly. If the secession infantry should stand, it would go hard with the blue-coats. There were deadly marksmen lying behind the trees and lurking in the bushes; a long line of footmen stood upon the summit of the slope, and had only to stop backward but a few paces into the thicket to be inaccessible to any cavalry, and there were horsemen sufficient to sweep Zagonyi's band from the earth if the infantry and dismounted men should do their work well. [375]


It was now between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The command was given, "Forward!" In a brisk trot the Federals passed the fair grounds. Now they are at the corner of the lane where the wood begins; it runs close to the fence on the left for a hundred yards, and beyond it can be seen the white tents of the secession camp. They were half way past the forest when "Crack! crack! crack!" sharp and loud the shot-guns broke out upon the head of the column. A number of horses staggered, and some of the riders reeled, but on pressed the troop cheering and shouting. At the farther corner of the wood, Zagonyi saw the array drawn up to receive him. There was but one thing to do—run the gauntlet; gain the cover of the hill and the shelter of the creek bank, then re-form and charge up the steep. Checking his horse but a moment, these thoughts flashed through his mind. Waving his saber over his head, the fiery Hungarian call out, in his broken English, "Forwarts! Vollow me! Gal-lope!" and away dashed the troopers headlong down the declining stony road.

The first company and most of the second of the Body Guard followed. From the left scores of rifles and shot-guns sent out a volley of bullets and buckshot. Half a dozen of the troopers clutched wildly at the air and fell from their saddles, while the riderless horses ran madly against the fences. Farther down the hill flew the rest of the command, the guns in the underbrush at the left clearing wide gaps through the ranks. At last the brook was reached and the command halted under the shelter of its banks. Here the men dismounted and, turning about, attacked the fence and soon leveled it to the ground. Zagonyi now saw that only a portion of his men had followed him.

"We are lost!" he exclaimed frantically, and then bestirred himself in trying to extricate his men, while he waited for those who were behind. [376]


The Hungarian did not wait long. Captain Foley, with his company, was soon with him. When Foley had reached the lower corner of the wood and had seen the enemy's position he thought a flank attack might be advantageously made. He ordered some men to dismount and take down the fence, and this was done. But the fire was severe, and Foley saw that the wood was so dense that it could not be penetrated. Then in a moment he resolved to join Zagonyi, and shouted, "Forward!" At the same time his lieutenant, a stalwart Kentuckian, called out, "Come on, boys! Remember old Kentucky!" and onward galloped the company. Fire on every side of them! From behind trees—from under the fences—from the bushes. It was a wonder so many escaped. Lieut. Kennedy was wounded, and the other lieutenant, J. W. Goff, got a buckshot in his hip, while blue-coats and bay horses lay pretty thick along the lane, but the greater portion of the company were soon with Zagonyi amid the briers and brambles along the little creek.


And amid the briers and brambles Zagonyi formed the remainder of the Body Guard for a charge on the main body of the enemy, the objective point being a small open space, reaching which it was intended to "spread out" and ride down the concealed enemy in the bushes. The State Guards fired down into the hollow, but the bullets passed harmlessly over the heads of the cavalrymen girding themselves for the final conflict.


At last came the order to advance. Lieut. Maythenyi, another Hungarian, with thirty men, was ordered to attack Frazier's cavalry. Drawing sabers, away they dashed upon a considerable detachment of Frazier's command, standing "to horse" upon the top of an eminence to the south. A line of fire upon the summit of the hill in front marked the position of the infantry. Right for the center of the cavalry drove Maythenyi and his men. The secessionists wavered, broke, and then scattered in flight through a cornfield in the rear, the riders of the bay horses following them and chasing them through the cornfield and out into the open country—away—away—some into and through Springfield—some one way and some another. [377]


Zagonyi held the main body well in hand until Maythenyi was fairly at work, and the State Guard cavalry had broken, when he rose in his stirrups, and, swinging his saber, called out: "In open order—charge! " With a sudden rush the horsemen rose out of the bed of the creek and mounted the bank, then sprang away, the line opening out to give the troopers room to use their sword arms. As they charged the line spread out, fan-like, some charging to the right, some to the left, some toward the center, the open space in front. The shot guns and the rifles and the revolvers of the State Guards were plied vigorously for a few moments, but the onset was not checked. Into the open space some rushed and, as fast as one can count nine, that number of horses were shot down in an area a rod square.


The great majority of the State Guards now broke and began retreating. A few of the bolder spirits held their ground, and from behind trees kept up a desultory fusilade, resisting all efforts to dislodge them for a few minutes. The Federals charged into the brush more than once and as often fell back, and then opened at random with their revolving rifles, each gun containing six shots. In one of the charges a lieutenant was caught around the shoulders by a grape-vine, lifted out of his saddle, and hung dangling in the air, until released from his ridiculous position by a comrade's saber-stroke.

Very soon all of the secessionists were in flight, and the Federal troops were after them. Some ran through the fair grounds, others hurried through the cornfield, but the greater part swarmed along the edge of the woods and kept under cover, striving to get to a road that would lead to Gen. Price and safety—to a road that would lead to Neosho or Cassville, even if they had to go around Robin Hood's barn to reach it—while all the time Zagonyi's men were chasing them and beating up the bushes and timber for them and routing them whenever thev could be found. One State Guard was killed behind Judge Farmer's barn, cut down with a saber and then shot. Two others were killed near by. The Prairie Scouts had come up on the Carthage road, through a blind lane running north and south. A great many ran or galloped away for the cover of the town and were chased through the streets and alleys far out on the prairie south and east. Zagonyi went riding about wildly and cheering enthusiastically, "Come on, Old Kentuck," he shouted to the Kentuckians; "I am mit you!" [378]


Meantime what part had Major White's, "Prairie Scouts" taken in the fray? The fight is called "Zagonyi's Charge," but the charge was not solely his own. White's command consisted of the two companies of Capt. Charles Fairbanks and Miles Kehoe, L and C, 1st Mo. Cavalry Volunteers, and the Irish Dragoons, an independent company, under Capt. Patrick Naughton. When Zagonyi made his detour to the right and came upon the main body of the Southrons, Capt. Fairbanks (in command of the detachment at the time, Maj. White being a prisoner), came up with his command in the rear of the Body Guards, the Irish Dragoons, Capt. Naughton, in front, and received the severe fire of Schnable's and Johnston's infantry, and a portion of Frazier's cavalry. Whereupon, it seems they fell back, or as the official report states "counter-marched," and went towards the west. Some citizens who were near Mr. Newbill's, half a mile west of the fair grounds, and Mr. J. G. Newbill himself, saw a battalion of cavalry gallop back to the west just after the fighting began, then turn about and gallop forward, then in a few moments they came back, then went forward again, and a portion of them went to the northward and got on the Carthage road. It is reasonable to presume that this was White's force. Maj. White himself says that his command made "three charges on the flank of the rebel force."3

In the charge (or one of the charges) made by the Irish Dragoons, Capt. Naughton was shot in the right lung; Lieut. Patrick Connelly was mortally wounded through the chest; Private Charles Gilchrist was shot in the arm, and Private Jerrold Connor was shot in the hip. All these belonged to the Irish company. No record can be found of the killing or wounding of any of the companies of Fairbanks and Kehoe.

Surgeon Melcher says of the Irish Dragoons: "There was a company under Zagonyi of whose action little mention has been made, although it charged into the thickest of the fight. I refer to the Irish Dragoons, under Capt. Pat. Naughton. I found Capt. Naughton the next day in a house, half a mile or more west of the battle ground, with a bullet in his right lung, from the effects of which wound he never entirely recovered, and died under my charge in St. Louis in 1873. First Lieutenant Patrick Conley [or Connelly] was struck by two balls, one passing entirely through his body from left to right, and through his right arm, making four holes, and then from front to back through his right lung. Mr. Kimbrough and myself found him with these six bullet holes, lying on the around so much exhausted and chilled as to be unable to speak. Finding there was a spark of life in him, we took him to the hospital, where he was partially restored. He lived eight days, fully conscious to the last." [379]

It has been reported and published that Lieut. Connelly was killed by John Wickersham, a fourteen-year old boy from Lebanon (now of Clinton), a member of his brother's company of State Guards; but from the statements made to the writer by Mr. Wickersham, and from other evidences, it is plain that this is a mistake. The man killed by young Wickersham was Corporal Norrison [or Norton], of the Body Guard. Wickersham carried off his revolvers and saddle.


The Body Guards galloped up into Springfield, and, after riding wildly about the streets for some time, rode down to the square, liberated the Union prisoners in the jail, and then, as it was nearly dark, and it was not certain but that the secession troops would rally, reform, and turn back upon them with serious effect—retreat was commenced. How glad the Union citizens of Springfield were to see the brave troopers when they rode in, gay in their splendid uniforms and flushed with victory! It is said that a few enthusiastic ladies ran out to the sidewalks, waving flags and handkerchiefs, and kissed the gallant cavaliers, whom they hailed as their deliverers. But the secession ladies are accused of having similarly saluted some of Price's and McCulloch's men when they came in after the battle of Wilson's Creek.


The joy of the Union citizens of Springfield at the advent of the Federal troops, with the news that a large army of occupation was on its way, was greatly marred by the killing of one of their number, Mr. John H. Stephens, by a reckless member of the Body Guard. In company with Mr. Thomas Green, Mr. Stephens had started for home, when the fugitive secession troops, followed by the charging Federals, began to enter the town. Mr. Stephens was hurrying homeward by himself, when he was seen by a trooper, who ordered him to halt. 'Disregarding the command, though it was repeated two or three times, Mr. S. ran on, reached his own premises, opened his gate, stepped inside, and between the gate and the door was shot down and instantly killed. It was a horrible mistake, for which all parties were deeply sorry. Mr. Stephens, in company with Mr. Green and Mr. Peacher, had been standing on top of the court-house watching the fight, and only came down when they saw the troops entering town. Mr. S. was shot through the body and died almost instantly. [380]


In his official report, Maj. Zagonyi claimed that he raised the United States flag over the court-house before he left town. This was not true. The fact was, according to Dr. Melcher and others, that Zagonyi found the secessionists too many for him, and, learning that they were reforming on the battle ground in considerable numbers, immediately after the fight, he stayed but a few minutes in town and then started hastily back for Fremont, leaving in his hurry some of his men behind that had been stationed as pickets on St. Louis and South streets.

The flag that was raised over the court-house was borrowed for the occasion, from Mrs. Sophia Worrell, the next morning after the charge, by Dr. Melcher, and, by his direction, two Union soldiers, hospital stewards, Newton G. Long, Company A, 1st Iowa Infantry and John V. Bonamie, Company G, 1st Missouri Infantry, raised the flag on the flagstaff of the old court-house, which stood in the center of the square. Here the banner of the stars waved until a day or two later, when the courthouse was burned. As the fire went up the cupola it burned off the halyards of the flagstaff, and the flag itself was borne upward and outward by and through the smoke and flame, and then floated safely to the ground, only slightly injured.

The flag was returned to Mrs. Worrell, and shortly afterwards, when Price's army came in, she wore it as a skirt to conceal it and keep it from falling into the hands of the Confederates, who were making many inquiries for it of her.


As before stated, when Zagonyi's men entered town after thoroughly clearing it of armed "rebels," and releasing the Union prisoners, the majority of them under Zagonyi himself, retreated to Bolivar and Fremont's army. Probably twenty-five of the command remained behind, however, each man on his "own hook." Some of them stole out to the borders of town and camped quietly where they would not be discovered, and at the first peep of day rode around to the farmers' houses for breakfast. Others stayed in Springfield and were snugly quartered in feather beds and their slumbers guarded by loyal Unionists. Dr. Melcher, one of the surgeons left in charge of the wounded, left after the battle of Wilson's Creek, and Dr. Hughes, of White's command, had charge of the Federal wounded, and worked all night, assisted by some ladies and Union citizens.4 [381]

The main body of Zagonyi's command retired to within about five miles of Bolivar, where the main body of Fremont's army was encamped, and Zagonyi sent the following dispatch to his general:

Near Bolivar, 10 a.m. Oct. 26th
:— I respectfully report that yesterday at 4 p. m., I met at Springfield about two thousand rebels, formed in line of battle. They gave me it warm reception, but your guard, with some feeling, made a charge, and, in less than three minutes, the enemy was completely routed. We cleared the city of every rebel and retired, it being near night and not feeling able to keep the place with so small a force. Maj. White's command did not participate in the charges. I have seen charges, but such brilliant bravery I have never seen, and did not expect. Their war cry, "Fremont and the Union," broke, forth like thunder.
Charles Zagonyi
Major Commanding Body Guard.

Gen. Fremont forwarded the news by special courier to the Federal authorities at Washington by this message, which was sent all over the country.

Headquarters in the Field,
Near Humansville, Mo., Oct 26, 1861.
Capt. McKeever, Assistant Adjutant General
:—Yesterday afternoon Major Zagonyi, at the head of my guard, made a most brilliant charge upon a body of the enemy, thrown up in line of battle at their camp in Springfield, two thousand or two thousand two hundred strong. He completely routed them, cleared them from the town, hoisted the national flag on the courthouse, and retired upon a reinforcement which he has already joined. Our loss is not great. This successful charge against such very large odds is a noble example to the army. Our advance will occupy Springfield tonight.
J. C. Fremont, Major-General Commanding.

Of course, there was some exaggerating in the foregoing dispatches, as to the number of State Guards, the character of the fighting, etc., and it is said that Zagonyi's statement regarding the "Fremont and Union" war-cry is the sheerest nonsense; that all the "war cries," so-called, uttered by the men were either wild shouts and hallooing, or else expletives, objurgations and epithets not proper to be heard by ears polite or fit for publication in a decorous volume like this. [382]


Fremont's Body Guard was an independent organization composed of three companies of cavalry enlisted for the special purpose of protecting the sacred person of Gen. John C. Fremont. The men were from Kentucky, principally, though one company was composed chiefly of clerks and book-keepers of St. Louis. All the men, however, were of good size and well built—strong and active. They were splendidly mounted on fine horses (mostly bays) and each man was armed with two revolvers, dragoon size, a Colt's revolving rifle, carrying six shots and capable of shooting a mile, and a heavy cavalry saber. Their uniform was rather gorgeous, and every man wore a plume in his hat. When some of Frazier's men were afterward rallied and bantered about being "cleaned out" by a force so much their inferior in numbers, they replied, "Well, no wonder they whipped us. We were nearly all just common soldiers, and they were all captains!" This was the last service ever performed by the guard as an organization. About a month later the War Department refused to recognize the enlistment of the men for the purpose of being solely body guards to any one, and they were mustered out of service.


When the first attack was made on the State Guard, in Farmer's pasture, Maj. Frank J. White, who was a prisoner, as has been stated, was hurried away by his guards, and, with his escort, was taken through Springfield, and on to the residence of Mr. D. A. Dryden, some eight miles south of Springfield, across the line, in Christian county. Here White and his escort, in charge of Capt. Wroton (some say it was Captain Lotspeich), took up quarters for the night. Mr. Dryden was a Union man, but kept quiet and made no sign. After an hour or two, and when it was good and black out of doors, he bade his son Tom, then a lad of twelve or fourteen, to step out and make his way to Ananias West and other Union men living in the neighborhood, and inform them that some Union prisoners were at Dryden's needing liberation, while their guards were in good condition to be captured. [383]

Away sped Tom, and from house to house he flew through the sparsely settled neighborhood, rousing up the Union men, the most of whom had formerly belonged to Phelps' Home Guards, and soon about twenty of them, Ananias West at their head, and their long- hidden guns in their hands, were on their way to Dryden's. The party reached Dryden's at about day-break. Mr. D., of course, was expecting them, and on their first appearance informed the secession captain and his men that the Philistines were upon them in such numbers as would make resistance useless and altogether out of question; "and besides," said Mr. Dryden, "my family are somewhat frightened already, and I don't want them any further alarmed or disturbed by a light or skirmish, when there is no use of it." The secessionists surrendered without firing a gun.

In a few minutes the tables were turned. Captivity was led captive; White and his men were released and Wroton and his men were made prisoners, and soon the entire party, escorted by some of the Home Guards, were on their way to Springfield. Reaching town Maj. White and the Home Guards came directly to the Federal hospital in charge of Dr. Melcher, and reported to that officer. White, being still unwell, went to bed. The Home Guards remained in town but a short time, when, learning from Dr. Melcher that there were no Union troops near only those they could see about the hospitals, and knowing that there were plenty of State Guards in the neighborhood, they returned home.


Sometime after the Home Guards left a flag of truce came in, borne by two doctors or surgeons of the Missouri troops, as is remembered, who reported to Surgeon Melcher, and said they had come to make arrangements for burying their dead, and for an exchange of prisoners, stating that they had Major White, Captain White, and eight soldiers to exchange. Dr. Melcher replied that the dead of the State Guard had already been buried, and the wounded cared for, and as to their having Maj. White a prisoner, they must be mistaken. The Doctor then went to the major's bunk and told him what had passed. "Are there no signs of our army yet?" asked the major. None at all," returned Dr. Melcher. "Well, let me see them," rejoined White; "I'll fix them." Rising from his cot the major dressed himself, and marching boldly out in as great style as possible, succeeded in impressing the bearers with an idea that he represented a large force, which, under the command of Gen. Sigel, was encamped just, on the outskirts of the city. [384]

White says that it was about noon when he received the flag of truce, and that his total force, pickets and all, at this time consisted of 24 men. He informed the flag-bearers that he was only officer of the day; that Gen. Sigel was in command and the request would have to be referred to him. (Gen. Sigel was then forty miles away!) In a short time, the major says, a written communication was received, which purported to come from Gen. Sigel, and stated that under certain restrictions the State Guards might send a party to bury their dead. White then detailed some of his men, and under their surveillance those of the Southern dead were buried that had not already been so disposed of.

After a day and a night of terrible anxiety to White and his men as well as to the Union people of Springfield, the advance of Fremont's army arrived, and the precious charges, the city and the prisoners, were delivered up to stronger hands.

It is proper to state in this connection that it was Capt. Wroton who had protected Maj. White when the latter was about to be murdered by some hot-headed secessionists of Frazier's camp, who considered him a "d—d jayhawker," and when one of the Home Guards at Springfield offered some indignity to Capt. Wroton, the major was prompt to interfere, and to declare that he would shoot down like a dog any man who would harm, offer to harm, or even insult the gallant officer who had saved him (White) when in deadly peril amongst false brethren.

Some day a novelist will write and a poet will sing of the boy Tom Dryden, who sped through the by-paths among the hills and cliffs of the Ozarks, that Indian summer night, twenty-one years ago, on his errand to release the captive Union prisoners who had come into the country to deliver it from the rule of Gen. Price and Gov. Jackson, and to raise again on its soil the old banner of the stars in the place of the flag then "new to the seas." And few romances and few poems recording a single incident of the unhappy civil war will prove of more interest to the people of Greene county.

Dr. Melcher states that he thinks there was but little if any work left for the State Guard burial party to do, the Southern dead having all or nearly all been buried by some citizens (of whom John Y. Fulbright was one) that morning. However, after the flag of truce episode a defensive force was organized, composed of the dismounted Body Guard, some of the Wilson's Creek wounded, and a few citizens, of whom Wm. Massey was one. All the time Mrs. Worrell's flag was flying over the court-house, and as it could be seen in every direction for some distance, doubtless it was observed by the secessionists and the circumstance strengthened them in their belief that Federal troops, in formidable numbers, occupied the town.

The wounded of Zagonyi's command and some 24 who had their horses killed or disabled, were left on the field by Zagonyi, and the next day came into town and reported to Dr. Melcher. [385]


According to the official reports Zagonyi's total loss in killed was 3 corporals and 12 privates; wounded, 4 commissioned officers, 7 non-commissioned officers, and 16 privates; missing 1 sergeant, 1 corporal, and 8 privates. Total killed, 15; wounded, 27; missing, 10. Total killed, wounded, and missing 52. Those killed in the Body Guard were Corporals Chamberlain, of Co. A; Schnieder, of Co. B; Norrison, of Co. C, and Privates Duthro and Franz, of Co. A; Wright, Ross, Osburg, Frei, Slattery, Morat, Davis, and Shrack, of Co. B; Wm. Vanway and Alexander Linfoot, of Co. C.

The loss in White's command seems to have been confined to one company—Capt. Patrick Naughton's Irish Dragoons. First Lieut. Patrick Connelly, of this company was mortally wounded, dying soon after. Private Chas. Gilchrist was shot in the arm and Jerrold Connor in the hip.

The commissioned officers of the Body Guard that were wounded were 1st Lieut. N. Westerburg in the shoulder, and right forefinger shot off; 2d Lieut. J. W. Goff, in the hip; 1st Lieut. Joseph C. Frock, in the leg; 1st Lieut. Joseph Kennedy, in the arm and head. R. M. Smith, a Union citizen of Miller county, who was with the Body Guard, was wounded and taken prisoner.

The loss of the State Guards is reported at from 9 to 23 killed, from 20 to 50 wounded, and about 25 prisoners. No official record was ever made of the losses, and every citizen and every soldier that claimed to know anything about the matter has a different, story and almost a different estimate. It is hardly probable, however, that the loss of the secession troops was as severe as that of the Federals. [386]

1 The name of one is given as Capt Wroton.>
2 One report says they were commanded by Col. Lee Cloud, of Webster county.
3 Surgeon S. H. Melcher, in a letter to the writer, says: "Two companies of Prairie Scouts attached to the Body Guard were not in the charge proper. They did not go down the lane, but fired a few volleys, then swung around by Judge Farmer and came into the Boonville road at the brick yard, north of Mr. Leedy's, where Dr. Barrett, of Springfield and myself met them. Capts. Fairbanks and Kehoe, who were in command of these companies, then came with us to the hospital at the new court-house, and remained there for half an hour."
4 Dr. Melcher writes: "When the Prairie Scouts withdrew, they left thirty or forty wounded and discounted Body Guards at the hospital. I was on the field that night with Mr. Kimbrough, a well-known merchant of Springfield, and brought in all the wounded on the battlefield. At ten o'clock that night the rebels were still in line on the battle ground."

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