The Turnbo Manuscripts

by Silas Claiborne Turnbo

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By S. C. Turnbo

In regard to the fight at Forsyth, Missouri, between the federal forces and a small command of confederate troops there has been but little said and less known about it except those who took part in it. It was not a big fight but it was hot enough to be remembered by those interested enough to talk of past events. One day in the month of October, 1905, while circuit court was in session at Forsyth I had an interview with Ben Price who knew something of the small battle there which occurred in the month of May, 1862. Mr. Price said that the attack was made by General Sweeny who was In command of 1,000 men and a few pieces of cannon. Sweeny and his men came down Swan Creek. Major Gunning and Franklin were at Forsyth with 75 confederate soldiers when General Sweeny and his command arrived. But just before the head of the column reached the town General Sweeny ordered the artilery to turn to the right from the main road and stop and unlimber in an old field a short distance from town where fire was opened up on the town and court house in particular and two cannon balls passed through the brick walls of the building. In the meantime the southern forces under Major Gunning and Franklin seeing that they were greatly out numbered by the federal forces retreated across the river and took a stand behind a fence on the Hack Snapp farm and shots were exchanged between them and a few federals who had come on into town. The balls were ineffective and the southern forces withdrew and fell back from the river. But while Major Gunning and Franklin and their men were crossing the river John H. Price who was in command of 15 mounted men took an active part by taking his men to the top of the bluff on the east side of Swan Creek just above the town and fired on a small command of federal cavalry who were crossing the creek at the ford but did not kill or wound any of the men as far as known. Price knowing that he and his men would soon be hard pressed and would probably be surrounded and all of them be either killed or captured vacated the summit of the bluff in a hurry and went across the river where he and his men joined the other southern forces.

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