Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

eompany, coming into action with the steadiness of veterans. For nearly two hours the rebels withstood the determined onset, but at last turned and fled. Major Gavitt, charging with his cavalry on a gun, fell mortally wounded. In a few moments the retreat became a rout; and the enemy fled in every direction, leaving sixty-four prisoners in our hands. One hundred and fifty dead were picked up on the field, among whom was Colonel Lowe. The pursuit was continued for several miles along the road towards Greenville, which was strewed with the wrecks of the fight. The next day it was resumed, and continued for twenty-two miles, but the enemy proved too fleet of foot, and it was abandoned. Our loss in killed and wounded was only sixty.

On the return of the soldiers to Fredericktown, believing that the inhabitants had co-operated with the rebels, they committed some acts of violence, and but for the officers would have burned the place to the ground. As it was, they succeeded in applying the torch to six or seven buildings. The citizens were terror-stricken by the conflagration and for a time thought their town would become a heap of ashes, and themselves houseless wanderers. It was hard for the soldiers, after marching past Union towns leveled to the ground, to keep their hands off this nest of rebels.

FIGHT AT BLUE MILLS.

A few days before this encounter, five hundred of the Third Iowa regiment, under the command of LieutenantColonel Scott, advanced on the enemy four thousand strong at Blue Mills Ferry landing, near Liberty, whither he had retired from Lexington. Simultaneously with this movement, Colonel Smith, with the Illinois Sixteenth and à part of the thirty-ninth Ohio regiments, was to come up from St. Joseph, and form a junction with the former. Scott waited for him till 1 o'clock, P. M. , and then sending him word that he

[blocks in formation]

would push forward after the enemy, advanced. A hot engagement followed, lasting for an hour, when he was compelled to fall back, bringing off his wounded, and dragging his single gun after him by hand, the horses having all been killed. Smith had been detained by heavy rains that rendered the roads heavy; but the moment he received Scott's message, he ordered his cavalry and mounted men to the front, and pushing forward at a rapid pace, reached Liberty after dark, where he found Scott's exhausted command. Early the next morning, the combined. forces moved back on the enemy. But on reaching Blue Mills, they found him across the river, and beyond pursuit. Scott, in his unequal contest, lost in killed and wounded nearly ninety men. The loss of the enemy was not known.

In Kentucky, also, affairs wore a promising aspect. The effect of a proclamation by the rebel Buckner at Bowling Green the month before, had been more than counterbalanced by that of the brave Anderson in command of the department, soon after, and that of the loyal General Crittenden. A. S. Johnston also gave his proclamation to the people of Kentucky; and it was evident that the soil of the state would soon witness a severe struggle. A foretaste of what was coming was given on the twenty-first of October, four days after the battle of Blue Mills. . Colonel Coburn, with three hundred and fifty men, was ordered by General Schoepf to take possession of a place known as Camp Wild Cat, on the road leading to Cumberland Gap.

BATTLE AT WILD CAT CAMP.

He had hardly done so, when the rebels, concealed in the woods around, began to fire upon his command. Shortly after, -a half a mile away in front--the enemy appeared in large force. While they were preparing to advance to the attack, Colonel - Woolford, with two hundred and fifty Ken

170

DEFEAT OF THE ENEMY.

tucky cavalry, (Unionists,) came riding up the slope, and formed under fire. Suddenly, two Tennessee regiments (a part of Zollicoffer's command) broke from the woods below, and the next moment, in four ranks advanced on two sides of the position, and opened a heavy fire. Though it was fiercely returned, they kept on till within twenty-five yards of the rude breast-works which had been hastily thrown up. The Kentucky regiment wavered for a moment before the determined onset, but soon rallied, and the conflict though short was close and bloody. Unable to breast the steady volleys, the enemy at first halted, and then fell reluctantly back.

Information had previously reached the commanding general (Thomas) that Zollicoffer was about to swoop down on this part of the country, directing his first attack on Wild Cat Camp; and he ordered forward the seventeenth Ohio, seyeral miles distant, to support the Union forces which had been sent there. Eagerly starting off, this brave regiment toiled forward, now climbing rugged hills, and now fording streams breast high; and at eleven o'clock four companies of it approached the scene of combat, and striking up

"Hail Columbia," rushed up the hill at the double-quick, and formed in line of battle. They had scarcely time to deliver one volley, before the enemy fell back. About two o'clock, however, he again advanced to the attack. In the midst of the fire, one company of the Ohio Fourteenth appeared, sending up their cheers, while responsive cheers came back down the smoke-enveloped hill. Lashed to their utmost speed by their drivers, the horses dashed at full gallop up the hill with the artillery, which forming rapidly, rained a terrible fire on the rebel ranks. Astonished at the steadily increasing force before him, the enemy again retired. Reinforcements now kept constantly arriving in camp till ten o'clock at night. At two o'clock in the morning, sounds

THE VICTORY IMPORTANT.

171

were heard in the distant camp of the enemy; and when

daylight broke over the hills, it was found he had retreated. 4. Our loss in the engagement, in killed and wounded, was only low ਹਾ .

twenty-nine, while that of the enemy must have been U heavy, as he left nineteen dead on the field, which he was

unable to carry off. This battle was an important one, as it secured a very desirable position, and highly encouraged the Union inhabitants.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

CHAPTER XII,

OCTOBER, 1862

AFFAIRS ON THE UPPER POTOMACFIGHT AT BOLIVAR-RECONNOISSANCE ACROSS THE RIVER-BATTLE OF BALL'S BLUFF

-STRANGE CONDUCT OF GENERAL STONE-INDIGNATION OF THE PEOPLE-MCCLELLAN HURRIES TO

THE SCENE OF ACTION-COLONEL LANDER TAKES THE PLACE LEFT VACANT

BY THE DEATH OF BAKER-IS WOUNDED-AFFAIRS IN MISSOURI-GALLANT CHARGE OF FRÉMONT'S BODY GUARD.

mourn

N the same day, Oct. 21st, a scene occurred on the

banks of the Potomac, that filled the land with ing and indignation. General Stone was in command of a division under General Banks, with instructions to watch the enemy near Leesburg, which constituted the extreme left of the rebel line on the Potomac, and prevent his crossing at that point into Maryland. For several days there had been more or less skirmishing, which showed that the utmost watchfulness and care were demanded.

On the eighth, Major Gould crossed the river at Harper's Ferry to seize a quantity of wheat held by the enemy at that point, and having accomplished his mission was about to re-cross, when on the sixteenth a brisk skirmish of the pickets near Bolivar (a little over two miles from the Potomac) occurred, which soon ended in a sharp encounter.

FIGHT AT POLIVAR.

The rebel force was soon drawn up on Bolivar Hights, from which the pickets had been driven, and planted their cannon so as to command our camp. At the same time, another body appeared on Loudon Hights, within cannon range of the ferry, to prevent the troops from using it for transportalion. While these preparation were going on, a body of

« PreviousContinue »