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Zagonyi's Charge on




Zagonyi's Charge on

wrote: "Sharpshooters
were concealed behind the
trees close to the fence along
side the lane, and a small number in some
underbrush near the foot of the hill. Ano-
ther detachment guarded their train, holding
possession of the county fair-ground, which
was surrounded by a high board-fence. This
position was unassailable by cavalry from
the road, the only point of attack being down
the lane on the right; and the enemy were
so disposed as to command this approach
perfectly. The lane was a blind one, being
closed, after passing the brook, by fences and
ploughed land: it was, in fact, a cul-de-sac.
If the infantry should stand, nothing could
save the rash assailants. There are horsemen
sufficient to sweep the little band before
them, as helplessly as the withered forest-
leaves in the grasp of the autumn winds;
there are deadly marksmen lying behind the
trees upon the heights and lurking in the
long grass upon the lowlands; while a long
line of foot stand upon the summit of the

approach on the Westhoping to effect a surprise in that direction, as the enemy was, thought to be aligned for the assault on the Bolivar road to the North. Of this detour White knew nothing. After his rest he pushed on with his guard of five men and a Lieutenant, to overtake his command. He travelled up to the very outskirts of the town, yet did not come up with his men. Supposing them to be in possession of the place, he pushed on, and soon found himself in a rebel camp—a prisoner. He was immediately surrounded by a crew of savages, who at once resolved to have his life. Captain Wroton, a rebel officer, only saved the Major and his guard from murder by swearing to protect them with his life. The blood-thirsty wretches were only kept at bay by the constant presence of the rebel officer. It was evident that they did not entertain any of Mr. Lincoln's" anxiety” regarding retaliation. Zagonyi's detour of twelve miles was no surprise. He arrived on the outskirts of the town to find the enemy awaiting him, twenty-slope, who, only stepping a few paces back two hundred strong, including four hundred cavalry. It was indeed rushing into the jaws of death, but the heart of the bold Hungarian apparently took no counsel of fear. To his officers he said: "Follow me and do like me!" To his men he shouted: "Comrades! The hour of danger has come: your first battle is before you. The enemy is two thousand strong and you are three hundred. If any of you would turn back you can do so now." Not a man stepped from the ranks. He then added: "I will lead you. Let the watchword be The Union and Fremont ! Draw sabres! By the right flank-quick trot -march!" With a wild shout,. the commanding form of the Hungarian in the front, the intrepid assailants dashed forward to a bloody field.

Twelve hundred of the enemy's infantry were posted along the edge of a piece of thick timber, on the crown of a hill. Their cavalry occupied an advance spur of the hill before a clump of woods. The entire position was enclosed by a stout rail fence, while, in front, at the foot of the hill, flowed a miry creek. Zagonyi must advance to the assault along a narrow lane. Major Dorsheimer

into the forest, may defy the boldest riders. Yet, down this narrow lane, leading into the very jaws of death, came the three hundred.” Of the charge itself the same writer drew this graphic picture:

"They pass the fair-ground. They are at the corner of the lane where the wood begins. It runs close to the fence on their left for a hundred yards, and beyond it they see white tents gleaming. They are half-way past the forest, when, sharp and loud, column; horses stagger, riders reel and fall, but a volley of musketry bursts upon the head of the the troop presses forward undismayed. The farther corner of the wood is reached, and Zagonyi beholds the terrible array. Amazed, he involuntarily checks his horse. The rebels are not surprised. There to his left they stand crowning the height, foot and horse ready to engulph him, if he shall be rasă enough to go on. The road he is following declines rapidly. There is but one thing to do-run the gauntlet, gain the cover of the hill, and charge up the steep. These thoughts pass quicker than they can be told. He waves his sabre over his head, and shouting, Forward! follow me! quick trot! gallop!' he dashes headlong down the stony road. The first company, and most of the second, follow. From the left a thousand muzzles belch forth a hissing flood of bullets; the poor fellows clutch wildly at the air and fall from their saddles, and maddened

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Zagonyi's Charge on

horses throw themselves upon | voice rises through the air: 'In Zagonyi's Charge on the fences. Their speed is not open order-charge!' The line Springfield. for an instant checked; farther opens out to give play to their down the hill they fly, like wasps driven by the sword-arm. Steeds respond to the ardor of their leaden storm. Sharp volleys pour out of the under- riders, and quick as thought, with thrilling cheers, brush at the left, clearing wide gaps through their the noble hearts rush into the leaden torrent which ranks. They leap the brook, take down the fence, pours down the incline. With unabated fire the and draw up under shelter of the hill. Zagonyi looks gallant fellows press through. Their fierce onset is around him, and to his horror sees that only a fourth not even checked. The foe do not wait for themof his men are with him. He cries, They do not they waver, break and fly. The Guardsmen spur come we are lost!' and frantically waves his into the midst of the rout, and their fast-falling sabre. swords work a terrible revenge. Some of the bold. est of the Southrons retreat into the woods, and continue a murderous fire from behind trees and thickets. Seven Guard horses fall upon a space not more than twenty feet square. As his steed sinks under him, one of the officers is caught around the shoulders by a grape-vine, and hangs dangling in the air until he is cut down by his friends.

"He has not long to wait. The delay of the rest of the Guard was not from hesitation. When Captain Foley reached the lower corner of the wood and saw the enemy's line, he thought a flank attack might be advantageously made. He ordered some men to dismount and take down the fence. This was done under a severe fire. Several men fell, and he found the wood so dense that it could not be penetrated. Looking down the hill, he saw the flash of Zagonyi's sabre, and at once gave the order, 'Forward!' At the same time, Lieutenant Kennedy, a stalwort Kentuckian, shouted, 'Come on, boys! remember Old Kentucky!' and the third company of the Guards, fire on every side of them --from behind trees, from under the fences-with thundering strides and loud cheers, poured down the slope and rushed to the side of Zagonyi. They had lost seventy, dead and wounded men, and the carcasses of horses are strewn along the lane. Kennedy is wounded in the arm, and lies upon the stones. his faithful charger standing motionless beside him. Lieutenant Goff received a wound in the thigh; he kept his seat, and cried out, The devils have hit me, but I will give it to them yet!'

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"The remnant of the Guard are now in the field under the hill, and from the shape of the ground the rebel fire sweeps with the roar of a whirlwind over their heads. A line of fire upon the summit marks the position of the rebel infantry, and nearer and on the top of a lower eminence to the right, stand their horse. Up to this time no Guardsman has struck a blow, but blue coats and bay horses lie thick along the bloody lane. Their time has come. Lieutenant Maythenyi with thirty men is ordered to attack the cavalry. With sabres flashing over their heads, the little band of heroes spring towards their tremendous foe. Right upon the centre they charge. The dense mass opens, the blue coats force their way in, and the whole rebel squadron scatter in disgraceful flight through the corn-fields in the rear. The bays follow them sabreing the fugitives. Days after, the enemy's horses lay thick among the uncut corn.

"Zagonyi holds his main body until Maythenyi disappears in the cloud of rebel cavalry; then his

"The rebel foot are flying in furious haste from the field. Some take refuge in the fair-ground, some hurry into the corn-fields, but the greater part run along the edge of the wood, swarm over the fence into the road, and hasten to the village. The Guardsmen follow. Zagonyi leads them. Over the loudest roar of battle rings his clarion voiceCome on, Old Kentuck! I'm with you! And the flash of his sword-blade tells his men where to go. As he approaches a barn, a man steps from behind the door and lowers his rifle; but before it has reached a level, Zagonyi's sabre-point descends upon his head, and his life-blood leaps to the very top of the huge barn door.

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"The conflict now raged through the village-in the public square, and along the streets. Up and down the Guards ride in squads of three or four, and wherever they see a group of the enemy, charge upon and scatter them. It is hand to hand. No one but has a share in the fray."

The Scouts, owing to some confusion of orders, did not share in the glory of the charge. The two companies of Captains Fairbanks and Kehoe pressed up along the lane to a point where Zagonyi entered it, aiming to get in the enemy's rear, so that when driven over the hill by Zagonyi, they could cut the flying rebels to pieces. This movement was ordered by some one, but by whom is not known. It could not have been made by Zagonyi for he needed every man to face the foe. The third company of the Scouts, under Captain Naughton, strove to join Zagonyi by riding through the gap in the fence, made by Captain Foley. It was a fearful attempt. The dragoons fairly melted




Zagonyi's Charge on


This success was follow


ed by a forced march into Occupation of Spring-
Springfield, Siegel still on
the advance. A thirty miles stretch was
made October 27th, by that division, and to
it was assigned the honors of a first entry.
How well Siegel knew each street, each house,
each hill around! The town had for him
memories at once pleasurable and painful.
The Federal army was received by the peo-
ple as deliverers: October 27th was a gala-
day. Little did the sanguine and expectant
inhabitants realise that they were soon to be
given once more over to the brutal reign of
the Confederates.

before the infantry fire, and | tions of the same service. We have given only five succeeded in pass- the story of their brief service quite at length ing over to the General's in order to illustrate one of those episodes of position under the hill. Major White, after the war which ever will remain as a landa series of remarkable adventures, succeeded mark of heroism and devotion. in effecting not only his escape, but the capture of his captors. He reached town the next morning, at the head of an extemporized guard of farmers and five Scouts, bearing Captain Wroton along with him, as prisoner. Dorsheimer gave a novel and humorous version of the "occupation" of SpringfieldZagonyi having retired, with all his remaining forces toward the North, fearing an attemp to cut off his retreat. He said: "At day-break White rode into Springfield at the head of his captives and a motley band of Home Guard. He found the Federals still in possession of the place. As the officer of highest rank, he took command. His garrison consisted of twenty-four men. He stationed twenty-two of them as pickets in the outskirts of the village, and held the other two as a reserve. At noon the enemy sent in a flag of truce, and asked permission to bury their dead. Major White received the flaggling along down from the North. So with with proper ceremony, but said that General Siegel was in command and the request would have to be referred to him. Siegel was then forty miles away! In a short time a written communication purporting to come from General Siegel, saying that the rebels might send a party under certain restrictions to bury their dead. White drew in some of his pickets, stationed them about the field, and under their surveillance the Southern dead were buried."

Asboth arrived with the rear division October 30th, and was soon followed by General Lane, with his Kansas brigade. McKinstry's division was then on the Pomme de Terre, seventy miles away, and Pope was still strug

Hunter. The rebels, led by Price in person, were at Neosho, fifty-four miles to the southwest of Springfield. His command, it was reported, included McCullough's forces and all of Jackson's "State Guard," as well as Rains' motley army-numbering, all told, about thirty thousand men. Fremont's then available strength was about thirteen thousand, of all arms. A sudden march upon Springfield by the Confederates might drive the Federal General to close quarters, but no such dashing movement was made by Price, though he began his forward march from Neosho as early as October 27th.

Pope's division arrived at headquarters November 1st and 3d—having marched sev

The place was not retained, however: Major White "evacuated" the position to return with his Scouts to camp. The Guard fell back towards Bolivar. The loss of the Guards was fifty-three-killed, wounded and missing; that of the Scouts was thirty-one-enty miles in two days. McKinstry's corps half of that number being of Naughton's company of Irish Dragoons. This was the first and last exploit of the Guardsmen. They returned, soon after, to St. Louis, along with Fremont. Their rations and forage were denied them and they were disbanded-ashamed of their soiled and ragged garments, and humiliated at their usage. Such are the fortunes of those at the mercy of opposing fac

soon followed. The apprehensions of Fremont were appeased by this addition to his strength, and he awaited Price's disposition in confidence.

The long threatened blow came at last. On the morning of November 2d a messenger arrived at Springfield, from St. Louis, bearing the order, signed by General Scott, of Fremont's removal from command. He was

Fremont Relieved of

his Command.

directed to pass over his command to General Hunter, and to report himself by letter to the War Department. It came like a defeat. The camps were in commotion at once, and the officers and men of Siegel's and Asboth's divisions to a great extent became disastrously disaffected. It was a terribly unwelcome fact, at that moment, when the consummation of the commander's hopes seemed so near. Three months of almost superhuman labor, of enormous expense, of infinite sacrifice, were swept away by the dash of a pen.

Disposition for Battle.

Price pushed on rapidly. A reconnoissance by Asboth, November 3d, reported the enemy to be concentrating in force at Wilson's Creek McCullough's army being also reported as at Dug Spring. Though suspended from office Fremont could not, with any propriety, abandon his charge Hunter not having come in, up to the evening of the 3d, with his division. A deputation of one hundred and ten officers waited upon Fremont during the evening, to present an address of sympathy and confidence. A request was also made, that he would lead them to battle. The result of the interview was the promulgation of an order for battle, reading:

"One regiment and two Disposition for Battle. pieces of artillery of General Pope's division to remain as a reserve in Springfield. "The different divisions to come into their positions at the same time, about eleven o'clock, at which hour a simultaneous attack will be made.

"The baggage-trains to be packed and held in readiness at Springfield. Each regiment to carry three two-horse wagons to transport the wounded. "J. C. FREMONT, "Major-General Commanding."

But, Hunter arrived during a council of Generals held at midnight. Fremont laid all matters before him, including the dispositions for battle, and then resigned the command, to depart, early on the morrow, for St. Louis. He was accompanied by the Body Guard and Sharpshooters, as a special escort. Most of his staff also returned with him, and soon were dismissed from service. The famous Guardsmen were not recognized as having any official existence, and they laid aside their sabres in mortification: disgrace was not for such as they.

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"The different divisions of the army shall be put The day following the remaining three diin the following order of battle.

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visions started for the North by way of Rolla. The cause of this retrograde has been variously accounted for. A correspondent, who seemed well informed, wrote from Rolla stating that Hunter acted under orders from Washington, sent along with the dispatch superseding Fremont-it having been ascertained at headquarters that Price and McCullough were only "drawing on" the Federal forces, to prevent their concentration along the Mississippi, up which the Confederates hoped to move. He further said: "That General Price did not intend to fight, was shown by his falling back whenever our forces advanced. Two days before the main body of the Federal army left Springfield (for Rolla), the rebels fell back from Cassville to near the Arkansas line." From the fact that the enemy were not in force at Wilson's Creek, as reported by Asboth to Fremont on the morning of November 3d-only their ad


sacrifice to a cause which
could return them only
suffering for devotion.

vance guard of seven thousand having occu- | of them their lives, as a
pied the place for a brief time-it was as-
sumed by Fremont's enemies that there was
no enemy to fight him; but, such a statement
found credence only with those glad to be-
lieve anything adverse to the late Command-
ing-General. Still, the circumstance that
when Siegel and Asboth occupied the Wil-
son's Creek battle ground and found no foe,
rendered it certain that there had been a
retreat of the Confederates, and made plausi-
ble the theory of their pressing forward thirty
thousand men only to retire and thus "draw
on" the confident Federal Commander-in-
Chief. The truth undoubtedly was that Fre-
mont did not design to stop at Springfield:
his programme looked to Little Rock. This
the enemy learned, and he retired to fight on
his own soil and near his supplies.

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Disastrous state of

Affairs in Missouri.

Major Dorsheimer thus stated the prevailing impressions of Fremont's friends: "Fortyeight hours more must have given to General Fremont an engagement. What the result would have been no one who was there doubted. A victory such as the country has long desired and sorely needs-a decisive, complete and overwhelming victory—was as certain as it is possible for the skill and valor of man to make certain any future event. Now, twenty thousand men are required to hold our long line of defense in Missouri; then, five thousand at Springfield would have secured the State of Missouri, and a column pushed into Arkansas would have turned the enemy's position upon the Mississippi. In the same time and with the same labor that the march to the rear was made, two States might have been won, and the fate of the rebellion of the Southwest decided."

It will not require years for the public to arrive at conclusions regarding affairs in Missouri during Fremont's rule: if time writes its verdict of approval it will give satisfaction to many and pain but few.



After the Defeat.

After the Battle.

THE anxiety which fol- | there followed, from peolowed the disaster to our ple and press, a storm of arms at Bull Run, July 21st, was profound- indignant comment that must have appalled the excitement intense. Confidence in Gen- those in power. This hurricane of words, howeral Scott's prudence had been unbounded; ever, was quickly silenced by the dangers of defeat was not regarded as possible. The the hour. The enemy had but to push his shock was, therefore, all the more stunning. advantages in order to lay the National CapBut when, added to defeat, came the specta-ital under his guns. That he refrained from cle of a stampede before a non-pursuing doing so was not because the way was not enemy, the humiliation was complete; and open up to the Potomac intrenchments, but

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