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MILITARY MOVEMENTS IN MISSOURI.
Missouri was thus the act of one man, and herein is seen the wisdom of the original movers of secession, in hav
ing persons who could be relied upon for their purposes
as governors in all the Border States.
MISSOURI AND ARKANSAS.
The month of August came, and found General Lyon at Springfield, hoping to receive re-enforcements; but the battle of Bull Run had occurred, and rendered it imposFremont takes com- sible to send him aid. Major General Fremand of the district. mont had been appointed to the command of the Western Department, and had reached St. Louis (July 25). Meantime Confederate troops were pouring over the southern frontier of Missouri, and Lyon, finding that they were advancing upon him in two columns, determined to strike before he should be overwhelmed by the combined Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas troops. His force did not exceed 5500, his antagonist had Lyon's skirmish at more than 12,000. A skirmish occurred at Dug Spring (August 1st), in which he had
CHAP. XLVII.] BATTLE OF WILSON'S CREEK.
the advantage; but he could not prevent the junction of the two columns. Hereupon he fell back to Springfield. His position had now become one of great difficulty. Political as well as military considerations rendered it almost impossible for him to retreat farther. He therefore determined to resume the offensive, and compensate for his weakness by audacity. Moving out of Springfield on a very dark night (August 9, 10), and having ordered Sigel, with 1200 men and six guns, to gain the enemy's rear by their right, he was ready, as soon as day broke, to make an attack on their front.
But the disparity of force was too great. Battle of Wilson's overwhelmed. He lost five out guns, and more than half his men. The attack in front was conducted by Lyon in person with very great energy. His horse was shot under him; he was twice wounded, the second time in the head. In a final charge he called to the Second Kansas Regiment, whose colonel was at that moment severely wound
Death of Lyon. ed, “Come on, I will lead you," and in so doing was shot through the heart.
After the death of Lyon the battle was still continued, their artillery preserving the national troops from total defeat. News then coming of Sigel's disaster, a retreat to Springfield, distant about nine miles, was resolved on. It was executed without difficulty.
Sigel was of his six
In this battle of Wilson's Creek there were 223 killed, Results of the bat- 721 wounded, 292 missing, on the national side; and, as may be inferred from the determined character of the assault, the loss of the Confederates was very great. They had been so severely handled that they made no attempt at pursuit, and the retreat was continued by the national troops, who, on the 19th, had fallen back to Rolla.
After this action, the Confederate commanders McCul
Quarrel of the Con- loch and Price quarreling with each other, and unable to agree upon a plan for their campaign, the former returned to Arkansas, the latter ad vanced from Springfield toward Lexington. Here he found a national force of about three thousand (2780) under Colonel Mulligan.
Attempts were made by General Fremont to re-enforce Mulligan, but they did not succeed. Meantime the assailing forces were steadily increasing in number, until they eventually reached 28,000, with 13 pieces of artillery. They surrounded the position, and cut off the beleaguered troops from water. They made repeated assaults without success until August 20th, when they contrived a movable breastwork of hemp-bales, which they rolled beCapture of Lexing fore them as they advanced, and compelled Mulligan, who had been twice wounded, to surrender unconditionally.
CAPTURE OF LEXINGTON.
On receiving the news of this disaster, Fremont at once left St. Louis with the intention of attacking
against the Confed- Price, but that general instantly retreated, making his way back to the southwest corner of the state, where he rejoined McCulloch and his Confederate troops. Fremont continued the pursuit, his army amounting to 30,000 men, of whom 5000 were cav alry; he had 86 guns. But, on reaching Tipton, he was overtaken by the Secretary of War, who had come from Washington for the purpose of having an interview with him. On November 2d an order was re
ceived at Springfield removing Fremont from his command. He was directed to turn it over to General Hunter, who was soon after superseded by General Halleck.
He is suddenly relieved.
Among the avowed reasons for the removal of Fremont, thus checked in the outset of his career, were his permitting the disaster that had befallen
Causes of his removal.
CHAP. XLVII.] TREMONT REMOVED FROM COMMAND.
Colonel Mulligan, and the extravagance of his military preparations at St. Louis; but from his correspondence with President Lincoln it may be seen that the true reason lay in the view he took of the general policy on which the war should be conducted. At that time the administration was extremely solicitous to do nothing that might alienate the Border Slave States; the President, as he himself has told us, was not unwilling to spare slavery, if by that means the Union could be saved; and McClellan, who had now the chief military command, was perhaps ready to go even farther than that. Such being the intention of the authorities at Washington, it was plain that the general order issued by Fremont immediately on taking command of the Western Department was incompatible therewith. In this he had declared that "the property, real and per sonal, of all persons in the State of Missouri who shall take up arms against the United States, or shall be directly proven to have taken active part with their ene mies in the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use, and their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared to be free men."
Causes of his removal.
After the removal of Fremont the national army was Retreat of the na- ordered to retire upon Rolla. There had, therefore, been two military advances from St. Louis across the state toward its southwest corner, the first under Lyon, the second under Fremont. In each case the subsequent retreat was followed by unhappy consequences, in exposing those individuals and families who had ventured to sustain the national cause to the vengeance of their opponents.
On the 18th of November General Halleck arrived at St. Louis, and took command of the Westmand of the depart- ern Department. At this time the Confed
Halleck takes com
erates under Price were intending to ap
proach Kansas and destroy the Northern Railroad. But before Christmas Halleck had compelled him to retreat into Arkansas, and for a short time military operations closed during the severity of the winter. Price had dis played no small skill in his movements, and it was believed in Richmond that if he had been properly sup ported he would have secured Missouri to the Confederacy.
HALLECK TAKES COMMAND.
Price himself attributed his want of success to the failure of McCulloch to sustain him. These officers were on such bad terms with each other that it became necessary to put a superior over them. Accordingly (January 29th, 1862), General Van Dorn was ordered to take command of the Mississippi District. He had his headquarters at Little Rock.
Van Dorn takes command of the Confederates.
Three days after General Halleck had taken command of the Western Department, he issued an order (November 21st) that no fugitive slaves should be permitted to enter the lines of any camp, nor of any forces on the march. The reason assigned for this measure was that such persons had conveyed to the enemy important information respecting the numbers and condition of his forces. He thus brought the slave policy of his department more nearly into correspondence with the slave policy of the administration, and corrected the error into which it was assumed that General Fremont had fallen.
General Halleck's slave order.
The national forces were now combined under General Curtis, who (February 11th) moved forward Curtis's advance. from Lebanon with the intention of operat ing against Price. As he advanced the Confederates retired into Arkansas, falling back fifty miles beyond the Boston Mountain. This retreat, if such it could be called, was a falling back on re-enforcements, which were