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FINAL ATTACK OF THE ENEMY.
Sigel, and it was evident the enemy was not alarmed for its rear. “What has become of him?" asked the anxious commander of himself. He stood, and listened anxiously to catch the first thunder of his cannon beyond the hights. Could he hear it, the order "Forward” would break from his lips, and the loud roll of his battered drums send his exhausted army once more on the overpowering foe. But it did not comean ominous silence rested on the field where he should have been. Had he retreated ? then it was plain he must retreat also; but could he retreat? Tossed in painful doubt, he summoned his remaining officers to consultation. They met, but their deliberations were brought to a hasty close by the sudden appearance of a heavy column in the direction where in the morning they had heard, as they supposed, the roar of Sigel's guns.
"Is he coming ?" trembled on every tongue. Yes, they carried the American flag, and deliverance had arrived at last. On they came in easy range down the opposing slope, until close upon our lines, when they suddenly opened a terrible fire of shrapnel and canister, and unfurled the rebel flag to the breeze. Totten's battery in the center was the prize they were making for. As soon as the deception was discovered, this gallant commander opened a terrific fire upon them. But they kept steadily on till they came within twenty feet of the muzzles of his guns and the smoke of the contending lines blending together, rolled upward in one fierce column. Supports were ordered up at. tit doublequick, and coming into line with loud shouts, stood firm as iron. Not a regiment flinched or wavered. A solid adamantine wall they stood, against which the advancing tide broke in vain. A few companies of the First Missouri, First Kansas, and First Iowa, were quickly brought up from the rear, and hurled like a loosened rock on the right flank of the enemy. Before the determined onset, the rebel ranks disappeared like mist. Totten's battery, supported by Steele's
DEFEAT OF SIGEL,
little battalion, a moment before seemed scarcely worth an effort, so enveloped was it in the enemy's fire.
But now the tide was changed, and the right flank pouring in a destructive fire, rendered the overthrow, complete; and the disappointed enemy retired from the field. The fight had now lasted for six hours, and the ammunition being well nigh exhausted, there was no alternative left but to retreat, and Sturgis taking advantage of this last repulse, reluctantly gave the order to do so. .: At this critical moment, an officer from Sigel's column arrived breathless in the lines, saying that Sigel was routed, his artillery captured, and he himself killed or a prisoner. This was appalling news to the exhausted little army, and it moved rapidly off the field, carrying its wounded with it, to the open prairie, two miles distant, where it made a short halt, and then took up its march for Springfield. Fortunately; the enemy did not molest it-his punishment had been too severe to admit of pursuit. On reaching Little York road, it met the principal portion of Sigel's command, with one piece of artillery. This officer had proceeded on the route marked out for him, and striking the Fayetteville road, came to a place known as Sharp's farm. Here meeting soldiers as if in retreat, he supposed Lyon had been successful, and was following up the enemy. He therefore formed his command across the road to receive the fugitives. In die inean time, the skirmishers which had been sent out, returned and reported Lyon coming up the road. Soon, heavy columns appeared in sight, and orders were given to the different regiments and the artillery not to fire, as they were our own troops; and flags were waved to show they were friends. Suddenly, the approaching forces opened a destructive fire, and the cry “They (meaning Lyon's troops) are firing on us” spread like wild-fire through the ranks. The artillerymen believing it was a horrible mistake could
with difficulty be made to return the fire, while the infantry would not level their pieces till it was too late. The enemy came withiri ten paces of the muzzles of the guns and killed the horses. A panic followed—the men broke ranks ård - scattered in every direction. There was no fighting--noti ing but a wild, disordered flight. Sigel lost five of his guns, and nine hundred in killed, wounded, and missing, out of the two regiments he commanded. With the residue he made the best of his way towards Springfield.
Our total loss was reported to be one thousand two hundred and thirty-six, though it was probably much larger. The rebels reported about the same loss. "We lost the battle, but the nation claimed å victory. Five thousand had met twenty thousand, and after six hours' fighting retired leisurely from the field, having disabled their antagonist so that he could not pursue them. Undoubtedly, so far as the fighting was concerned, the triumph was ours, but in the fall of Lyon we lost more than a battle or an army.
The defeated army fearing for its communications did not tarry long at Springfield, but fell back to Rolla. This left a great portion of Missouri in the hands of the rebels. Small bodies, however, kept the field, and incessant skirmishes and combats,—the alternate occupation of remote towns by the loyalists and rebels,—the destruction of rail roads and bridges,--the firing of houses and barns,—the scattering of families and desoļation of neighborhoods—made the state a scene of devastation and blood, and carried the mind back to the days of barbarism.
The news of the death of the gallant Lyon was received with the profoundest grief by the nation. His energy, heroism, purity of character, and lofty patriotism, had endeared him to the people; and his glorious past was regarded as the mere promise of what he would becoide. In their sorrow and indignation at his fall, they sought for
some one on whom to lay the blame. Fremont being chief of the department was held responsible and sternly arraigned at the bar of public opinion. But it must be remembered that the battle took place only a week after he reached St. Louis, and before he had time to take in fully the real wants and difficulties of his position. Wholly unprepared for active operations, he saw General Pillow just south of him at New Madrid, threatening St. Louis, and he might well hesitate on a sudden movement of forces that might leaye that city at the mercy of the enemy.
The spirit of Pandemonium seemed now to be let loose all over the south, invading even the pulpit, and sending the ministers of God not only to the battle field, but on expeditions of plunder and rapine. It was to be expected that the churches south would sympathize with the rebellion, but the world stood aghast at the diabolical spirit that took possession of many of those who had been known as messengers of peace. The spectacle of ministers and members of the same church, each invoking the aid of the God of battles ere they rushed on each other in deadly collision, was sad and appalling enough without this frenzied hate and exhibition of the worst passions of our nature.
ACTION OF THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT-ARRESTS-CONFISCATION-REFUSES
TO EXCHANGE PRISONERS-RETALIATION BY DAVIS-MC CLELLAN QUELLS A MUTINY IN THE SEVENTY-NINTH N. Y. REGIMENT-SOUTHERN PRIVATEERS
WRECK OF THE JEFF. DAVIS-SURPRISE OF TYLER AT SUMMERVILLE-WOOL
SENT TO FORTRESS MONROE-FOOTE ORDERED WEST TO TAKE CHARGE OF
GUN BOATS-NAVAL ATTACK ON CAPE HATTERAS-ERROR OF THE SECRE
TARY OF THE NAVY-PROCLAMATION OF FREMONT-EFFECT OF-PRESIDENT REQUIRES HIM TO MODIFY IT-THE REBELS OCCUPY COLUMBUS AND
HICKMAN-STATE OF AFFAIRS IN WESTERN VIRGINIA-BATTLE OF CARNIFEX FERRY AND RETREAT OF FLOYD.
LL this while the government seemed hardly to under
stand its position, and was slowly, painfully, feeling its way to firm footing and a clear field of action. For a long time after many of the states went out of the Union, it kept the mails running regularly for their benefit, and treason was hardly regarded as a crime. It could not bring itself to contemplate the terrible fact that we were entering on one of the most fearful wars that ever cursed the world. But now everything was changed. Congress had appointed a com mittee to clear the public offices from traitors-men in every part of the north found themselves suddenly arrested, and without the form of a trial hurried off to prison. No writ oi habeas corpus
could release them. The bayonet was stronger than the order of the court. Men began to look aghast, and spoke of the Star Chamber and lettres de cachet of France. The government had suddenly aroused to its danger, and its action now had the effect to destroy that sense of security in the plotters against the government which its former leniency had caused to exist. Secret informers lurked everywhere,