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Mulligan's Defense of
Mulligan's Defense of
cuffs, and holding them up,
in a manner to command the fortification. Heated shot were Lexington. fired at them, but they had taken the precaution to soak the bales in the Missouri. The attack was urged with renewed vigor, and, during the forenoon, the outer breastworks were taken by a charge of the rebels in force. The whole line was broken, and the enemy rushed in upon us. Captain Fitzgerald, whom I had known in my younger days, and whom we had been accustomed to call by the familiar nickname, 'Saxy,' was then ordered to oppose his company to the assailants. As I gave the order, 'Saxy, go in,' the This disaster filled the public mind with gallant Fitzgerald, at the head of company I, with indignation against the Commanding-Genea wild yell rushed in upon the enemy. The Com-ral of the Department. The emeute with mander sent for a company on which he could rely; Colonel Blair had divided opinion greatly as the firing suddenly ceased, and when the smoke to Fremont's merits and demerits, and the rose from the field, I observed the Michigan comfall of Lexington came to confirm the worst pany, under their gallant young commander, Capapprehensions excited by his opponents. tain Patrick McDermott, charging the enemy and But there ever is two sides to a cause. In driving them back. Many of our good fellows were this instance there soon was forthcoming a lying dead, our cartridges had failed, and it was mass of evidence which went far toward reevident that the fight would soon cease. It was now three o'clock, and all on a sudden an orderly lieving Fremont of public censure. came, saying that the enemy had sent a flag of truce. With the flag came the following note from General Price:
Fremont's Explanation of Causes.
own defense he stated the case thus: "On the 13th two regiments were ordered from "Colonel: What has caused the cessation of the St. Louis to Jefferson City, [Lexington is 240 miles from St. Louis and This was returned with the following reply, 115 from Jefferson City], and, in the opinion
written on the back:
"He took pains to assure me, however, that such was not the case. I learned soon after that the Home Guard had hoisted the white flag. The Lieutenant who had thus hoisted the flag was threatened with instant death unless he pulled it down. The men all said, we have no cartridges, and a vast horde of the enemy is about us,' They were told to go to the line and stand there, and use the charge at the muzzle of their guns or perish there. They grasped their weapons the fiercer, turned calmly about, and stood firmly at their posts. And there
they stood, without a murmur, praying as they nev er prayed before, that the rebel horde would show
of General Davis, who was occupied with that place, it was deemed expedient. And, generally, it will be seen, that all possible promptitude was used in sending forward troops to the points threatened along the Missouri river, and meeting, with all our disposable force, the movements of General Price. It will be seen that up to the 13th, Booneville, and not Lexington, was considered the threatened point.
"On the 14th General Sturgis was directed to move, with all practicable speed, upon Lexington. General Pope's dispatch of the 16th gave me every reason to believe, as he themselves at the earthworks. An officer remarked, did, that a reenforcement of four thousand this is butchery.' The conviction became general, men, with artillery, would be there in abunand a council of war was held. And when, finally, dant time, and if the Committee will take the white flag was raised, Adjutant Cosgrove, of the time to read the accompanying papers, it your city, shed bitter tears. The place was given will be seen that from every disposable quarup, upon what conditions, to this day, I hardly ter where there were troops the promptest know or care. The enemy came pouring in. One efforts were made to concentrate them on foppish officer, dressed in the gandiest uniform of Lexington, but chance defeated these efforts. his rank, strutted up and down through the camp, "Also on the 14th, in the midst of this destopped before our men, took out a pair of hand-mand for troops, I was ordered by the Secre
THE PRESIDENT'S ACTION
ON THE PROCLAMATION.
Fremont's Expianation of Causes.
tary at War and General | in and around St. Louis, restored confidence Scott to 'send five thou- somewhat, and those clamorous for the Comsand well-armed infantry manding - General's suspension were to Washington without a moment's delay.'" strained to await the issue of his first camThis latter statement, made incidentally paign, for which all the preparation possible by others in Fremont's defense, was generally had been made. One censor said: "He let discredited-it seemed so improbable; yet, Springfield, Lexington, and the balance of it was only too true. The sacrifice of move- the State go, to prepare to move on to New ments, of points of desirable occupation, to Orleans"-a statement so wholly at variance the insatiable demands of the army before with justice that it only deserves repetition the defenses of Washington, forms one of in order to show what a large class were the most unaccountable episodes of the war. | willing to believe. The idea of a movement The requisition of course had to be obeyed. | down the Mississippi was entertained, but its The troops were sent, with the following fulfilment certainly could not be realized so quiet but effective protest: long as troops were lacking not only for the movement but also for retaining any advance position which might be won,
"HEADQUARTERS WESTERN Department,
"To Colonel E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Ad. Gen., Head-
Reliable information from the vicinity of Price's column shows his present force to be 11,000 at Warrensburg and 4,000 at Georgetown, with his pickets extending to Syracuse. Green is marching for Booneville with probable force of 3,000. With drawal of force from this part of the Missouri risks the State; from Paducah, loses Western Kentucky. As the best, I have ordered two regiments from this city, two from Kentucky, and will make up the remainder from the new force being raised by the Governor of Illinois.
"J. C. FREMONT, "Major-General Commanding." Were the generalship shown by Fremont good, bad or indifferent,* the fact remained painfully apparent that the Secessionists were jubilant and the Unionists despondent. The vigor which soon manifested itself, however,
* Adjutant-General Thomas, in his report (October 21st,) of affairs in the Department pronounced the generalship to have been bad. He stated the case thus:
"No steps having been taken by General Fremont to meet Price in the field, he moved forward his line of march plainly indicating his intention of proceeding to Lexington. When within some thirty-five miles of the place, he remained ten or more days, evidently expecting that some movement would be made against him. None being made he advanced, and, with his much superior force, laid siege to Lexington, which was defended by Mulligan with 2,700 men, on the 12th of September, and captured it in nine days thereafter,
on the 21st of September."
He then proceeds to show, by the disposition of forces, that Mulligan could have been reenforced, or Price, being assailed from the west, could be made to retire precipitately. [See Thomas' Report for a full ex parte statement of affairs in Missouri.]
The President's Action on the Proclamation.
Sept. 11th it became known that the President had "modified" Fremont's proclamation of confiscation, freedom and punishment. Prior to that date (Sept. 2d,) Mr. Lincoln dispatched an unofficial letter, by private hands, stating his objections to the proclamation. Two points, he said, gave him some anxiety. They were:
"First: Should you shoot a man, according to the proclamation, the Confederates would very certainly shoot our best men in their hands, in retaliation; and so, man for man, indefinitely. It is, therefore, my order that you allow no man to be shot, under the proclamation, without first having my approbation or consent.
Second: I think there is great danger that the closing paragraph, in relation to the confiscation of property, and the liberating slaves of traitorous owners, will alarm our Southern Union friends, and turn them against us-perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect for Kentucky. Allow me, therefore, to ask that you will, as of your own motion, modify that paragraph so as to conform to the first and fourth sections of the Act of Congress, entitled · An Act to Confiscate Property Used for Insurrectionary Purposes,' approved August 6th, 1861, and a copy of which act I here with send to you."
The President added: "This letter is written in a spirit of caution, and not of censure. I send it by a special messenger, in order that it may certainly and speedily reach you."
To this note Fremont replied, also by private hands (Sept. 8th), giving his views of matters, yet expressing a desire to conform to the President's wishes. Thereafter the
proclamation was considered a dead letter; | complaint, from which we have quoted above, and those Unionists who felt keenly the ne- said: "Fremont's order to march was issued cessity of a firm hand in dealing with treason to an army of nearly 40,000, many of the regand assassins became despondent. The Pres-iments badly equipped, with inadequate supident's "anxieties," it seemed to them, had plies of ammunition, clothing and transportshorn the cause of the traitors of half its ation. With what prospect, it must be indangers and all of its penalties. quired, can General Fremont, under such circumstances, expect to overtake a retreating army, some one hundred miles ahead, with a deep river between ?"
Price proposed, after his
Price's Retreat. easy capture of the line of the Missouri river, to advance over it to "raise" the Northern counties and to discomfit Pope's forces, then widely scattered; but, the rumors of Fremont's advance in force to Jefferson City, to cut off retreat, hastened the rebel retrograde movement. Lexington was abandoned after a brief occupancy, and Price found himself, technically, in the condition of defeat, although retreating loaded with spoils. Said Fremont, "Except the victory, little advantage resulted to Price from the capture of Lexington, exposed and resting upon a broad river which there was no chance for a large army to cross in case of defeat. As a military position its occupation had no value for him. On the contrary, had I possessed the means of transportation to move forward my troops rapidly I should have been well content to give up Lexington for the certainty of being able to compel Price to give me battle on the north side of the Osage, as he could not cross the Missouri without exposing himself to certain defeat, no other course would have remained open to him. In fact, when I did go forward, the appearance of my advance at Sedalia was the signal for his precipitate retreat." AdjutantGeneral Thomas reported: "When Lexington fell, Price had under his command 20,000 men, and his force was receiving daily augmentations from the disaffected in the State. He was permitted to gather much plunder, and to fall back toward Arkansas unmolested, until I was at Tipton on the 13th of October; when the accounts were that he was crossing the Osage."
Deficient transportation, bad equipments, inadequate supplies of ammunition, were obstacles to success which few generals could overcome: if Fremont was responsible for these material shortcomings then he was, indeed, incompetent. That he was not responsible for them is now conceded, even by his enemies.
The Federal Advance.
Fremont left for Jefferson City Sept. 27th. There the forces rendezvoused for several days, preparatory to a march to Tipton and vicinity. The programme as arranged embraced a march into Arkansas. Said Major Dorshei mer, one of Fremont's aids: "The General has determined to pursue Price until he catches him. He can march faster than we can now, but we shall soon be able to move faster than it is possible for him to do. The rebels have no base of operations from which to draw supplies; they depend entirely upon foraging; and for this reason Price has to make long halts wherever he finds mills, and grind the flour. He is so deficient in equipage, also, that it will be impossible for him to carry his troops over great distances. But we can safely calculate that Price and Rains will not leave the State; their followers are enlisted for six months, and are already becoming discontented at their continued retreat, and will not go with them beyond the borders. This is the uniform testimony of deserters and scouts. Price disposed of, either by a defeat or by the dispersal of his army, we are to proceed to Bird's Point, or
There is so much statement and counter-into Arkansas, according to circumstances. statement concerning movements and orders after the fall of Lexington, that it is extremely difficult to arrive at the truth, to fix blame where it belongs for the dilatory pursuit of Price, after that pursuit was commenced. General Thomas in the very paragraph of
A blow at Little Rock seems now the wisest, as it is the boldest plan. We can reach that place by the middle of November; and if we obtain possession of it, the position of the enemy upon the Mississippi will be completely turned. The communications of Pillow,
THE BATTLE OF
Hardee and Thompson, who draw their supplies through Arkansas, will be cut off, they will be compelled to retreat, and our flotilla and the reenforcements can descend the river to assist in the operations against Memphis and the attack upon New Orleans."
The Army Organization.
The order of march included the forces of Lane and Sturgis, who were to leave Kansas and join Fremont's divisions on the Osage river, Hunter was to march by way of Versailles, McKinstry from Syracuse, Pope from near Booneville, and Siegel from Sedalia. Warsa was the point of crossing the Osage. The Commanding-General reached Warsaw October 17th, to find the inde
Siegel's Advance to
This sets forth the campaign arranged. It settles the point that Fremont had a plan, and had not abandoned his original idea of an advance down the Mississip-fatigable Siegel in possession. Deficient in pi river. The army as organized embraced transportation, he impressed horses, mules, five divisions, under the commands respect- oxen, wagons and “go-carts" of every descripively of Generals Hunter, Popė, Siegel, Mc- tion, enough to drag his baggage. For his Kinstry and Asboth. It numbered about food he foraged along the way, buying, begthirty thousand men, including five thousand ging, or exacting enough to sustain his men. cavalry and eighty-six pieces of artillery-a It was an odd march, but one happily illuslarge number of the guns being rifled. The trating the German General's qualities as the infantry was not uniformly, but was regarded leader for emergencies. as effectively, armed, although much distrust was entertained of the Austrian and Belgian muskets with which the " Army of the West" was supplied. They were the only arms obtainable at that time. The cavalry was badly provided-Colonel Carr's regiment having no sabres. The Fremont Huzzars were also deficient in that necessary arm.
The Secretary of War, Mr. Cameron, accompanied by Adjutant-General Thomas and U. S. Senator Chandler, visited the camp at Tipton, October 13th. Their purpose was personally to examine into the condition of things. The Adjutant-General's report to the Secretary of War, made October 30th, was particularly severe on Fremont.*
The Osage was bridged, after five days and nights of extraordinary exertions, and a safe passage thus secured for the army and its trains. October 22d the troops began to pass over. The onward march was not delayed— the several divisions pressing forward as rapidly as the means in their power would permit, Asboth's bringing up the rear. The route pursued was by Bolivar to Springfield. Siegel was on the lead. The zealous German feeling that the defeat at Wilson's Creek was to be redeemed, forgot the pains of the retreat from Springfield in the arduous toils of the advance to reconquer.
The Battle of Fredericktown.
The brilliant affair of
*He said: "General Hunter expressed to the Secretary of War his decided opinion that General Fremont was incompeteut, and unfit for his exten-Fredericktown. On the 15th Captain Hawsive and important command. This opinion he gave reluctantly, for the reason that he held the position of second in command.
kins, of the Independent Missouri Cavalry, was ordered from Pilot Knob to reconnoitre in that direction. This he did so effectually as to bring on a sharp engagement near the town with the enemy's pickets. He gallantly
"The opinion entertained by gentlemen of position and intelligence, who have approached him is, that he is more fond of the pomp than of the reali-held his ground all night and the next day, ities of war—that his mind is incapable of fixed altention or strong concentration-that by his mismanagement of affairs since his arrival in Missouri, the State has almost been lost-and that if he is continued in command the worst results may be anticipated. This is the concurrent testimony of a large number of the most intelligent men in Mis
during which time he was unsuccessfully attacked three times. Reenforcements coming forward, consisting of Major Gavitt's Indiana Cavalry and five companies of Colond Alexander's 21st Illinois, the rebels were pressed and driven in to their permanent lines around the town. There the struggle was brief but
The Battle of Fredericktown.
Zagonyi's Charge ou
severe and very satisfactory | Body Guard, led by its to the Federal forces. It captain, Zagonyi. ended by Alexander's with- Before the advance of the drawal to await the combined movement on Union army the rebel leaders retreated, to the place from the cast and west. On Friday, the south of Springfield. There they October 18th, General Grant ordered forward gathered, in great force, all their energies from Cape Girardeau, a strong force under being directed to a stand near that point. Colonel Plummer, to Fredericktown, to inter- Lyon had there been overcome, and the enecept the forces of Jeff. Thompson and Colonel my hoped there to deal Fremont a finishing Lowe. The command of Plummer consisted blow, thus again to open the way to St. Louis. of Marsh's Eighteenth Illinois regiment, a Approaching the rebel rendezvous Siegel resection of Taylor's battery and Stewart's and solved to "feel" of his old foes, and, if possiLehman's companies of cavalry, all from Cai- ble, to learn of their disposition and strength. ro; also a part of Plummer's Eleventh Mis- He called to his aid the celebrated “Prairie souri regiment; a part of Ross' Twenty-first Scouts," commanded by Major Frank White. Illinois regiment, and a section of Campbell's This fine mounted troop had but just come battery, all from Cape Girardeau. At the in from their recapture of Lexington [see Apsame time, Colonel Carlisle was ordered to pendix, for Major White's Report,] when, move forward from Pilot Knob to the same wearied and broken, they were ordered to point with his own regiment-the Thirty- strike out for the arduous reconnoissance. eighth Illinois; the Thirty-third Illinois reg. The Federal advance was then in camp on iment, Colonel Hovey; the Twenty-first Illi- the Pomme de Terre river, thirty-four miles nois regiment, Colonel Alexander; the Eighth south of Warsaw and fifty-one north of Wisconsin regiment, Colonel Murphy; the Springfield. The Major with his troop imFirst Indiana cavalry, Colonel Baker; Captain mediately put out and was on his way when, Hawkins' Missouri independent cavalry, and on the 24th (of October) he was joined by four six-pounders and two twenty-four pound- Zagonyi, who assumed command of the expeers, under Major S. Chatfield, of the First dition, by order of Fremont. Zagonyi had Missouri light artillery. These several bodies with him one half of his Guard, provided made a junction at Fredericktown on the with only one ration. The march to Springmorning of the 21st. The rebels had passed field was to be forced, in order that the enemy south twenty-four hours previously, about should be surprised and the place secured twenty-five hundred strong, but had halted before rebel reenforcements could reach it. near the town, taking up a good position for The combined Scouts and Guard marched all The battle soon followed, the Thursday (October 24th) night; briefly restenemy being drawn up in the woods and a ed Friday morning, then pushed on and were flanking field, while their artillery-four before Springfield at three P. M., on the 25th eighteen-pounders-covered their front. Ma--the fifty-one miles having been accomplish
jor Schofield opened on the guns, and the fight soon became general. It raged with much fury for about two hours, when the rebels retreated in great confusion, leaving about sixty dead on the field-Colonel Lowe being among the number. A hot and effective pursuit was kept up for twenty miles. The enemy was scattered in demoralization. The Federal troops were well handled and fought with the utmost spirit.
This success of the movement against the rebel force occupying the eastern section of the State, was followed quickly by the memorable charge into Springfield, by Fremont's
ed in eighteen hours.
Eight miles from Springfield five mounted rebels were caught; a sixth escaped and alarmed the forces in the town, whose strength, Zagonyi learned from a Union farmer, was fully two thousand strong. Nothing was left but a retreat or bold dash. Zagonyi did not hesitate. His men responded to his own spirit fully, and were eager for the adventure, let it result as it would. Major White was so ill from over work that, at 3agonyi's entreaty, he remained at a farm house for a brief rest. The farmer offered to pilot the Body Guard around to the Mount Vernon