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arms on the southern frontier. Gen. Pope was in North Missouri; Gen. Prentiss was at Cairo with a few regiments; the troops which Gen. Lyon had commanded were in the condition above narrated; and altogether a very unpromising scene lay before Fremont. But he lost no time in attempting to do what he could. He immediately reinforced Cairo and Bird's Point,* carrying with him for this purpose eight steamers and 3,800 men. Happily, Fremont was in time, for the rebel General Pillow had, at New Madrid, a few miles below, a force estimated at nearly 20,000, and might readily have seized upon this important strategic point. Fremont next undertook to secure the defence of the state cn a comprehensive plan, by fortifying Girardeau, Ironton, Bolla and Jefferson City, with St. Louis as a base, holding these places with sufficient garrisons, and leaving the army free for operations in the field.
It soon became clear that Fremont did not mean to allow ordinary difficulties to obstruct his path. This was shown by his compelling the United States treasurer at St. Louis to furnish funds to pay the troops; his proclaiming martial law, Aug. 14th, and suppressing two newspapers in St. Louis; and on the 30th, his issuing a proclamation of great stringency, declaring the whole state under martial law. One passage in this we quote,
* Cairo, situato in Illinois, at a point of land formed by the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, 175 miles below St. Louis, was early seen by the Union men to be of great importance to keep possession of; Bird's Point, in Missouri, commands Cairo and could easily shell the place. Illinois troops were in Cairo as early as April 25th, and Gen. Grant bestowed much ati in strengthening and holding it.
evidencing that Fremont was prepared to cut the Gordian knot instead of wasting time in trying to untie it: "Real and personal property of those who shall take up arms against the United States, or who shall be directly proven to have taken an active part with their enemies in the field, is declared confiscated to public use, and their slaves, if any they have, are Jiereby declared free men."
This was going quite too fast and too far; Union men in the border states protested against it; the government had, as yet, no fixed or enlarged policy, especially of such a kind as was afterwards adopted; and the president required, in a letter to Gen. Fremont, Sept. 11th, that his proclamation or order be annulled in its most striking features.*
The town of Lexington, on the Missouri, 300 miles above St. Louis, was a point of great importance to be held against the rebels. On the 9th of September, Colonel Mulligan arrived at Lexington and took command, having less than 3,000 men under him. After three days, Mulligan was besieged by a very large body, under Price, some 20,000 or more, and on the 17th, tho besieged were cut off from a supply of water, and were compelled to surrender on the 20th of September.
The large numbers under Sterling Price, Ben McCulloch, and others in the western and southern parts of the state, rendered it a matter of necessity, in Fremont's opinion, to pursue Price and
* The rehel Gen. Jeff. Thompson was very violent at Fremont's proclamation, and issued a counter one from the south-western part of the state, threatening dira vengeance, and a determination, as he phrased It, to "retaliate ten-fold, so help me God I"
his marauding forces, until he caught and routed them. Hence, while the gun boats were being got ready for the descent of the Mississippi, Fremont turned his whole attention to the work before him. His army, of which he took the head, was composed of five divisions, respectively commanded by Gens. Hunter, Pope, Sigel, Asboth and McKinstry, the entire force numbering about 39,000. They were a hardy, serviceable race of men, but there was great lack of arms and equipments, as well as of means of transportation. The movement was made southerly, towards Springfield. By the middle of October, Fremont, and his staff, with three companies of his famous u body guard," and the divisions of Sigel and Asboth, were at Warsaw on the Osage River, which, running parallel with the Missouri, divides the central from the southern portion of the state on its western side. While delayed here a few days, a substantial bridge was built for the passage of the army.
Springfield was reached by the advanced divisions on the 28th of October. A few days previously, the brave Hungarian, Major Zagonyi, and his squadron of cavalry, pushed forward, and with a force of a little over 300, attacked the rebels numbering nearly 2,000, and drove them out of Springfield. Fremont, directly after his arrival, having three of his divisions with him, made preparations for a battle with the rebels.
Just at this crisis, when the army was eager for the contest and everything seemed to promise success, an order arrived, Nov. 2d, superseding
Fremont and directing him to turn over his command to Gen. Hunter. This, although a mortification to Fremont, was not altogether unexpected; for his relations with the department were not satisfactory, and both Secretary Cameron and Gen. Thomas, who had made a visit to the West, in October, to in quire into matters, gave an impression decidedly unfavorable to Fremont and his doings. Others also, like Col. F P. Blair, had made various charges against him; and his extravagance, incompetency, and the like, were freely spoken of; and so, whether wisely or not just at this juncture, his command was taken from him.
Gen. Hunter, who arrived on the night of the 3d of November, put off any attempt at engaging Price's army; he also, on the 7th, repudiated an agreement just formed between^ Fremont and Price in regard to protecting peaceable citizens of Missouri. After a few days, Hunter began a retreat in the direction of St. Louis, and as he retired Price followed.* On the 18th of November, Gen. Halleck reached St. Louis, and took command of the western department. On the 21st, he ordered that no fugitive slaves should be permitted to enter the lines of any camp, or of any forces on the march, on the ground that important information had been conveyed to the enemy through their means. On the 23d of December, he issued an order, fixing the penalty of death on all
* Greeley, in his " American Conflict," vol. i, p. 594, severely criticises the abandonment of Springfield, the giving up Southern Missouri without a blow, and the "sneaking back to our fastnesses along the lines of completed railroads, and within striking distance of St Louis."
1 Ch. VI.1 GENERAL GRANT
persons engaged in destroying railroads and telegraphs; and on the 25th, he
'declared martial law. The rebel Gen. Price's plan was to approach from the borders of Kansas and destroy the
| trark of the northern railroad, so as to cut off communication with St. Louis. Halleck's activity, however, together with excellent strategy displayed, prevented Price carrying his plan into execution. Gen. Pope, who was, on the 7th of December, placed in command
j of all the forces in Northern Missouri, projected an expedition against Price, which was rapidly and successfully carried out. On the 15th, Pope encamped near Sedalia; on the 16th, he pushed forward and occupied a position between Warrensburg and Clinton;
; and from thence operated against the enemy, who were entirely defeated by Col. J. C. Davis at the mouth of Clear Creek. Following upon this was an excursion of Union troops to Lexington, where a large foundry and several rebel craft on the river were destroyed. The substantial result was, that almost the entire region between the Missouri and Osage Rivers was cleared by the 25th of December, and Price was glad to retreat to the borders of Arkansas to find subsistence and safety for himself
j I and his men.
During the last two weeks of December, the Union army captured, in various skirmishes, 2,500 prisoners, including ten commissioned officers, 1,200 horses and mules, 1,100 stand of arms, two tons of powder, 100 wagons, and an immense amount of stores and camp equipage. As evidencing the import
VOL. IV.—NO. 18.
! i , ,
AND BELMONT. 80
ance of Missouri at this date to the insurgents as well as the Union cause, we may mention, that not less than sixty battles and skirmishes were fought on its soil during 1861.
In this connection may be noted j Gen.' Grant's attempt to break up the rebel encampment at Belmont, on the Missouri side of the Mississippi, and opposite Columbus, Kentucky. This latter was the headquarters of secession, General (Bishop) Polk being in command. Gen. Grant was at Cairo, Illinois, and, aided by Gen. Smith, with Union forces at Paducah, Kentucky, making a feint of attacking Columbus, he set out for Belmont. With about 4,000 men, mostly Illinois troops, he embarked, November 6th, in four steamboats convoyed by two gun boats, to Island No. 1, within eleven miles of Columbus. The next morning he proceeded to Hunter's Point, a few miles above Belmont. The troops were landed on the Missouri shore, reached the camp at eleven o'clock, and after a sharp contest drove the rebels out, burned the tents, etc. After some hours fighting, with victory just at hand, the rebels received reinforcements in large numbers, and Grant and his men were compelled to cut their way through to their boats. This they accomplished about five P.m., and escaped with a loss of about 600. The rebel loss was computed at 800. Although forced to retreat, Grant accomplished the main result of his expedition: the camp at Belmont was broken up, and various rebel plans for operating west of the Mississippi were defeated.
AFFAIRS IN VIRGINIA —ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
Wise and Floyd in Virginia — Carnifex Ferry — Rebel General Lee — His plans against Reynolds — Rosecram at Gauley River — Kelly's dash on Romney — Milroy's attempt — End of the season — Rosecrans' address to his troops — McClellan at Washington — His efforts to improve the army — Public sentiment towards him — Sabbath order—" Memorandum" for the President—Extracts — Active exertions — Rebels retire from vicinity of Washington — Grand review — McClellan's statement of the condition of the army at end of October—His views as to forward movements—Attacks on newspaper offices—Grand Jury on freedom of the press — Military arrests — Passport system — Government circular as to coast defences — Col. Geary at Bolivar Heights — Reconnaissance ordered — Gen. McCall at Dranesville — Gen. Stone and his proceedings — Orders troops to cross the Potomac — Phiibrick's report — Stone's orders — Col. Devens crosses — Attacked by the enemy — Col. Baker ordered to sustain him —Miserable lack of means of crossing the river —Disaster at Ball's Bluff— Baker killed — Heavy loss — Who is responsible ?— Severe trial to loyal people — Effect on the rebels—Scott retires—McClellan goneral-in-chief—His plans — Gen. Lockwood marches to "Eastern shore " — Good result — Gen. Ord defeats Stuart near Dranesville — Navigation of the Potomac — Rebel batteries—McClellan not ready to move — Order as to fugitive slaves in Washington — Confederate Congress — Davis's message — General tone of it — Proceedings of rebel congress of no groat moment.
Turning our attention again to Virginia (see p. 44) we see that, by the end of July, the Kanawha Valley was freed from secession troops, and that Wise (formerly governor), having destroyed all the bridges he could, and carried off wagons and teams of the people, had decamped. A month or more of comparative quiet was spent in repressing insurgent marauders in the mountainous regions. Early in September, however, J. B. Floyd, whose reputation for honesty was none of the best (see vol. iii., p. 564), and who was now in command of rebel troops, occupied a high hill at Carnifex Ferry, on the north bank of the Gauley River, a position of considerable value. On the 26th of August,
he had surprised Col. Tyler's 7th Ohio regiment at Cross Lanes, near Summersville, and routed them entirely. Gen. Rosecrans, who had a force numbering nearly 10,000 under his command, determined to attack Floyd at once, and his determination was carried into effect on September 10th. The rebel commander had some 3,000 to 5,000 men, and sixteen field pieces in position, and was inaccessible on either flank or rear, his front being masked with jungle and forest. A spirited attack was made in the afternoon, and Gen. Rosecrans ordered the men to sleep on their arms, ready to assault the post in the morning; but Floyd, deeming discretion the wisest thing for him, silently made off in the night, and by destroyAFFAIRS IN WESTERN VIRGINIA.
ing the bridge and the ferry boats, he put the Gauley River, with its rushing tide, between him and Rosecrans' army. Floyd retreated some thirty miles to Big Sewell Mountain, and thence to Meadow's Bluff, out of harm's way for the present. Wise, who, it was expected, would help Floyd, remained at Big Sewell, and called his position by the sounding title, "Camp Defiance."
Gen. R. E. Lee, a person subsequently of much note in the rebellion, arrived from the northward with a force of 9,000 men and some eight or ten pieces of artillery; he took command of Floyd's and Wise's troops, which raised his numbers to 20,000 men. While on his way, in August, he found Gen. Reynolds in command at Cheat Mountain and Elk Water. His plan was, if possible, to capture Reynold's forces by strategy, and for that purpose he pushed forward two bodies to take our men in front and rear. For three days, September 12-14th, there was skirmishing, more or less sharp, going on. Col. John A. Washington, one of Lee's aids, and recently proprietor of Mount Vernon, was killed, with about 100 other rebels. The Union loss was
I probably about equal.
Gen. Rosecrans having taken post at Gauley Mount on New River, Floyd planted himself on the opposite (south) side of the river, and opened fire on
j ihe Union troops and others in sight. Rosecrans tried to flank and surprise him; but a sudden rise in the river
| rendered it impassable, and Gen. Benham failed to get in the rear and cut off Floyd's retreat. On the 14th of November, Floyd's rear guard was at
tacked and driven by Benham, Col. Croghan, its commander, being killed. Floyd retreated to Peterston, more than fifty miles distant.
In the north-east, Gen. Kelly, who was guarding a part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, started from New Creek on the night of Oct. 25th, and advanced to Romney. In this spirited dash he drove out the rebel battalion, captured two cannon and sixty prisoners, and a variety of valuable stores. igoj Gen. Milroy, who succeeded Gen. Reynolds at Cheat Mountain, attempted a similar dash, Dec. 12th, on the rebels in his front, strongly posted at Alleghany Summit, twenty-two miles distant on the turnpike to Staunton Over 3,000 men went on the expedition but it failed of success.
On the approach of winter, Gen. Lee was ordered to take charge of the southern coast defences; Wise was ordered to Richmond; and all the rebel forces were withdrawn, except a small one under Floyd. Soon after, in December, Floyd was removed to Tennessee, for service there; and thus ended the operations of the season, the Union army being left in full possession of Western Virginia.
Gen. Rosecrans also, the campaign having been brought to a close, issued a stirring, earnest address to his troops. Among other things he said: "Your patience and watchings put the traitor Floyd within your reach, and though by a precipitate retreat he escaped your grasp, you have the substantial fruits of victory. Western Virginia belongs to herself, and the invader is expelled from her soil."