War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0232 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter X.

Search Civil War Official Records

oath not to seven during the war, unless exchanged. The captured guns belonged to the Fremont purchase of Belgian guns, and are much prized by the men, who used them in the battle of the 21st. During the march of the infantry towards Fredericktown, our scouts brought in 2 place, and reported a large party out trying to intercept them. We reached the town on the 17th, and quietly went into camp, to await the return of the general.

Early on the morning of the 18th the camp was startled by a quick succession of musket-shots beyond the Saint Francis Bridge, which crosses a river of the same name, a quarter of a mile beyond the town. We soon discovered that it proceeded from our pickets, who had been drive in by a very large force of cavalry. The enemy sustained a severe loss, as the picket, which was under command of Captain Holmes, consisting of 30 men, gave them a volley at the short distance of 60 yards.

The captain of our little band, ad they came out at a dashing gallop, walked deliberately into the middle of the road, and, taking careful aim at a leading officer, shot him through the body. They lost 5 killed and some 15 wounded, while the picket got safely to camp.

The enemy maneuvered about all the morning, seeking to find out our numbers, but refraining from attacking us. As the general had been advised that the enemy was at hand, and as he was expected to arrive at any moment, the colonel commanding did not deem it advisable to assume the offensive, but to await his coming. About 1 o'clock the general rode into camp. At the sight of him, the whole brigade, though ordered not to cheer, broke out in one long-continued shout, which, astonishing to say, so appalled the enemy, that they at once commenced a hasty retreat, and, from all reports we can gather form those residing on the road, they used the greatest diligence in moving their wagons, and seemed to be in considerable confusion. We made hot pursuit, but failed to come up with them, and, after following them several miles, the whole command again returned to camp.

The balance of the day and all the following we were left in quiet; but on the morning of the 20th our pickets arrested a man, whom they discovered, just as the day was breaking, endeavoring to avoid them. When he found he would be caught, he threw away a package, which, in inspection, was found to be a communication from Colonel Plummer, of Cape Girardeau, to the commandant at Ironton, stating that he was approaching our camp with 3,000 men, and asked co-operation. Being thus warned intimae, we made al the necessary arrangements to receive the enemy. The safety of the baggage first engaged the general's attention, for, having once secured that, he could fight or not, at his pleasure. It was soon on tits way to Greenville, in Wayne County, the whole brigade accompanying it, but was halted 10 miles south of the town, and here preparations were made to return with all our fighting force to give battle to the enemy, be their numbers what they might. After a rest of a few hours we started, at 4 o'clock in the morning of the 21st, with but 1,200 men, all told, with the expectation of giving fight to three times our numbers, but which we found, shortly before the battle opened, to have been increased to 7,000, and which were further re-enforced during the battle to 10,000.

We arrived at about 11 a. m. within half a mile of the town, and were immediately placed in position. Lowe's Third Regiment, with Jennings' and Rapley's battalions, were posted on the right of the Greenville road, some 300 yards in advance of the Second and Fourth Regiments, which were in position on the left of the same. One 12-pounder, commanded