War of the Rebellion: Serial 003 Page 0251 Chapter X. ACTION AT SPRINGFIELD, MO.

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No. 2.

Report of Major Charles Zagonyi, Fremont's Body-Guard.*

SPRINGFIELD, October 28, 1861.

SIR: According to the order of Major-General Fremont, I left the camp south of Pomme de Terre River on Thursday, the 24th instant, at 8.30 p.m., and proceeded towards Springfield. About 8 miles from that place I captured five men belonging to picket guard and foraging parties. A sixth escaped and gave the alarm to the rebels. I reached Springfield, a distance of 51 miles, at 3 p.m. on the 25th. Knowing that the enemy was apprised of our coming, I made a detour of 5 miles, to attack from another side; but instead of finding the enemy in their old camp, I came suddenly upon them, drawn up in line of battle, as I emerged from a wood near the Mount Vernon road. The place was too confined for me to form my men. I had to pass 250 yards down a lane and take down a rail fence at the end of it, form in their camp, and make the first charge. My men belonging to the Body-Guard amounted to 150, and were exposed from the moment we wounded the lane to a murderous cross-fire. Our first charge was completely successful. Half of my command charged upon the infantry and the remainder upon the cavalry, breaking their line at every point. The infantry retired into a thick wood, where it was impossible to follow them. The cavalry fled in all directions through the town. I rallied, and charged through the streets in all directions about twenty times, clearing the town and neighborhood, returning at last to the court-house, where I raised the flag of one of my companies, liberated the prisoners, and united my men, which now amounted to 70, the rest being scattered or lost. As it was nearly dark I retired, in order not to run the risk of sacrificing the remainder of my men, who were exhausted with the labors of the march and the battle. Twenty men, with a corporal, who were without horses, took possession of the town, collected the wounded and placed them in the hospital, picked up the dead, ordered out the Home Guard, and preserved order throughout the next day.

On the 27th, at 5 o'clock a.m., I arrived again in the city, and from the statements of citizens, scouts, and prisoners [the latter being Union soldiers placed in front of the enemy's ranks to be shot at], I ascertained that the rebel strength, as arrayed to receive our first charge, was 2,100 men. They had concentrated all the forces in the city to receive us. From the beginning to the end the Body-Guard behaved with the most unparalleled bravery and coolness. I have seen battles and cavalry charges before, but I never imagined that a body of men could endure and accomplish so much in the face of such a fearful disadvantage. At the cry of "Fremont and the Union," which was raised at every charge, they dashed forward repeatedly in perfect order and with resistless energy. Many of my officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates had three or even four horses killed under them, capturing new ones from the enemy. I cannot mention any names without doing great injustice to my command. Many performed acts of heroism. Not one but did his whole duty.

Our loss is as follows:

Killed-Corporals, 6; privates, 9. Wounded-Officers, 4; non-commissioned officers, 7; privates, 16. Missing-Sergeant, 1; Corporal 1, privates, 8. Total loss, 52.


*See also inclosures to No. 1.