War of the Rebellion: Serial 019 Page 0213 Chapter XXV. ACTION AT KIRKSVILLE, MO.

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skirmishes driving the attacking party in every direction. But finding that this feint was only to cover his retreat across the railroad, and that he had broken up his camp at noon, we marched in pursuit all the next night, arriving at Hunnewell at 5 o'clock next morning. We moved as soon as possible, after resting our men and horses, worn-out with forty-eight hours' constant pursuit, camping that night at 10 o'clock at a farm some 4 miles east of Shelbyville. Hearing during the night that Porter had taken Newark the evening before, we marched next morning for Bethel, where we were joined by Major Benjamin, of the Eleventh Missouri State Militia, with 80 men, making our entire force 360 men. With this small force we pushed on to Newark, expecting to find it occupied by Porter, with his entire force of 2,000 men. Our advance guard entered one side of the town while the retreating enemy's rear was still in sight from the other. Such pursuit was made as the worn-out condition of our men and horses and the character of the country made prudent against so numerous an enemy.

We marched at 12 m. next day and continued pursuit of the enemy over a most difficult country, following his devious and eccentric windings through brake and bottom and across field, often where no wheel had ever turned before. He had destroyed bridges and obstructed the fords by felling trees. Notwithstanding this we kept well up with him, driving in his pickets, beating up his camps, and left many of his men prone upon the track.

We came up with him at Kirksville about 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, August 6, and learning that he had expelled the people from the town, concluded that he would occupy the houses and defend the place.

Kirksville is situated on a prairie ridge, surrounded completely by timber and corn fields, with open ground on the northeast, from which direction we approached. The advanced guard, comprising detachments of the Second and Eleventh Missouri State Militia, under Major Benjamin, had been gallantly pushed forward, and held the northeastern approach of the town long in advance of the arrival of the main column and artillery.

Upon information that the enemy held the town everything was hurried up, without regard for horse-flesh, leaving the train to the care of the rear guard. I deployed columns on the northern and eastern faces of the town, the ground on the northeast being highly favorable for attack. Lieutenant-Colonel Shaffer was put in command of the right wing, composed of the Merrill Horse, under Major Clopper; detachments of Second and Eleventh Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, under Major Benjamin, and the section of the battery of the Third Indiana Artillery, under Lieutenant Armington. The left wing was put in charge of Major Caldwell, of the Third Iowa Volunteers, and was composed of his own command, as stated above, and the detachment of the First Cavalry, Missouri Volunteers, under Major Cox. A section of a steel battery of 2-pounder howitzer, in charge of Sergeant West and 10 men, of Company C, Second Missouri State Militia, acted, as did the Indiana artillery, by my order, under the direction of Captain Barr, of the Merrill Horse.

These dispositions having been rapidly made, I concluded to ascertain the position of the enemy, as nothing could be seen or heard of him, except one man in the cupola of the court-house, who retired at the bidding of a Sharps rifle, and a rifle-shot from a house at an officer, who appeared too curious about what was going on in town. For this reason I called for an officer and squad, who should charge