they had burned the mill and block-house there, and were rapidly approaching this place by the way of Ozark.
Not having a force sufficient at that place to contend with the enemy, they were ordered to fall back on this place, with instructions to destroy what Government property they could not carry with them, which order was promptly executed.
The enemy entered Ozark a few minutes after our forces had evacuated it. They destroyed the block-house, and then continued their march on this place. Messengers were dispatched to the various stations around Springfield to send in re-enforcements, and the Enrolled Missouri Militia was ordered into service.
The night of the 7th was spent in making preparations to meet the enemy. Under the supervision of Lieutenant [J.] Hoffman, of Backof's First Missouri Light Artillery, two 12-pounder iron howitzers and one 6-pounder piece were mounted on wheels, as temporary carriages, taken to the blacksmith shop, repaired, and rolled into the fort, Numbers 4, by daylight of the 8th instant.
Dr. S. H. Melcher mustered some 300 convalescents from the various hospitals, who were armed and equipped; also near 100 soldiers, who had recently been discharged from the same, under command of Captain McAfee, were armed, and many loyal citizens turned out willingly, and were armed, to fight in the defense of their homes.
At an early hour on the morning of the 8th, about 200 or 300 of the Enrolled Missouri Militia reported for duty. Scouting parties were sent to the south and southeast, for the purpose of ascertaining the whereabouts of the enemy and report their movements. At 10 a. m. of the 8th, the scouts and pickets on the south of the town were fired upon, and driven in by the advance of the enemy. They were soon discovered, some 2 or 3 miles off, formed in line of battle, and advancing slowly across the prairie from the direction of Ozark. About one-half of their command was dismounted, acted as infantry, supporting a battery of some three pieces of artillery (one piece rifled), which formed their center, while their right and left wings were formed of heavy bodies of cavalry.
In this manner, with skirmishers and sharpshooters thrown forward, they advanced steadily and slowly, occasionally halting and firing shot from their rifled piece, apparently trying the range and feeling their way. The cavalry, under the command of Colonel [W.] King, Third Missouri State Militia, and Colonel [G. H.] Hall, Fourth Missouri State Militia, were ordered forward to meet the advancing foe. By order, several houses were burned south of the fort, to prevent the enemy from occupying them, and that the artillerymen and riflemen in the fort could have an unobstructed view of their approach. As the enemy continued to advance, the firing became more frequent. Our artillery opened fire upon them as soon as they came within range of our guns. Our cavalry gradually retired within supporting distance of the fort. The artillery and riflemen in the fort drove back the enemy's sharpshooters. The firing gradually increased until about 1 p. m., when the forces on both sides were fiercely engaged.
Colonel King was ordered to charge with his regiment the enemy's right. He drove them back, when they turned their artillery and sharpshooters upon him. At this time Colonel Hall, with the Fourth Missouri State Militia Cavalry, by order, moved forward and engaged their center, fighting with coolness and bravery, entitling them to high honor.
The cavalry being exposed in the open field to the fire of the enemy's