off from the road toward Osceola and the battalion on the east. Dismounting Hooper's regiment, I formed them in line of battle and sent them straight for the ford, which was about 2 feet deep. The men, impatient for the fray, dashed across the river, deployed as skirmishers, and, supported by Shanks and Hunter, drove all opposition away, and soon the banner of the bars flung its proud folds on the breeze, emblem of a pure and high nationality. Vast quantities of all kinds of stores were captured here, with some arms and prisoners, and a strong and well provisioned fort. Thus far I had traveled ahead of all information, but now the telegraph flashed out its view-halloo, and the railroads groaned under the dire preparations to meet me, and the thunder of Saint Louis threatened vengeance as dark as death and terrible as the grave.
Upon the 8th and 9th, I leisurely marched through Cole Camp, the cradle of most of liberty in Missouri, and the fount of glory to the gallant [W. S.] O'Kane, and Florence, another beautiful little town in this most beautiful section. Vast herds of horses covered the prairies, a sight most refreshing to my grim old dragoons, and during the two days quantities of good Union steeds were changed into rebel chargers, and their reckless riders went spurring away for the Missouri River.
At daylight on the 10th, Tipton was surrounded and taken, after driving out a detachment of militia, together with its large depot, stores, and quantities of all kinds of supplies, just missing a party of Federal officers coming down from Sedalia on a kind of reconnaissance with an unattached locomotive. The night before, I picket 100 men of my command, and sent them, under Captain James Wood, with instructions to attack and destroy the La Mine Bridge at all hazards. Slowly and surely, in the dark and murky night, this gallant officer approached the block-house in which 40 Federals were keeping watch and ward over their precious charge, and before the sentinel on post could give the alarm, he was shot down by Captain Wood, who then, with a wild yell, charged headlong upon the fort. Bloody and brief the fight. The surprise was a panic; the panic a defeat; the defeat almost annihilation. In five minutes not an armed enemy was near, and in five minutes more this magnificent structure, reared at the cost of $400,000, stood tenable against the midnight sky, one mass of hissing, seething, liquid fire. Captain Wood encamped upon the ground and saw the last blackened timber plunge into the gulf below. He then, after paroling the remaining Federals, gathered up their horses, revolvers, guns, and overcoats, and rejoined me the next morning without the loss of a man.
While at Tipton I sent out a cloud of scouts, ordering them to do their worst upon both telegraph and railroad. For 30 miles either way rails were torn up, ties burned, bridges destroyed, were carried off, and cattle-stops and water-tanks obliterated. Syracuse was also entered, stormed, and some prisoners taken, and by 4 o'clock I was off for Boonville.
Just on the outskirts of Tipton I met Colonel [T. T.] Crittenden drawn up in splendid line with about 1,000 men, ready and willing to dispute my farther advance. I determined to crush him at a blow. Organizing my whole column by eights and closing them well up, I charged with both cavalry and artillery. The enemy, totally unprepared for such close work, wheeled to the rear and retreated in dire confusion. My artillery sent a few balls after them by way of compliment, and leaving a large scout to follow them, I pursued my way. This scout followed them for
43 R R-VOL XXII, PT I