Imagens das páginas

Starting with forty rounds of ammuni- to the enemy with the exaggeration tion and three days' rations, foraging by usual under such circumstances, undoubtthe way, they accomplished the march in edly tended to keep them at a distance nine days, reaching Lexington on the and prolong the siege. 9th of September, when Colonel Mulli- Works like these, of course, were not yan, as senior officer, took the command the labor of a day. They were performof the troops assembled there—Colonel ed under many disadvantages, with the Marshall's cavalry and the Home Guard, foe close at hand, with the prospect of a already mentioned. Colonel Peabody's fierce and deadly encounter with superior Missouri regiment came in the next day numbers, and under circumstances which, in full retreat from Warrensburg, before to less brave and spirited men, would the forces of General Price. Colonel have counseled, without dishonor, a pruMulligan then immediately began the dent and safe retreat. It would seem work of intrenchment, having chosen a that this gallant band were actuated by favorable position for the purpose on an the single motive of setting before their elevation high above the river, at a dis- countrymen an inspiring example of entance of about half a mile from it, and nobling toil and indomitable valor. commanding the lower inland approaches. Their preparations were barely comThe spot selected bore the name Masonic menced when, the third day after the Hill, and was intermediate between the arrival of Colonel Mulligan, the enemy, new and old town. A solid brick edifice, in large numbers, led by General Price, built for a college, was upon it, and by the were announced at hand. Their first side of this the first lines of defence were design was evidently an immediate atdrawn. The whole circuit of the fortifi- tack. The pickets were driven in, but cation was made to include an area capa- further onset was steadily repulsed. ble of receiving ten thousand men. This There was some sharp and brave work was defended by a heavy earthwork, on that day, the 12th, driving the rebels raised with great labor by Colonel Mul- backward over a bridge which they had ligan's force, breast high, some ten feet crossed, and encountering them with in width at the base and five feet at the deadly resolution in a struggle at another summit. Outside of this was a ditch point in a graveyard. The result of the cight feet broad, while in the open space, day's fighting, which included a cannonfor several hundred feet beyond, the ading of the college defences, was the ground was perforated by a series of withdrawal of General Price to a safe skillfully contrived pits, and heaped up position, where he awaited reinforcewith mounds which, though extempore ments, while the little band of Lexington works, suggested more by mother wit gathered to their arduous lahors at the ihan military experience, were well cal- intrenchments. At these works were culated to baffle the efforts of any assail mounted a scant supply of artillery, conants on foot or on horseback. Beside sisting of but five 6-pounders, with which these ingenious devices, the ground was the honors of a siege were to be mainalso carefully mined, and a good supply tained against the batteries of the enemy, of gunpowder, with suitable trains laid numbering thirteen guns. in it, a fact which, subsequently reported Having been strongly reinforced-his



troops now numbering, it is calculated, a struggle for the possession of the hostwenty-seven thousand men General pital building, occupied by the sick and Price began to close in upon the works. wounded of the Union troops, one hunThe number appears large. The troops dred and fifty in number, and situated gathered by the rebels in Missouri, it outside of their entrenchments. This should be remembered, however, did not edifice, a large dwelling-house, on the always turn out for a campaign, but came summit of the bluffs, commanded the fort with their hunting rifles for the occasion. and its defenders at a distance of a few They may thus, very probably, have hundred yards. It was seized upon by greatly exceeded in number the volun- a portion of General Price's command, teers regularly enlisted for the war. On about noon, his troops, he alleges, havthe 17th, the defenders were cut off from ing been fired upon from the building ; the town, upon which they were mainly and became, with the adjoining grounds, dependent for a supply of water. The in the hands of the sharpshooters of his work was now stoutly invested. On the army--men expert in the use of their 18th the final attack was begun. The trusty rifles-a inost serious annoyance extensive preparations for it are related to the defenders of the fort. In this in the official report of General Price to strait Colonel Mulligan, after two parties Governor Jackson. " Brigadier-General of the Missouri troops shrank from the Rains' division,” he states, “occupied a task, sent forth a devoted band of his

' , strong position on the east and north- brigade, Captain Gleason's company of cast of the fortifications, from which an Montgomery Guards, to regain the buildeffective cannonading was kept up. by ing and repel the assailants. The men Bledsoe's battery and another command- whom he selected were a single comed by Captain Churchill Clark of St. pany, eighty in number. Onward they Louis. General Parsons took a position marched, silent, unflinching, twice reon the west of the works, whence his ceiving the volleys of the insurgents battery, under command of Captain Gui- from the building, and making no reply. bor, poured a steady fire. Skirmishers When they charged, the onset was terand sharpshooters were also sent for-rific. They quickly drove the enemy ward from both of these divisions to har- before them, and took possession of the ass and fatigue the enemy, and to cut building. Fifty only of the gallant party them off from the water on the north, returned, quietly to resume their labors east and south of the college, and did in- at the trenches ; the rest were offered a estimable service in the accomplishment sacrifice in a deed of glory. of these purposes.

Colonel Congreve, The position was, however, soon reJackson's division, and a part of General gained by the insurgents. The heights Steen's were posted as a reserve, at all to the left of the hospital, to resume the times vigilant and ready to rush upon narrative of General Price, were fortified the enemy."

by his soldiers, “who threw up breastOne of the severest passages of arms works as well as they could with their beyond the limits of the fort during these slender means." Thus the siege went on days of bombardment, illustrates the for three prolonged days, the bright barbarity of this unnatural war. It was moonlight rendering the night as service.

able as the day for the work of assault, honor in the bloody battle of Springwhich was never intermitted. The sup- field.” ply of food and ammunition was rapidly From statements like these of the failing within the fort, and water, that assailants, we may judge of the vigor indispensable craving of the wounded, of the defence. We have heard Colonel was quite cut off. Yet the garrison Mulligan himself, in a popular address held out; its thin ranks manfully fight to the citizens of New York, recount the ing the guns, and ready to repel, hand incidents of these eventsul days of perto hand, any near approach of the sistent courage and endurance. He fillinvaders. At length a prudent expe- ed up with animated adventure that tale dient was hit upon by the assailants, of war, which, in the best written diswhich saved them the necessity of a patches, is little better than a barren dangerous assault. “On the morning of formula, but which, to the participants, the 20th,” says General Price, "I caused is intensified with lofty purpose, and a number of hemp bales to be trans- glowing action-a sum of life which ported to the river heights, where mov- crowds the sensations of years into days. able breastworks were speedily con- He told of the toil and exposure, the structed out of them by Generals Har- ignominious hard labor, made honorable ris and McBride, Colonel Rivers and by the lofty motive, the patience and Major Winston, and their respective resolution with which wounds were commands. Captain Kelley's battery, braved, and death encountered among attached to General Steen's division, was the shattered and the dying ; of the ordered at the same time to the position hospital sufferings, when the enemy hav- . occupied by General Harris' force, and ing barbarously made captives of the quickly opened a very effective fire. surgeons, the only aid for mangled limbs These demonstrations, and particularly was from the scant service of a soldier, the continued advance of the hempen who had been at one time a physician, breastworks, which were as efficient as who was called from the ranks for this the cotton bales at New Orleans, quickly unwonted duty, who cut, lopped and attracted the attention and excited the hacked perforce, his only instrument a alarm of the enemy, who made many razor ; of the dying agonies of men calldaring attempts to drive us back. They ing for water, and drinking the scant were, however, repulsed in every in- refuse mingled with blood, with which stance by the unflinching courage and the whole place was dabbled and cozy ; fixed determination of our men. In these of the death-dealing of the enemy,

when desperate encounters, the veterans of they for a short time only gained a porMcBride's and Slack's divisions fully tion of the works ; of the strange touches sustained their proud reputation, while of good humor and good fellowship Colonel Martin Green, and his com- which seemed to relieve, and yet enmand, and Colonel Boyd and Major hanced the terrors of this grim scene. Winston, and their commands, proved By the testimony of friend and foe it themselves worthy to fight by the was an extremity which justified surside of the men who had, by their render, which, in the eyes of policy and courage and valor, won in perishable military discretion, might have justified

[blocks in formation]


surrender long before. Not until the when forced by stern necessity to yield ammunition was exhausted, the priva- up his command-and, last of all, groantions of thirst become excessive, and ing upon a sick bed, to which he was all hope of timely relief departed, was a driven by the workings of a gallant but council of officers held, and the delivery sensitive soul over his 'great misforof the fort agreed upon. The surrender tunes.'" * was unconditional. This occurred on The loss of the Union troops during the afternoon of the 20th, the third day the siege has been stated at about one of the incessant siege, when the work hundred and thirty in killed and woundwas taken possession of by General ed ; that of the assailants is set down in Price, who already held the town ; the the report of General Price as twentyofficers were kept as prisoners, and the five killed and seventy-two wounded. rank and file dismissed on their parole, “The visible fruits of this almost bloodpledging themselves not to take up arms less victory,” adds this Confederate comagainst the Confederate States or the mander, “are great-about 3,500 prisState of Missouri.

oners, among whom are Colonels Mulli"Thus,” in the words of an eye-wit- gan, Marshall, Peabody, White, Grover, ness of the scene, “ended the siege of Major Van Horn, and 118 other commisLexington. Of the defence I need sioned officers, five pieces of artillery and scarcely speak in terms of eulogy ; a two mortars, over 3,000 stand of infanplain statement of the circumstances car- try arms, a large number of sabres, ries its own conclusion to every mind. about 750 horses, many sets of cavalry For seventy-two hours was a mere hand- equipments, wagons, teams, ammunition, ful of men exposed, without cessation, to more than $100,000 worth of Commissaa literal shower of iron and leaden hail ; ry stores, and a large amount of other and to this was added the more terrible property. In addition to all this, I obenemy, thirst. For forty-eight hours did tained the restoration of the great seal the Union forces labor beneath a melting of the State and the public records, sun, grimy with powder, choked by sul- which had been stolen from their proper phurous smoke, worn out by labor, to custodian, and about $900,000 in money, which the cooling shades of night brought of which the bank at this place had been no intermission, tortured by a terrible robbed, and which I have caused to be thirst, which was mocked by the turgid returned to it. This victory has demonwaters of the Missouri, that flowed strated the fitness of our citizen soldiery lazily along just beneath their eager for the tedious operations of a siege, as eyes-out of provisions, out of ammuni- well as for a dashing charge. They lay tion, despairing of help, certain of ulti- for fifty-two hours in the open air, with mate extinction, they yet fought on. The out tents or covering, regardless of the gallant Mulligan was always where bul- sun and rain, and in the very presence lets and dangers were thickest-lead- of a watchful and desperate foe, manfully ing now a desperate charge against a repelling every assault, and patiently hempen breastwork-passing from trench awaiting my orders to storm the fortifito trench, encouraging the men to resist

* Correspondence of the New York Times. Sqı ier's Pic ance-crying like a broken-hearted chil il toriai Alistor y or ine War, p. 15).


cations. No general ever commanded a tions to advance toward him he retreatbraver or a better army. It is composed ed. The rebels took their course toward of the best blood and the bravest men of the southern portion of the State, leaving Missouri.” * The question was asked, a guard behind them in possession of why was not Lexington relieved. Col- Lexington. onel Mulligan had sent for aid, and The following month (Oct. 16th) a brilthough his messenger was captured, his liant attack was made upon the town by position was known, and the tenacity of Major Frank J. White, a gallant young his defence could only be understood on officer of General Fremont's staff, at the the supposition that he expected succor. head of a scouting cavalry squadron The official announcement of Major-Gen- which he had organized for special sereral Fremont of the event, in his des- vice under direction of his commander. patch to Colonel Townsend, Adjutant- Setting out from Georgetown at 9 o'clock General at Washington, dated St. Louis, in the evening with two hundred and September 23, in these few words, says twenty men, he reached Lexington early something in explanation of the apparent the following morning by a severe forced neglect : "I have a telegram from Brook- march of nearly sixty miles. Driving in field that Lexington has fallen into the rebel pickets without loss, he took Price's hands, he having cut off Mulli- possession of the town, made from sixty gan's supply of water. Reinforcements, to seventy prisoners, to whom he adminfour thousand strong, under Sturgis, by istered the oath of allegiance, captured the capture of the ferry-boats, had no a quantity of arms and provisions, remeans of crossing the river in time. leased a number of Federal officers and

a Lane's force from the south-west, and men who had been taken and imprisoned Davis' from the south-east, upward of by Price, and seized a steamer which eleven thousand in all, could also not get came up to the town during his visit. there in time. I am taking the field my- The place was held for thirty-six hours self, and hope to destroy the enemy before the rebels, who had fled in every either before or after the junction of the direction, mustered in force to surround forces under McCulloch.” Great disap- it."* pointment was felt on this disaster of Colonel Mulligan, after following the Lexington, following close upon the de- insurgent forces for awhile in their feat at Springfield, and fears were enter- marches as a prisoner, recovered his tained of a permanent occupation of freedom by exchange. An agreement western Missouri, with inroads into the was made on the 26th October at Neonorthern region across the river. Noth-sho, between Generals Fremont and ing of this, however, occurred. Conscious Price, arranging terms of exchange of the of his inability to hold the position against prisoners taken at Lexington and those the forces marshalling at St. Louis, Gen- who were captured by General Lyon at eral Price soon determined to abandon Camp Jackson. The exchange was to the place. As Fremont made prepara- be effected grade for grade, or two offi

cers of a lower grade as an equivalent * General Sterling Price to the Hon. Claiborne F. Jackson, Governor of the State of Missouri, Camp Wallace, Lex- * Major White, Com. Ist Squadron Prairie Scouts, to ington, Sept. 23, 1861.

Major-General Fremont, Oct. 24, 1861.

« AnteriorContinuar »