Tag Archives: Missouri State Guards

Halleck Cracks Down in Missouri

December 22, 1861 – Federal Major General Henry W. Halleck issued General Orders No. 32 as part of his program to suppress alleged disloyalty in Missouri.

Maj Gen H.W. Halleck | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Maj Gen H.W. Halleck | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Halleck announced that a “state of insurrection” existed in the state, but unlike John C. Fremont, Halleck requested permission from his superiors at Washington to impose martial law. Permission was granted on December 2 in a message signed by President Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward:

“General: As an insurrection exists in the United States and is in arms in the State of Missouri, you are hereby authorized and empowered to suspend the writ of habeas corpus within the limits of the military division under your command, and to exercise martial law as you find it necessary, in your discretion, to secure the public safety and the authority of the United States.”

Two days later, Halleck issued General Orders No. 13, which addressed the issue of secessionist spies operating within Federal lines:

“The mild and indulgent course heretofore pursued toward this class of men has utterly failed to restrain them from such unlawful conduct. All persons found in disguise as pretended loyal citizens, or under other false pretenses, within our lines, giving information to or communicating with the enemy will be arrested, tried, condemned, and shot as spies. It should be remembered that in this respect the laws of war make no distinction of sex; all are liable to the same penalty.”

Halleck singled out “wealthy secessionists who render aid, assistance, and encouragement to those who commit these outrages, although less bold,” proclaiming them “equally guilty.” To penalize them, Halleck directed that Federal commanders round up the thousands of Unionist refugees in St. Louis and “quarter them in the houses, and to feed and clothe them at the expense of avowed secessionists and of those who are found guilty of giving aid, assistance, and encouragement to the enemy.”

The orders instructed departmental commanders to adhere to the Confiscation Act regarding any fugitive slaves entering Federal lines. Halleck added, “Should Congress extend this penalty to the property of all rebels in arms, or giving aid, assistance, and encouragement to the enemy,” added Halleck, “such provisions will be strictly enforced.” Halleck concluded:

“Peace and war cannot exist together. We cannot at the same time extend to rebels the rights of peace and enforce against them the penalties of war. They have forfeited their civil rights as citizens by making war against the Government, and upon their own heads must fall the consequences.”

Later this month, a Federal colonel stationed 80 miles west of St. Louis reported “that several parties of secessionists are gathering and committing depredations in Montgomery County, within 10 miles of us.” Halleck directed the colonel to “send strong force to cross in the direction of Warrenton. Arrest all secessionists and bridge-burners.”

Meanwhile, Federal scouts intercepted a copy of Special Orders No. 14, written by Major General Sterling Price of the Missouri State Guards: “You are hereby ordered to immediately cause to be destroyed all railroad bridges and telegraph wires in your vicinity.” Halleck responded by issuing General Orders No. 32, which targeted citizens sabotaging Federal operations by burning bridges, destroying railroads, and cutting telegraph wires:

“These men are guilty of the highest crime known to the code of war and the punishment is death. Any one caught in the act will be immediately shot, and any one accused of this crime will be arrested and placed in close confinement until his case can be examined by a military commission and if found guilty he also will suffer death.”

Moreover, any “pretended Union man” who had evidence against secessionists but did not share it with Federal authorities would also be arrested. Federal commanders were to confiscate “the slaves of all secessionists in the vicinity and if necessary the secessionists themselves and their property.” Halleck concluded:

“Hereafter the towns and counties in which such destruction of public property takes place will be made to pay the expenses of all repairs unless it be shown that the people of such towns or counties could not have prevented it on account of the superior force of the enemy.”

As Federals scattered secessionists at Fulton and repaired the railroad at Warrenton, Halleck wrote to General-in-Chief George B. McClellan that the sabotage was “the most annoying features of the war… effected by small parties of mounted men, disguised as farmers, but well armed. They overpower or overawe the guards, set fire to the bridges, and escape before a force can be collected against them. Examples of severe punishment are the only remedies.”

Halleck issued orders to 15 Federal commanders at 15 points throughout the state: “Look out for bridge-burners. It is reported that concerted attempts will be made to destroy railroads and telegraph lines. Shoot down every one making the attempt.” Brigadier General John Pope dispatched cavalry to Lexington, where they destroyed two ferryboats that secessionists could have used to cross the Missouri and join Price’s retreat toward Springfield.

The day after Christmas, Halleck proclaimed martial law in St. Louis and along all railroad lines in Missouri. Two days later, the Federal sweep through Missouri that Halleck envisioned began when Brigadier General Benjamin M. Prentiss’s forces attacked secessionists near Hallsville, inflicting 50 casualties (five killed, 35 wounded, and 10 taken prisoner) and capturing 90 horses and 105 stands of arms. The sweep continued into the next year.

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References

Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 99; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 88, 92-93; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 145-46, 150-51; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 8, p. 453, 456-57, Series II, Volume 1, p. 236-28

The Blackwater Creek Engagement

December 18, 1861 – Federals under Brigadier General John Pope overwhelmed a force of Missouri State Guards and demoralized secessionists in the western part of the state.

Brig-Gen John Pope | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

Brig-Gen John Pope | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

Pope commanded the District of Central Missouri, covering the area between the Missouri and Osage rivers, with headquarters at Sedalia. His main task was to break up the pockets of pro-secession State Guards assembling and trying to join forces with Major General Sterling Price’s main army at Osceola in western Missouri.

On December 5, some of Price’s men successfully ferried about 2,500 volunteer Guards across the Missouri River at Lexington and led them to Osceola. In response, Pope wrote to Major General Henry W. Halleck, commanding the Federal Department of Missouri: “I would respectfully suggest that to quiet all the disturbances and uneasiness engendered by the presence of so large a hostile force in this region, an advance in force against Price be made as soon as possible.”

Pope expressed confidence that his 15,000 armed, trained, and disciplined Federals could defeat whatever force that Price may have, and they could mobilize within two hours. Pope also outlined a strategy of confusing State Guard pickets with cavalry diversions before moving southwest, crossing the Osage River, and attacking with his main force before Price could gather more recruits.

Halleck responded by urging Pope to move, but not in the direction that Pope had requested. Instead Halleck directed Pope to move northwest toward Lexington and disperse the recruits that Price had not yet collected. Halleck also restricted Pope to using just his one division (Pope had requested two others). Although Pope disagreed with the order, he replied that he would begin moving the next morning.

Pope gathered 4,000 troops for the northwest march on the 15th when he learned that about 4,000 State Guard recruits had already left Lexington to join Price at Osceola; they were now probably near Warrensburg, 60 miles north of Price’s force. Pope received permission to change his marching orders to cut the recruits off between Warrensburg and Clinton. The Federals moved out but covered just 11 miles before camping southwest of Sedalia.

The next day, Pope’s Federals moved toward Warsaw, covering 23 miles in one of the longest marches of the war. Federal cavalry entered Chilhowe and learned that 3,600 Guards were camped six miles north of Warrensburg, near the Black River. Pope dispatched a force to Milford, just north of the suspected encampment, and another force to block the road extending southwest from Warrensburg.

The Federals attacked on the 18th, sending the Guard recruits across the Black River and capturing the bridge. The recruits were compelled to surrender when they fled southward and ran into the second Federal force blocking their path.

Pope reported that he had captured “1,300 men… three colonels… one lieutenant-colonel, one major, and 51 commissioned company officers,” along with about “500 horses and mules, 73 wagons heavily loaded with powder, lead tents, subsistence stores, and supplies of various kinds… also 1,000 stand of arms.”

Although this was likely exaggerated, it still made for an impressive victory. Over three days, Pope’s Federals had marched 100 miles and captured over 1,500 prisoners, 2,000 weapons, and 100 wagons. This severely damaged the secessionist cause in western Missouri and convinced Price that he could no longer rely on either recruits or Confederate aid.

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References

Anders, Leslie, “The Blackwater Incident,” Missouri Historical Review, LXXXVIII, No. 4, July 1994, p. 420-25; CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 88-89; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 8, p. 39-40

Missourians Lobby the Confederacy

December 16, 1861 – Missouri General Sterling Price sent another message to Confederate President Jefferson Davis asking him to provide more support for their secessionist cause.

Confederate General Sterling Price | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

General Sterling Price | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Price, commanding the Missouri State Guards, had written to Davis in November requesting Confederate aid. He wrote again on December 16 urging Davis to order General Ben McCulloch, commanding secessionists in Arkansas, to join with Price’s Guards: “I have repeatedly assured your Government that such co-operation would enable me to take and maintain possession of three fourths of the State and to gather around me at least 50,000 recruits.”

Price explained that thousands of secessionists were gathering throughout Missouri, but they “cannot come to me in the present condition of the State… most of them are compelled to stay at home to give whatever protection they can to their families against the armies and marauding gangs which are laying waste and desolating the State.”

According to Price, the main problem was that volunteers who “would gladly join the army, if they could get to it,” were “prevented from doing so by the extension of the enemy’s lines across the State and their occupation of every approach to the army.”

While this letter was in transit, Davis responded to Price’s letter of November 10 requesting aid. Davis assured Price that he was “most anxious to give to Missouri all the aid in our power, and have been hopefully looking for the tender of troops from Missouri and Arkansas, to be organized into brigades and divisions under the laws of the Confederate States.”

However, Davis had “at present no troops to give you except those under General McCulloch, and you are aware of their condition… You may rest assured that the welfare of Missouri is as dear to me as that of other States of the Confederacy, and that I will do all in my power to assist her in her struggle to maintain the common cause and to vindicate her freedom and sovereignty.”

Exiled Missouri Governor Claiborne F. Jackson, now in New Orleans, wrote to President Davis on the 30th in response to Davis’s suggestion that Price assimilate his Missouri State Guards into the Confederate army. Jackson explained that Price’s Guards had been “left alone to face a foe of more than five times their strength,” but they still “successfully held in check the Lincoln forces in our state.”

Jackson expressed concern that “General Price and his men being thus forsaken by those on whom they relied for aid can scarcely be expected they will enter the Confederate Army with that alacrity and promptness they would do under more favorable auspices.” Missouri had been “left to the mercy of the thieving jayhawker and murderous Hessian,” while the soldiers’ “towns and their houses (were) destroyed by fire, their property stolen, their country laid waste, and their wives and children driven from their homes to perish or to live as best they can.”

Jackson was also concerned that even if the Guards were absorbed into the Confederate army, Price would not be. As such, he asked Davis to put Price in command of the Confederacy’s fledgling Western Department, hoping that Davis had “already been clothed with power to make the appointment.”

The exiled governor wrote to Price that same day: “Why it is that he (Davis) can’t give you the appointment at once I am utterly at a loss to determine… (but) I will not censure the President until I know he has wronged us.” Jackson notified Price that money had been raised to buy a new sword for the general, as “a beautiful present from the young ladies of New Orleans.”

While Jackson enjoyed New Orleans and violent partisanship continued in Missouri, Davis disputed members of the Confederate Congress over military command in Missouri. This prompted him to write, “I have, long since, learned to bear hasty censure in the hope that justice if tardy is sure, and in any event to find consolation in the assurance that all my ends have been my country’s.”

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 148-49

The Missouri Secession

October 28, 1861 – Remnants of the popularly elected Missouri legislature gathered at Neosho to consider leaving the Union, even though a new Unionist government claimed to be the legitimate governing body over Missouri.

Missouri State Flag | Image Credit: All-Flags-World.com

Missouri State Flag | Image Credit: All-Flags-World.com

A group of ousted legislators met in the Masonic Hall at Neosho, 70 miles southwest of Major General John C. Fremont’s Federal Army of the West at Springfield. One of the few Unionist legislators in attendance claimed that only 10 senators and 39 representatives were present, short of the required 17 senators and 67 representatives for a quorum under Missouri law. Nevertheless, exiled pro-secession Governor Claiborne F. Jackson addressed the body:

“It is in vain to hope for a restoration of amicable relations between Missouri and the other United States of America under the same government, and it is not desirable if it could be accomplished… Men, women and children, in open day and in the public thoroughfares, were shot down and murdered by a brutal soldiery with the connivance of Government officers. Our citizen soldiers were arrested and imprisoned, State property was seized and confiscated without warrant of law, private citizens were insecure in their persons and property; the writ of Habeas Corpus had been nullified and the brave Judges who had attempted to protect by it, the liberties of the citizens had been insulted and threatened and a tyrant president revealing in unencumbered powers had crowned all these acts of unconstitutional aggression by declaring war against a number of the States comprising the former Union.”

Both houses approved an “Act Declaring the Political Ties Heretofore Existing Between the State of Missouri and the United States of America Dissolved.” Jackson signed the Ordinance of Secession into law three days later, officially taking Missouri out of the Union.

Since the legislators had been popularly elected, the Confederacy joined the U.S. in claiming that Missouri was one of its states. Anticipating admission into the Confederacy, the exiled legislature approved a motion appointing two senators and seven representatives to the Confederate Congress.

However, a second state government also operated in Missouri, having been created by Unionist delegates to the Missouri constitutional convention in July. The convention reassembled this month to approve further measures to ensure that the provisional government remained loyal to the U.S.

Delegates approved a measure suspending the upcoming popular elections until the following August. This gave provisional Governor Hamilton R. Gamble time to replace elected officials suspected of favoring secession with Unionists. Another measure permitted administering “test oaths” to disqualify anti-Unionist voters or elected officials.

The delegates also approved organizing a provisional state militia, with men between the ages of 18 and 45 who passed the “test oath” eligible for duty; the Federal government would fund this new militia. In addition, delegates adopted measures to raise revenue by issuing bonds, and they voted to cut the salaries of state employees by 20 percent.

For the time being, Missouri would operate with two governing bodies, with the U.S. recognizing the provisional government at Jefferson City and the Confederacy recognizing the elected government at Neosho.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 77; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 133; Robbins, Peggy, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (New York: Harper & Row, 1986, Patricia L. Faust ed.), p. 501-02; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012), Q461

Federals Reclaim Lexington and Springfield

October 25, 1861 – Major General John C. Fremont touted the Federal recapture of Lexington and Springfield as great victories, but they did little to change the military situation in Missouri.

Gens John C. Fremont and Sterling Price | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Gens John C. Fremont and Sterling Price | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

General Sterling Price had withdrawn his secessionist Missouri State Guards from Lexington under pressure from Fremont’s larger force. Price moved southwest, seeking to join forces once more with the secessionist army under General Ben McCulloch in Arkansas. Price had no more than 12,000 ill-equipped men in his command. Fremont, whose Federals were also ill-equipped and trained, had nearly 40,000.

Price left a small garrison at Lexington, which was overrun by Major Frank J. White’s First Squadron Prairie Scouts on the early morning of October 16. White reported that “the rebels ran in every direction” while his Federals freed their imprisoned comrades and seized arms, 25 horses, two steamboats, and several Guards who could not escape.

While the Federals resumed their occupation of Lexington, Fremont’s main force continued southwestward toward Springfield. Price fell back to Neosho, where a “rump session” of the popularly elected Missouri legislature was scheduled to take place. This was on the way to join McCulloch, whose men were 20 miles south at Pineville.

McCulloch wrote Price that he sought to advance on Springfield while directing “Col. Stand Watie, with one regiment of Cherokees, to move into the neutral land and Kansas, and destroy everything that might be of service to the enemy.” McCulloch urged Price to destroy Federal resources around Carthage and concluded, “If the enemy should not advance beyond Springfield, we might with our cavalry lay waste Kansas.”

Price responded that although he agreed Kansas’s support for the Federals “should be broken,” he would not “destroy that which is absolutely necessary for the subsistence–I may almost say the existence–of the surrounding inhabitants.” Price proposed destroying the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, which would cut Fremont’s supply line from the east.

He argued that Kansans were aiding the Federals along the Missouri River: “It is there that abolition reigns; it is there her wealth is held; it is there her fighting men are raised; in short, it is the center from which all her depredations upon Southern rights and Southern property radiate.” If McCulloch’s “gallant men” advanced there, they would bring the “thorough establishment of Southern independence to the Mississippi Valley.”

While Price and McCulloch debated strategy, Major Charles Zagonyi’s Federal cavalry under Major Charles Zagonyi of Leuchtenburg routed a token secessionist force and occupied Springfield on October 25. The Federals consisted of Fremont’s Kentucky bodyguard; the men rode bay chargers and wore colorful feathers in their hats. They drove through the Confederate pickets and into the courthouse square before the secessionists knew they were being attacked. The Federals sustained about 100 casualties.

Fremont’s main force arrived at Springfield two days later, with Fremont setting up headquarters in the same red brick building that Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon had used as headquarters before his death at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Fremont sent a message to Washington boasting that retaking Springfield was “an atonement for Bull Run, Wilson’s Creek and Lexington.”

He further declared that he would “clear the state entirely of the enemy.” Fremont based this on false information that Price’s Guards were just nine miles away and advancing on Springfield from the southwest. In reality, Price was still at Neosho, over 50 miles away, having put a considerable distance between himself and the Federals due to Fremont’s lethargy.

Back at Springfield, an apparently insane man hurrahing alternately for Jefferson Davis, Jesus Christ, and Satan burned down the court house in the town square, where Federals had jailed several alleged secessionists. As Federals tried extinguishing the blaze, the man clapped his hands and prayed to God for “burning up a million devils and destroying the souls of 10,000 bodies.” This bizarre event somewhat embodied the tumultuous Missouri situation, of which Fremont was quickly and unwittingly losing control by month’s end.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (multiple dates); Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 89; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 73. 76; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 127, 131-32; Nevin, David, The Road to Shiloh: Early Battles in the West (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 33

Fremont Finally Confronts Price

October 7, 1861 – Major General John C. Fremont left St. Louis to lead his Federal Army of the West against the pro-secession Missouri State Guards under General Sterling “Pap” Price.

Gens John C. Fremont and Sterling Price | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Gens John C. Fremont and Sterling Price | Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

Nearly two weeks after Price’s Guards captured Lexington, Fremont finally assembled his scattered army to confront them. However, Fremont’s subordinates found his organizational skills hardly satisfactory. Brigadier General John Pope, ordered to command the Federal right wing and join his men with those at Boonville, found no troops at Boonville to join with. Pope complained to his father-in-law: “Fremont shows his inefficiency more and more every day and walks about at Jefferson City with his hands to his head as if he were on the verge of insanity. There are no plans and no home of any that are intelligible.”

Unbeknownst to Pope, Fremont did have plans, as unrealistic as they were. Before leaving on the 7th, he wrote to his wife Jessie from Tipton, “My plan is New Orleans. I think it can be done gloriously.” But the army needed to be unified just to get through Missouri. At that time, Fremont’s 40,000 troops were spread out over 70 miles in five divisions. Fremont planned to concentrate his men into a 10-mile line from Leesville to Warsaw, with Federals from Kansas City forming the army’s right flank, and Pope and Major General David Hunter commanding the two wings.

Concentrating the army was one thing; training and equipping it was another. Most of the troops were inadequately fed, trained, and armed, despite the enormous expenditures incurred within Fremont’s department. Moreover, Lincoln administration officials were on their way from Washington to personally inspect Fremont’s army and report on whether Fremont should keep his job.

In spite of this, the army moved forward to face Price, whose Missouri State Guards had withdrawn from Lexington and were headed southwest toward Arkansas. Heavy skirmishing with Guard remnants occurred at Clintonville and Pomme de Terre on the 12th.

The next day, elements of Fremont’s army routed a detachment of Guards on the 13th, capturing 40 and sending the rest fleeing toward Lebanon. Federal Colonel Grenville Dodge, who directed care for the wounded in Rolla, estimated that the Missourians sustained 46 casualties (16 killed and 30 wounded). This battle, which was more of a running fight, became known as “Dutch Hollow,” “Wet Glaze,” or “Monday Hollow.”

Both the Federal army movement and questions over whether Fremont should keep his command continued as the month progressed.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com (various dates); Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 85-86; Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fort Sumter to Perryville (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 98; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 71-72; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 124-25

The Confused Missouri Situation

September 23, 1861 – Despite the recent loss of Lexington and the scattering of his forces, Major General John C. Fremont notified his superiors that his troops were somehow “gathering around the enemy” in Missouri.

Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Major General John C. Fremont | Image Credit: CivilWarDailyGazette.com

Fremont’s Department of the West consisted of nearly 40,000 Federal officers and men in Missouri. However, they were scattered among various posts, and as President Lincoln predicted, Fremont’s declaration of martial law and emancipation proclamation had incited Missouri State Guards and partisans into stepping up their attacks on the Federals.

Fremont commanded several major Federal forces in northern and western Missouri, as well as a force under Brigadier-General Ulysses S. Grant that operated in the southeastern Missouri-southern Illinois-western Kentucky sector. Grant learned from “a negro man (who) tells a very straight story” that partisans were gathering at New Madrid, Missouri, and prepared to confront them. However, Fremont pulled two regiments from his command in response to an urgent call from Washington to send reinforcements east. This temporarily halted Grant’s offensive.

In western Missouri, Unionist Kansans led by James H. Lane operated along the Kansas-Missouri border. Lane’s Jayhawkers burned the Missouri town of Osceola and committed other depredations that gained no military advantage. They only continued the brutal combat that had taken place along the border before the war began, when Missourians and southerners fought to make Kansas a slave state and northern abolitionists fought to make it free.

In northern Missouri, Federals under Colonel Jefferson C. Davis (no relation to the Confederate president) clashed with Missourians in the Boonville area, while a force under Brigadier-General Samuel D. Sturgis pulled back from Rolla to St. Charles. Fremont sent Brigadier-General John Pope, commanding another Federal force in the region, to Iowa to recruit more volunteers.

Brig-Gen John Pope | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

General John Pope | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

Fremont’s failure to effectively coordinate the movements of Davis, Sturgis, and Pope allowed a large Missouri partisan force under Martin Green to operate around Florida and then escape pursuit. It also helped lead to the fall of Lexington. Pope learned of the dire situation at Lexington while en route to Iowa and informed Fremont that he would send reinforcements there, “presuming from General Sturgis’ dispatches that there is imminent want of troops in Lexington.” However, Fremont instructed Pope to continue recruiting efforts in Iowa, and none of the other nearby Federal forces could reach the town in time.

Despite all this, Fremont sent a favorable message to Washington on September 23, to which Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott replied: “The President is glad that you are hastening to the scene of action. His words are, ‘He expects you to repair the disaster at Lexington without loss of time.’”

Fremont set about reorganizing his army into five divisions, with Pope commanding the right wing. Major General David Hunter would command the left, but his forces were dispersed throughout various points. Fremont initially planned to have Hunter concentrate at Jefferson City, but that would leave the region west of Rolla open for Missouri State Guards to operate with impunity. Repositioning all the elements of the Army of the West caused many logistical problems for Fremont.

Meanwhile, General Sterling Price, whose State Guards had captured Lexington, received word that Confederates under Generals Gideon Pillow and William Hardee had withdrawn from southeastern Missouri, and General Ben McCulloch’s Confederates had fallen back into Arkansas. This left Price alone while a force led by Fremont himself advanced from St. Louis to take back Lexington. Price resolved to abandon the town.

General Albert Sidney Johnston, the new commander of Confederate Department No. 2 (i.e., the Western Theater), had his sights set on Missouri as part of a bigger picture that also included Arkansas and Kentucky. Johnston ordered McCulloch “to muster into service as many armed regiments of Arkansas and Missouri troops” as possible. Johnston also ordered M. Jeff Thompson to lead his Missouri State Guards to the “vicinity of Farmington, on the route to Saint Louis” to “relieve the pressure of the Federal forces on General Price… and if possible to embarrass their movements by cutting their Ironton Railroad.” Thompson quickly dispatched troops to destroy railroad bridges around Charleston and Birds Point by month’s end.

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References

CivilWarDailyGazette.com; Davis, Jefferson, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government (Kindle Edition 2008, 1889), Loc 6873; Denney, Robert E., The Civil War Years: A Day-by-Day Chronicle (New York: Gramercy Books, 1992 [1998 edition]), p. 72-74, 78; Fredriksen, John C., Civil War Almanac (New York: Checkmark Books, 2007), p. 61-64, 67; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 113, 120-21; Pollard, Edward A., Southern History of the War (New York: The Fairfax Press, 1990), p. 156-57