In the last day of this ride, we passed over a plateau twelve miles across, also over a mountain of considerable height. Near the summit of this mountain, we struck a small brook, whose growth was an interesting study. At first, barely perceptible as it issued from a spring by the roadside, it grew, mile by mile, until, at the foot of the mountain, it formed a respectable stream. The road crossed it every few hundred yards, and at each crossing we watched its increase. At the base of the mountain it united with another and larger stream, which we followed on our way to Rolla.
Late in the afternoon we reached the end of our journey. Weary, dusty, hungry, and sore, we alighted from our tired horses, and sought the office of the commandant of the post. All were eager to gather the latest intelligence, and we were called upon to answer a thousand questions.
With our story ended, ourselves refreshed from the fatigue of our long ride, a hope for the safety of our gallant but outnumbered army, we bade adieu to Rolla, and were soon whirling over the rail to St. Louis.
GENERAL FREMONT’S PURSUIT OF PRICE.
Quarrel between Price and McCulloch.—The Rebels Advance upon Lexington.—A Novel Defense for Sharp-shooters.—Attempt to Re-enforce the Garrison.—An Enterprising Journalist.—The Surrender.—Fremont’s Advance.—Causes of Delay.—How the Journalists Killed Time.—Late News.—A Contractor “Sold.”—Sigel in Front.—A Motley Collection.—A Wearied Officer.—The Woman who had never seen a Black Republican.—Love and Conversion.
After the battle of Wilson Creek and the occupation of Springfield, a quarrel arose between the Rebel Generals, Price and McCulloch. It resulted in the latter being ordered to Arkansas, leaving General Price in command of the army in Missouri. The latter had repeatedly promised to deliver Missouri from the hands of the United States forces, and made his preparations for an advance into the interior. His intention, openly declared, was to take possession of Jefferson City, and reinstate Governor Jackson in control of the State. The Rebels wisely considered that a perambulating Governor was not entitled to great respect, and were particularly anxious to see the proclamations of His Excellency issued from the established capital.
Accordingly, General Price, with an army twenty thousand strong, marched from Springfield in the direction of Lexington. This point was garrisoned by Colonel Mulligan with about twenty-five hundred men. After a siege of four days, during the last two of which the garrison was without water, the fort was surrendered. Price’s army was sufficiently large to make a complete investment of the fortifications occupied by Colonel Mulligan, and thus cut off all access to the river. The hemp warehouses in Lexington were drawn upon to construct movable breast-works for the besieging force. Rolling the bales of hemp before them, the Rebel sharp-shooters could get very near the fort without placing themselves in great danger.