Camp-Fire and Cotton-Field eBook

Thomas W. Knox
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 458 pages of information about Camp-Fire and Cotton-Field.

About twenty miles from Warsaw, on the road to Booneville, there was a German settlement, known as Cole Camp.  When the troubles commenced in Missouri, a company of Home Guards was formed at Cole Camp.  A few days after its formation a company of Secessionists from Warsaw made a night-march and attacked the Home Guards at daylight.

Though inflicting severe injury upon the Home Guards, the Secessionists mourned the loss of the most prominent citizens of Warsaw.  They were soon after humiliated by the presence of a Union army.



Detention at Warsaw.—­A Bridge over the Osage.—­The Body-Guard.—­Manner of its Organization.—­The Advance to Springfield.—­Charge of the Body-Guard.—­A Corporal’s Ruse.—­Occupation of Springfield—­The Situation.—­Wilson Creek Revisited.—­Traces of the Battle.—­Rumored Movements of the Enemy.—­Removal of General Fremont.—­Danger of Attack.—­A Night of Excitement.—­The Return to St. Louis.—­Curiosities of the Scouting Service.—­An Arrest by Mistake.

The army was detained at Warsaw, to wait the construction of a bridge over the Osage for the passage of the artillery and heavy transportation.  Sigel’s Division was given the advance, and crossed before the bridge was finished.  The main column moved as soon as the bridge permitted—­the rear being brought up by McKinstry’s Division.  A division from Kansas, under General Lane, was moving at the same time, to form a junction with Fremont near Springfield, and a brigade from Rolla was advancing with the same object in view.  General Sturgis was in motion from North Missouri, and there was a prospect that an army nearly forty thousand strong would be assembled at Springfield.

While General Fremont was in St. Louis, before setting out on this expedition, he organized the “Fremont Body-Guard,” which afterward became famous.  This force consisted of four companies of cavalry, and was intended to form a full regiment.  It was composed of the best class of the young men of St. Louis and Cincinnati.  From the completeness of its outfit, it was often spoken of as the “Kid-Gloved Regiment.”  General Fremont designed it as a special body-guard for himself, to move when he moved, and to form a part of his head-quarter establishment.  The manner of its organization was looked upon by many as a needless outlay, at a time when the finances of the department were in a disordered condition.  The officers and the rank and file of the Body-Guard felt their pride touched by the comments upon them, and determined to take the first opportunity to vindicate their character as soldiers.

When we were within fifty miles of Springfield, it was ascertained that the main force of the Rebels had moved southward, leaving behind them some two or three thousand men.  General Fremont ordered a cavalry force, including the Body-Guard, to advance upon the town.  On reaching Springfield the cavalry made a gallant charge upon the Rebel camp, which was situated in a large field, bordered by a wood, within sight of the court-house.

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Camp-Fire and Cotton-Field from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.