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than even those of reckless bravery. “In the progress of the retreat," writes an officer, "every few hundred yards we would overtake some wounded soldier. As soon as he would see the old General, he would cry out: 'General, I am wounded !' Instantly some vehicle was ordered to stop, and the poor soldier's wants cared for. Again and again it occurred, until the conveyances were covered with the wounded. Another one cried out: : General, I am wounded!' The General's head dropped upon his breast, and his eyes, bedimmed with tears, were thrown up, and he looked in front for some place to put his poor soldier. He discovered something on wheels in front, and commanded : ‘Halt! and put this wounded soldier up; by G-d, I will save my wounded, if I lose the whole army!'"
The battle of Elk Horn may be said to have terminated Price's splendid career as commander of “the Missouri State Guard.” Shortly thereafter it was decided by the government at Richmond to remove the forces from the Trans-Mississippi district, and to unite the armies of Van Dorn and Price with such force as Gen. Beauregard already had at Corinth. The order for leaving the limits of their States was responded to by the Missouri and Arkan. sas troops with ready and patriotic spirit. Price had for a long time been held in disfavour by President Davis. But popular demand, army clamour, and Congressional urgency, were too great longer to withstand, and the Major-General's commission was ordered. On the occasion of this change of command and transfer of his theatre of operations across the Mississippi River, Price made to his troops the following extraordinary and admirable appeal. Comprehensive in its terms, Napoleonic in spirit, and glowing with patriotic fire, it challenges comparison with some of the military orders of the most celebrated commanders in history:
HEADQUARTERS MISSOURI STATE GUARD,
DES ARC, ARKANSAS, April 3, 1862. Soldiers of the State Guard:
I command you no longer. I have this day resigned the commission which your patient endurance, your devoted patriotism, and your dauntless bravery, have made so honourable. I have done this that I may the better serve you, our State, and our country; that I may the sooner lead you back to the fertile prairies, the rich
woodlands, and majestic streams of our beloved Missouri; that I may the more certainly restore you to your once happy homes, and to the loved ones there.
Five thousand of those who have fought side by side with us under the grizzly bears of Missouri, have followed me into the Confederate camp. They appeal to you, as I do, by all the tender memories of the past, not to leave us now, but to go with us wherever the path of duty may lead, till we shall have conquered a peace, and won our independence, by brilliant deeds upon new fields of battle.
Soldiers of the State Guard! veterans of six pitched battles and nearly twenty skirmishes! conquerors in them all! your country, with its “ruined hearths and shrines," calls upon you to rally once more in her defence, and rescue her forever from the terrible thraldom which threatens her. I know that she will not call in vain. The insolent and barbarous hordes which have dared to invade our soil, and to desecrate our homes, have just met with a signal overthrow beyond the Mississippi. Now is the time to end this unhappy war. If every man will but do his duty, his own roof will shelter him in peace from the storms of the coming winter.
Let not history record that the men who bore with patience the privations of Cowskin Prairie, who endured uncomplainingly the burning heats of a Missouri summer, and the frosts and snows of a Missouri winter; that the men who met the enemy at Carthage, at Oak Hills, at Fort Scott, at Lexington, and in numberless lesser battle-fields in Missouri, and met them but to conquer them; that the men who fought so bravely and so well at Elk Horn; that the unpaid soldiery of Missouri, were, after so many victories, and after so much suffering, unequal to the great task of achieving the independence of their magnificent State.
Soldiers ! I go but to mark a pathway to our homes. Follow me!
Career of Gen. Price as a subordinate.-Mortality record of the Missouri Guard.
Their participation in the battle of Corinth.--Battle of Helena.--Gen. Price's cherished idea of liberating Missouri.—His agreement with Gen. Fremont for the humanities of the war.—How the enemy violated it.—Gen. Price's last attempt to save Missouri.---His final retreat from the State.--Summary of the character of Gen. Price.- A defect in his military career.—Gen. Price as an exile.
THE glowing anticipations with which Gen. Price joined the forces of Beauregard were never realized. It was an unfortunate promotion and an evil star that took Gen. Price across the Mississippi. From that day forward, he never held independent command, and his subsequent military career may be described as desultory. A pioneer in energetic thought and action, his was not a genius to prosper under the control of but the fewest men. His career as a subordinate was not wholly in eclipse; the universal acclaim of every battle in which he was an actor told of his bravery; he always did his part well when others failed, and invariably won his share of the action; but the general story was that of imperfect results, where he was not sustained, and the mistaken judg. ment or blundering vanity of his superiours interfered to hold him in check, and diminish his authority.
That famous body of troops, the “Missouri Guard," became almost extinct in the multitude of battles it fought far away from its homes. Of the ten thousand gallant men whom Price led from Missouri, in April and May, 1862, not more than two thousand five hundred were left at the close of the year survivors of the casualties of battle and camps, fit for service.
At Iuka Gen. Price won a victory, took a formidable battery with his “salamander brigades,” and retired only when the enemy was reinforced to an extent that made further attack madness. At Corinth, although the Confederate arms were unsuccessful there, he alone won a fame equal to that of his greatest victories. Of his part in this action Gen. Price officially reports: "It was after nine o'clock (October 4, 1862) when my line became generally and furi
ously engaged with the enemy in his innermost and most formidable works, from which bis infantry and artillery could jointly operate against my troops. Here, as in the previous actions, my artillery could not be effectively brought into action, and but few of the guns were engaged. The fighting, by my command, was almost entirely confined to the infantry. My men pressed forward upon the enemy, and, with heavy loss, succeeded in getting into the works, having driven him from them, capturing more than forty pieces of artillery, and forcing him to take refuge in the houses of the town, and in every place that would afford protection from our galling fire. He was followed and driven from house to house with great slaughter. In the town were batteries in mask, supported by heavy reserves, behind which the retreating enemy took shelter, and which opened upon our troops a most destructive fire at short range. My men held their positions most gallantly, returning the fire of the enemy with great spirit, until portions of them exhausted their ammunition and were compelled to retire. This necessitated the withdrawal of the whole line, which was done under a withering fire. The attack was not resumed, and we fell back to our supply train, the men being almost exhausted from exertion and want of food and water. Gen. Villepigue's brigade moved over to our assistance, but did not become engaged, as the enemy was too badly cut up to follow ús. We fell back in order to obtain water, some six miles from Corinth, where we bivouacked for the night, bringing off all of our artillery and arms, save one rifled piece, which had been inadvertently driven into the enemy's line while going into battery before daylight in the morning, and had been left. We brought off, also, the two guns captured at the outer line of fortifications on the 3d. It is impossible for me to do justice to the courage of my troops in these engagements, nor can I discriminate between officers and commands where all behaved so nobly.”
It is scarcely necessary to follow in detail the career of Gen. Price to Farmington, and Abbeville, and Helena, and other fields of less important action. At Helena (July 4, 1863), he fought against his judgment, under the imperative orders of Gen. Holmes; and although the other commands failed, Price alone carried the enemy's position, and crowned with its valour "the Grave-Yard Fort,” but at a sacrifice of life which he deplored, accomplishing, as he foresaw, a success which could not be sustained, and a glory unproductive of substantial fruits. Fettered by the orders of such men as Pemberton and Holmes, subsequently coöperating with Gen. Kirby Smith, contributing to the Red River campaign, and containing the enemy on the borders of Arkansas, he was still the successful commander, in all the parts to which he was assigned, but unable to carry out his cherished idea of liberating Missouri and striking a blow on her soil. Wherever he went, wherever he camped, especially wherever he fought, the people cheered with a zest, and the soldier dared, and bled, and died, as he would do under few other leaders. But these distant and partial fields did not satisfy Price's ambition ; to scourge the enemy from his native State he considered his appointed mission; and in the midst of other careers of glory his thoughts constantly reverted to his beloved Missouri, and the sensibilities of his heart were lacerated by the stories of her suffering under the rule of an enemy whose insolence and cruelty had exceeded all bounds, and scoffed every demand of justice and every cry of humanity.
In his first campaign in Missouri, Gen. Price had endeavoured to put the war on the most civilized footing, to secure to all the people of the State the ordinary humanities attendant upon armed strife, and to confine the contest exclusively to the armies in the field. In pursuance of these views the following joint proclamation was issued—which, copied in full, claims entire and close attention as one of the most interesting texts of the war.
WHEREAS, A solemn agreement has been entered into by Major
forces in the State of Missouri, to the effect, that in future arrests or forcible interference by armed or unarmed parties of citizens within the limits of said State for the mere entertainment or expression of political opinions, shall hereafter cease ; that families now broken up for such causes may be reunited, and that the war, now progressing, shall be exclusively confined to armies in the field ; therefore, be it known to all whom it may concern:
1. No arrests whatever on account of political opinions, or for the merely private expression of the same, shall hereafter be made within the limits of the State of Missouri, and all persons who