General Fremont's Army

St. Louis, September 27th, 1861. For four days the headquarters have been ready to take the field at an hour’s notice. The baggage has been packed, the wagons loaded, horses have stood saddled all through the day, and the officers have been sitting at their desks, booted and spurred, awaiting the order for their departure. It is not unlikely that the suspense in which they are held and the constant condition of readiness which is required of them are a sort of preliminary discipline to which the General is subjecting them. Yesterday the bodyguard left by the river, and the staff-horses went upon the same steamer, so that we cannot be detained much longer.


Fremont’s Hundred Days in Missouri was published in three installments in The Atlantic Monthly. The anonymous author appears to have been a member of Fremont’s staff with a disdainful bias towards Missourians, even those who were pro-Union.

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rebellion record

September 27.—To-day Major-General Dix and staff, Brig.-General Duryea and Major Belger proceeded to the Relay House, Md., for the purpose of reviewing and presenting the Fourth Wisconsin regiment, Col. Paine, with a stand of colors. The regiment was drawn up in line and presented a truly martial appearance. When the presentation was about to take place, the divisions on each flank of the battalion were wheeled to the left and right, forming a three-sided square. The color guard was marched forward from the line, the colors then brought forward, when Gen. Dix addressed the regiment in the most patriotic and impassioned language. Col Paine replied in the same lofty sentiments and with burning eloquence, which spontaneously drew from his regiment acclamations of eternal fidelity to the emblem of our country’s glory—after which the colors took their place in line.—Baltimore American, Sept. 28.

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Late addition to Volume 3:

 

September 27.—A battle was fought near Shanghai, in Benton County, Missouri, between a body of Kansas troops, under Montgomery and Jamison, and the advance guard of Ben. McCulloch’s army and some of the State Guard, under Judge Cheneault. The rebels were driven back with considerable loss, and pursued forty miles, when Montgomery fell back on Greenfield. Great alarm was felt by the rebels in Springfield lest Montgomery should attack that place, and the troops there rested on their arms for several nights.—(Doc. 75.)

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day_david_l

Sept. 26.  Being the first company on the ground, and not having tents, we bivouacked last night in Agricultural Hall. Sleeping on a hard pine board was new business to most of us, and Morpheus was courted in vain. The boys, however, made a frolic of the night, and more unearthly noises and sounds never greeted my ears. I think the rebels would never need hear the sound of our guns to frighten them, if they could hear sounds like those. Several other companies arrived on the ground this morning, and this afternoon all hands are busy pitching tents.

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Arkansas True Democrat [Little Rock], September 26, 1861

We respectfully suggest to the county court of Pulaski county, the propriety, if not the necessity, of levying a tax, under the provisions of the ordinance, of the convention of May 11th and 30th; and to issue county scrip, based upon and anticipating the tax. The families of volunteers must not be permitted to suffer or want. If the matter is left to voluntary contributions, a few will do it all, while the niggardly will stand aloof. It is a melancholy truth that we have wealthy men in our county who have done nothing, or next to nothing, for the great southern cause. Perhaps one has given a horse, another a gun, or some such small matter, and taken good care to let everybody know of their liberality! they are able to give thousands, and if they had any patriotism, would give it. We can reach these men by a tax, and in no other way. For this reason it has been strongly urged that such a tax should be levied. We submit the matter to the county court.

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Arkansas True Democrat [Little Rock], September 26, 1861

Some of the military companies raised during the present war have assumed queer names.—We have “avengers,” “invincibles,” “fencibles,” and “rangers,” without number. In our State we have, or had, a company of “yellow jackets,” another of “hornets” and one called the “sassafras invincibles.” In Texas they have one called “the Yankee hunters.” In Alabama one is styled “the rosin heels.” Wild cats, tigers, rattlesnakes, and bears, have furnished names for other companies.

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Alexander G. Downing

Thursday, 26th—We had no drill today. Instead of drilling all went to meeting. President Lincoln issued a proclamation asking that the day be observed as a day of fasting and prayer, and our company attended service twice today, in a body. The war has cast a gloom over the whole country; people are beginning to believe that it will be a long siege before it is over with.

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taft_horatio_nelson

THURSDAY 26

We have thought considerably today of taking another house and remaining in the City. But decent houses for rent are extremely scarce now. Two months ago half the houses (almost) were empty and for rent. I was at the “White House” last evening. Saw Maj Watt and called at the residence of Gov Chase. He was not at home. Today have nearly finished packing up. It has been the National Fast day, business suspended all over the City & stores closed. Julia has gone to stay with Matty Hartly. Chas & Sallie called just at Dusk.

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The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.

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Richard R. Hancock

Thursday, 26th.—According to Zollicoffer’s orders of yesterday, the several detachments named (except Companies B and C of McNairy’s Battalion that did not move to Barboursville till the next day), marched (sixteen miles) from Camp Buckner to Barboursville, the county seat of Knox County, Kentucky, leaving their tents at the former place.

It was said that only three families remained in town, and this showed the strong “Union sentiments” of that town. Our men put up in deserted houses. 1

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1 The larger portion of the household furniture was left in many of the dwellings; therefore, the writer, as well as a good many others, had the pleasure of occupying a good Kentucky feather bed the two nights that we remained in Barboursville.

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General Fremont's Army

THE narrative1 we propose to give of events in Missouri is not intended to be a defence of General Fremont, nor in any respect an answer to the charges which have been made against him. Our purpose is the more humble one of presenting a hasty sketch of the expedition to Springfield, confining ourselves almost entirely to the incidents which came under the observation of an officer of the General’s staff.

General Fremont was in command of the Western Department precisely One Hundred Days. He assumed the command at the time when the army with which Lyon had captured Camp Jackson and won the Battle of Booneville was on the point of dissolution. The enemy, knowing that the term for which our soldiers had been enlisted was near its close, began offensive movements along their whole line. Cairo, Bird’s Point, Ironton, and Springfield were simultaneously threatened. Jeff Thompson wrote to his friends in St. Louis, promising to be in that city in a month. The sad, but glorious day upon Wilson’s Creek defeated the Rebel designs, and compelled McCulloch, Pillow, Hardee, and Thompson to retire.

Relieved from immediate danger, General Fremont found an opportunity to organize the expedition down the Mississippi. Won by the magic of his name and the ceaseless energy of his action, the hardy youth of the Northwest flocked into St. Louis, eager to share his labors and his glory. There was little time for organization and discipline. They were armed with such weapons as could be procured against the competition of the General Government, and at once forwarded to the exposed points. History can furnish few parallels to the hasty levy and organization of the Army of the West. When suddenly required to defend Washington, the Government was able to summon the equipped and disciplined militia of the East, and could call upon the inexhaustible resources of a wealthy and skilful people. But in the West there was neither a disciplined militia nor trained mechanics. Men, indeed, brave, earnest, patriotic men, were plenty, —men who appreciated the magnitude and importance of the task before them, and who were confident of their ability to accomplish it. But to introduce order into their tumultuous ranks, to place arms in their eager hands, to clothe and feed them, to provide them with transportation and equipage for the march, and inspire them with confidence for the siege and the battle, —this labor the General, almost unaided, was called upon to perform. Like all the rest of our generals, he was without experience in military affairs of such magnitude and urgency, and he was compelled to rely chiefly upon the assistance of men entirely without military training and knowledge. The general staff and the division and brigade staffs were, from the necessity of the case, made up mainly of civilians. A small number of foreign officers brought to his aid their learning and experience, and a still smaller number of West Point officers gave him their invaluable assistance. In spite of all difficulties the work proceeded. In six weeks the strategic positions were placed in a state of defence, and an army of sixty thousand men, with a greater than common proportion of cavalry and artillery, stood ready to clear Missouri of the invader and to open the valley of the Mississippi. At this time the sudden appearance of Price in the West, and the fall of Lexington, compelled the General to take the field. We will now confine ourselves to the narrative of the incidents of the march to Springfield, as it is given in the journal which has been placed in our hands.


1. Fremont’s Hundred Days in Missouri was published in three installments in The Atlantic Monthly. The anonymous author appears to have been a member of Fremont’s staff with a disdainful bias towards Missourians, even those who were pro-Union.
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A likeness of Jones when he was editor  and majority owner of the Daily Madisonian during President John Tyler's administration.

SEPTEMBER 26TH.—Had a conversation with the Secretary to-day, on the policy of sending Union men out of the Confederacy. I told him we had 15,000 sick in the hospitals at Manassas, and this intelligence might embolden the enemy to advance, capture the hospitals, and make our sick men prisoners. He said such prisoners would be a burden to them, and a relief to us. I remarked that they would count as prisoners in making exchanges; and to abandon them in that manner, would have a discouraging effect on our troops. He said that sending unfriendly persons out of the country was in conformity with the spirit of the act of Congress, and recommended me to reperuse it and make explanations to the people, who were becoming clamorous for some restriction on the egress of spies.

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rebellion record

September 26.—Capt. Stewart’s cavalry, numbering seventy-five men, to-day encountered forty rebel cavalry at Lucas Bend, Ky., whom they pursued into Jeff. Thompson’s camp at Belmont. Four rebels were killed, five captured, and many wounded. The remainder escaped to the woods. The Federal troops captured all the guns and pistols they could bring away with them. No Federal troops were injured.

—the Thirty-fifth regiment of Ohio Volunteers took possession of Cynthiana, Kentucky.

—at Louisville, Ky., W. G. Querton, formerly one of the editors and proprietors of the Courier, was arrested for aiding the Southern rebellion.—The turnpike bridge over Green river, near Mumfordville, was burned by rebels.
—J. B. Archer, Captain of the steamboat Commercial, was arrested, but bailed in ten thousand dollars. The beat was also seized, but released on security being given to surrender her on demand to the Federal Government.— Louisville Journal, September 28.

—The Twenty-first regiment of Ohio Volunteers, left Findlay for Camp Dennison.—Ohio Statesman, October 2.

—Is accordance with the recommendation of the President of the United States, published August 12th, this day was observed as a day of fasting and prayer.

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Sept. 25. Under escort of the Milford Brass Band, we marched through a few of the principal streets to the depot. Here a large concourse of citizens had collected to give us their best wishes, and see us off. We now began to realize some of the discomforts of a soldier’s life. There not being passenger cars enough to accommodate us, we were crowded into two box freight cars for South Framingham, where we changed to passenger cars for Worcester. Arriving there, we marched to the city hall, where we took dinner. From there we marched to the agricultural grounds’ west of the city, where we are to encamp. This camp is named Camp Lincoln, in honor of Ex-Governor Lincoln of Worcester.

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Richard R. Hancock

Wednesday, 25th. Harris’s ( B) and Ewing’s (C) companies arrived from Knoxville and rejoined the rest of McNairy’s Battalion at Camp Buckner.

Besides our battalion, General Zollicoffer now had with him at Camp Buckner four regiments of infantry (Statham, Rains, Cummings, and Battle), five cavalry companies (three of Branner’s Battalion and two of Brazelton’s), and one artillery company of six-pounders, commanded by Captain Rutledge. Colonel Newman’s Regiment was at Cumberland Gap. The Sixteenth Alabama (Wood) and the Fourth Tennessee (Churchwell) Regiments of infantry, and McClellan’s Battalion of cavalry and half of Branner’s were left at Knoxville. There were stationed at various points in East Tennessee some other troops, mostly unarmed.

About six days previous to this, General Zollicoffer had, according to instructions received from General A. S. Johnston, ordered the Fourteenth Mississippi (Colonel Baldwin) and the Third East Tennessee (Colonel Lillard) Regiments of infantry to move to Camp Trousdale, to reinforce General S. B. Buckner, who was then in command of the Central Division of Kentucky, with headquarters at Bowling Green.

General Zollicoffer had learned that there was a large quantity of salt at the salt works on Goose Creek, in Clay County, thirty-five miles north of Camp Buckner and eighteen miles east of a camp of Home Guards— variously estimated at from six hundred to fifteen hundred—at Laurel Bridge, in Laurel County, some thirty-eight miles north-west of Camp Buckner and two miles south-east of London. As our General had decided to send a detachment to capture the salt above named, and also another detachment in the direction of this Federal encampment at Laurel Bridge to attract attention and mask the movement of the first, he therefore issued the following special orders:

Brigade Headquarters,
Camp Buckner, September 25, 1861.

Colonel James E. Rains will march at four o’clock to-morrow morning, via Barboursville, to Laurel Bridge, on the London road, with his regiment, provisioned for six days, three rations of which shall he cooked, leaving his tents in this encampment. Colonel McNairy’s command will accompany him or follow him, by a right-hand road crossing Laurel Creek about two miles above the bridge. Colonel R. will have command, and will dislodge a supposed force of the enemy at the bridge by attacking simultaneously with infantry and cavalry at both ends of the bridge. He will be furnished a guide, who will give him information of some arms, which he will capture, if practicable. He will take with him also Lieutenant Falcand’s section of artillery. A battalion of Colonel Statham’s infantry, with three companies of Colonel Branner’s cavalry, will be posted on the road to be pursued by Colonel McNairy, about ten miles back, to give support, if necessary.

Simultaneously, Colonel Cummings’ Regiment, with two companies of Colonel Brazelton’s cavalry, will escort a train of wagons to the Goose Creek Salt Works, sixteen or eighteen miles east, in Clay County, to load with salt.

The different detachments will communicate by express messengers with each other and with me, and when the salt train returns all will return to this encampment.

Much is trusted to Colonel Rains’ discretion in whatever may transpire on the way.

F. K. Zollicoffer, Brigadier-General.1

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1 The above order fell into the hands of the Federals (how I know not) and on the 3d of October it was sent by T. T. Garrard, who was Colonel of the Third Kentucky Regiment and in command at Camp Wildcat, or Rockcastle Hills, to General G. H. Thomas, who was in command at Camp Dick Robinson, some thirty-five miles beyond Wildcat. At the same time Garrard wrote to Thomas thus (italics mine):

“I have no information in regard to the rebels more than I wrote you, except the inclosed order of General Zollicoffer, which I have no doubt is genuine. I could not doubt it, because they carried out the instructions to the letter.”Rebellion Records, Vol. IV., p. 291

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Rutherford B. Hayes

Mt. Sewell on Pike from Lewisburg
down Gauley And Kanawha Rivers,
Thirty Miles From Lewisburg,
Camp Sewell, September 25, 1861.

Dear L—: — I am now in General Cox’s camp, twenty-five miles from the Carnifax Ferry. The regiment is back about twenty miles. I am here as J. A. [judge-advocate]. Came over yesterday. This camp is on the summit of a high hill or mountain which affords a most extensive view of mountain scenery. The enemy is on a hill about one or two miles from us under Wise. Their strength is not known. Firing continued between the pickets yesterday a good part of the day. Many cannon shot and shell also were let off without much result. One man (Major Hise) slightly wounded on our side. We are ordered not to fight the enemy, not to attack, I mean, until General Rosecrans arrives with our regiment and other forces. McCook is here. If the enemy does not retire, I think there will be a battle in a few days, but I think they will retreat again. They left a strongly fortified position day before yesterday. I found it yesterday. Well, all these matters you read in the papers.

Tell uncle I would write him, but I don’t know where he is, and I suppose he sees my letters often enough. I am in the best possible health and spirits. I trust you are also. It seems to me we are gradually getting better off in the war. It may, and will last some time, but the prospect improves steadily.

I merely write this morning to tell you of my present whereabouts, and that I love you dearly. Kisses and love for the boys and all.

Affectionately,

R.

Mrs. Hayes.

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taft_horatio_nelson

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1861.

Busy packing boxes most of the day. We expected [to] give up the house on Friday morning but have concluded not to do so until Monday. My wife went today to pay her respects to Mrs Lincoln before leaving the City. Was very graciously received by Mrs L. and assured that if she could do anything to keep our Family here she would do it as she was anxious to have our boys come there as companions & playmates for hers. She gave my wife a very strong letter in our favor (with a Boquet) to Mr Chase, Sec’y of the Treasury.

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The three diary manuscript volumes, Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865, are available online at The Library of  Congress.

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Dora Richards Miller

Sept. 25, 1861. (Home again from “The Pines.”)—When I opened the door of Mrs. F.’s room on my return, the rattle of two sewing-machines and a blaze of color met me.

“Ah! G., you are just in time to help us; these are coats for Jeff Thompson’s men. All the cloth in the city is exhausted; these flannel-lined oilcloth table-covers are all we could obtain to make overcoats for Thompson’s poor boys. They will be very warm and serviceable.”

“Serviceable, yes! The Federal army will fly when they see those coats! I only wish I could be with the regiment when these are shared around.” Yet I helped make them.

Seriously, I wonder if any soldiers will ever wear these remarkable coats. The most bewildering combination of brilliant, intense reds, greens, yellows, and blues in big flowers meandering over as vivid grounds; and as no table-cover was large enough to make a coat, the sleeves of each were of a different color and pattern. However, the coats were duly finished. Then we set to work on gray pantaloons, and I have just carried a bundle to an ardent young lady who wishes to assist. A slight gloom is settling down, and the inmates here are not quite so cheerfully confident as in July

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Note: To protect Mrs. Miller’s job as a teacher in New Orleans, the diary was published anonymously, edited by G. W. Cable, names were changed and initials were often used instead of full names — and even the initials differed from the real person’s initials.
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Alfred L. Castleman

25th.—We had a great time to-day, having sent out this morning some six thousand troops, with about one hundred wagons, on a foraging expedition. This evening they returned, loaded with hay, oats, corn, cows, sheep, hogs, and one Irishman—all captured from the enemy. In this deserted and desolated country, where we have for weeks been enjoying (?) rural life without a sign of pig or poultry, without even those indispensable concomitants of civil life—the cries of babies, or the flapping in the wind of confidential garments from clothes lines in the back yard[1]—the sight of the woolly bleaters called back reminiscences of savory mutton and warm under-dresses, with whispered wishes for the time when we may return to the pleasures of civil life.


[1] A something whispers to me that if this should ever be read by housekeepers, it may call up unpleasant reminiscences of “ironing days.” I hope not.

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A likeness of Jones when he was editor  and majority owner of the Daily Madisonian during President John Tyler's administration.

SEPTEMBER 25TH.—Mr. Benjamin and Gen. Winder, after granting a special interview to Messrs. G. and R., have concluded to let them depart for Pennsylvania and New York Nor is this all. I have an order from Mr. Benjamin to give passports, until farther orders, to leave the country to all persons who avow them-selves alien enemies, whether in person or by letter, provided they take no wealth with them. This may be a fatal policy, or it may be a trap.

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Judith White Brockenbrough McGuire

25th.—The last two days spent with pleasant friends, one day with Miss M. M., and the other with my old acquaintance, Mrs. Dr. F., of the “White Post.” These ladies, like all others, are busy for the soldiers. To-day I received a copy of ” Headley Vicars,” abridged for the camp, by my friend J. J. Mr. M. will take it to-morrow to the camp, when he goes with the wagon. To-day we have been helping the Bishop to pack a barrel of grapes, and another with tomatoes and other fresh vegetables; and yet another Mrs. M. has packed with bread, biscuit, and a variety of things for the sick.

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rebellion record

September 25.—At Trenton, New Jersey, the Grand Jury came into the United States Court, and made a lengthy presentment “that complaints have been made before this Grand Inquest concerning certain newspapers published in this State, and copies of the following papers issued during the last few months have been submitted, and carefully examined, namely: The Newark Evening Journal, The Warren Journal, The Hunterdon Democrat, The New Brunswick Times, and The Plainfield Gazette; that during the most critical period, while the capital of the nation has been besieged by armed insurgents, while eleven States in actual rebellion have been striving, by invasion and treachery, to plunge other States still remaining loyal into open opposition to the National Government, these newspapers have been, up to a very recent period, persistently denouncing and libelling these to whom the great duty of National defence is necessarily intrusted; in thwarting their efforts for self-preservation, and fomenting rebellion by discouraging and opposing the only means by which it can be put down. While they cherish a due regard for freedom of speech they feel it their duty to repudiate and denounce the conduct of these journals; that while the Press may freely criticize public men and measures in the peaceful contests of party, yet in a war for the life of a nation, the Press, as well as individuals, should uphold the existing Government or be treated as its enemies. They consider their duty fully discharged in reference to these newspapers by this presentment, leaving them to the wholesome action of public opinion. They recommend all loyal citizens, all public officers, all municipal corporations, vigorously to withhold all patronage from such newspapers as do not hereafter give their unqualified support to the National Government.”

—Smithland, Kentucky, was occupied by the National troops to-day.—Stocking-knitting associations were organized by the ladies of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania,

—This day General William F. Smith, with a force of several thousand men from the camps in the vicinity of the Chain Bridge, on the Potomac, proceeded to Lewinsville, Va., for the purpose of reconnoitring and obtaining forage. Upon arriving at that place his troops were permitted to rest from about half-past nine o’clock A. M., till three o’clock P. M., when there came in sight a large force of Confederate troops, consisting of four or five regiments of infantry, one of cavalry, and six pieces of artillery. They came from Fall’s Church, and in a few minutes opened a fire of shot and shell upon the National troops, without, however, doing any other harm than slightly wounding one man. Their fire was returned by the batteries of Captains Griffin and Mott, who had thrown only Twenty-six shot and shell when the secessionists deemed it prudent to retire from the field. Their loss is not known. The object of the expedition having been accomplished, Gen. Smith, at about five o’clock, returned to his camp. He brought with him ninety-two loads of hay and corn, twenty sheep and twenty beef cattle— the sheep and cattle being the property of Quartermaster Means, of the Confederate service—and one prisoner, who mistook the National pickets for his own. He represents himself as an aid of Gen. Stuart. The Union troops of the expedition consisted of the New York Seventy-ninth, Third Vt., Nineteenth Indiana, and a portion of a Wisconsin regiment, with eighty regular cavalry, Griffin’s West Point battery, and a section, two guns, of Mott’s New York battery.

—This afternoon Lieut.-Col. Letcher, with a detachment of Col. Woodward’s regiment, captured James B. Clay, with sixteen of his men, while on his way to join Zollicoffer. They were taken to Camp Dick Robinson. John C. Breckinridge was with their party in Cincinnati, Ohio, but escaped.—National Intelligencer, Sept. 28.

—Lieutenant McCrea, with the steamers J. Bell and Seminole, made an attack on a rebel battery at Freestone Point, on the Potomac River.—(Doc. 59.)

—An action took place at Chapmanville, Va., between a force of National troops under Colonel D. A. Enyart of the First Kentucky Volunteers and a party of rebels. The latter were completely routed and lost sixty killed and seventy taken prisoners. The rebels in escaping were intercepted by Colonel Piatt of the German Ohio regiment, who surprised them and killed forty beside capturing a large number of prisoners.—(Doc. 59½.)

—A Skirmish occurred near Osceola, Mo., between a part of National troops of General Lane’s army, and a body of rebels, the former losing one killed and four slightly wounded, and the rebels having ten killed.—(Doc. 60.)

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