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The Invasion: Price at Fredericktown.


September 1864

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, September 27, 1864.



Skirmishing at Pilot Knob and Ironton.

Official and other intelligence received in the city up to half-past ten o’clock last night, relative to “the situation” in the Southeast, was about as follows:

General Ewing, last reported from Pilot Knob, retaining possession of that post, and the line of railroad from it to Mineral Point. Light attacks had, during the day, been made upon the garrison at the Knob, and were readily repulsed. Like assaults at Ironton had been in a similar manner disposed of. The enemy did not seem inclined, at least not at once, to seriously assault either of those places, or to seize the railroad. His real designs were not developed, but it was thought that the lapse of twenty-four hours more must disclose them.

All reports indicate the presence of General Sterling Price, with the main body of his forces at or near Fredericktown, in Madison county, while his advance, under Shelby and Marmaduke, is in the neighborhood of Farmington, in St. Francois. Thus it appears that the army of invaders who, about a week ago last Thursday, crossed the Arkansas river at Dardanelle, have since then traversed the intervening region to near the head of the White Water river. It is regarded as certain that there had been no division of Price’s army, and that its operations are now wholly in the Southeast. That any considerable body of his troops have moved or are moving up in the Southwest is not believed. Confirmation is gained that his command consists almost wholly of cavalry, with a small proportion of infantry. He is also said to have about ten pieces of artillery, while Shelby and Marmaduke have four. Their total force is still estimated at from twelve to sixteen thousand, of which four or five thousand form the advance.

No attack has been made upon Cape Girardeau, though a reconnoitering force had moved down towards it.

As before remarked, the enemy, so far as heard from, had demonstrated but feebly, leaving his actual designs yet to be developed. Price is apparently engaged in massing his entire force in the Arcadia valley, with what ulterior object will shortly be learned.


Gen. Mower Following “Old Pap.”


The apprehension of many good citizens, and the foolish hopes of some traitors, may be removed, or at least diminished, by intelligence of a fact heretofore “contraband,” but which by this time must have made itself known to the enemy. That important fact is, that Price’s forces had scarcely reached the vicinity of Batesville, Arkansas, when a heavy body of national troops, consisting of cavalry, infantry and artillery, under General Joseph Mower, moved in two columns northward after Price’s rear, from Brownsville, which is on the line of the railroad between Little Rock and Duvall’s Bluff. Mower’s advance left Austin, some sixteen miles northeast of Brownsville, on the 25th inst., on which day Generals Steele and Mower were in consultation at the last named place. This formidable movement may soon result in skirmishing or a battle between Price and Mower, but it is believed that the latter would willingly permit the main body of his adversary to proceed a considerable distance into Missouri, or till his front should become engaged by the forces under General A. J. Smith.

Mower is understood to be acting under orders from General Steele, and the latter to be following instructions from General Canby. The pressure upon that General’s immediate department has been so far relieved by the fall of Atlanta, that he has, doubtless, found himself able to abundantly reinforce Steele and Little Rock and at Brownsville, enabling him to take care of the long threatened and at last actually progressing invasion of Missouri.

To the Red river reverse we are, doubtless, indebted for the magnitude of this incursion, but the success at Atlanta immensely counterbalances that disaster, and will, probably, involve the signal defeat of Price’s expedition to Missouri. Had Atlanta still defied Sherman’s efforts, or had his army been forced to retire, Steele would have been reduced to the defense, if not abandonment, of Little Rock, and the loyalists of Missouri would probably have now, almost unaided, to meet the invasion of a triumphant and superior force.

As the case stands, Missourians have now only to faithfully perform the duties at hand, responding cheerfully to the appeal of the Department commander, in order to ensure not only the safety of the State, but the utter discomfiture of her insolent invaders.