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The Invasion: Desperate Fighting at Pilot Knob.


September 1864

From The Missouri Democrat, Wednesday, September 28, 1864.


Desperate Fighting at Pilot Knob.


Narrow Escape of R. R. Trains


Details of the Capture of Farmington.

Trains came in last night over the Iron Mountain railroad from Pilot Knob. Each of them left that place “in hot haste” to escape capture by the enemy. Two passenger trains and a freight or commissary train were standing on the side track near the station at the Knob, when a body of rebels was discovered approaching from the south. The trains in succession were quickly slipped to the main track and off, cheating the rebels, who fired after them but without inflicting serious harm. The freight train contained a considerable amount of commissary stores, and was probably the chief object of the rebels.

One of the passenger trains referred to contained two hundred and fifty soldiers, and was stopped by obstructions on the track in Cut No. 4T, near Mineral Point. As the soldiers got out to remove the obstructions they were fired upon, but chased the assailants, and are reported to have killed ten or twelve, wounded others, and taken one of the wounded a prisoner. The soldiers re-entered the train, which moved on unmolested.

Persons on the train describe the force attacking Pilot Knob as a large one, and aver that the post became surrounded and desperately assailed. An attack in force was in progress as early as eight P. M. of Monday, and continued, doubtless, for several hours. If it ceased during the night it was renewed yesterday morning, and raged, as we learn, with activity through the day.

Telegraphic communication with the Knob was cut on Monday, and had not been renewed up to a late hour last night. The statement published last evening that Pilot Knob had been evacuated, happily proves to have been erroneous. At Headquarters last night we were assured that there had been no change in the condition of affairs at Pilot Knob, though no direct communication had been had with General Ewing since Monday. It is understood that he is kept fully employed by the enemy, yet confidence is felt in his safety and success. Between St. Louis and Mineral Point the road is tranquil, but beyond the latter it is infested with small parties of skirmishers. The Missouri posts on the river remained unmolested.

The result of the fighting at Pilot Knob will probably be learned to-day.

The following, from Pilot Knob, came to hand last evening.

[Special Dispatch to the Missouri Democrat.]

PILOT KNOB, Sept. 26, 3 P. M.—The rebels in force are attacking this post. Our troops in the rifle pits are offering a stubborn resistance.

Major James Wilson, 3d Missouri cavalry, is wounded in the head. William Rector, company I, 3d cavalry, mortally wounded.