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From Pilot Knob.


September 1864



The Advance of the Rebels from Below—Lively Skirmishing—The Capture of Patterson—A Big Scare at the Knob.

Editors Missouri Democrat:

PILOT KNOB, September 24.

We are having stirring times in Southeast Missouri, in the vicinity of Pilot Knob. In the last six days we have done a pretty large share of fighting, r[illegible]ing, marching and scaring. On the 20th of this month, Lieutenants Fuge and Brouner [sic-Brawner], of the 3d M. S. M., with Lieutenant McMurty [sic-McMurtry], of the 47th infantry Missouri volunteers, and about seventy men, drove the rebels from Doniphan, in Ripley county, and from their camp six miles south of Doniphan, after sharp skirmishing at the bridge and ford of Current River. On our return, when about twelve miles from Poplar Bluffs [sic], our camp was surrounded by about three or four hundred rebels, and after twice gallantly charging and driving back the enemy, we were compelled to charge through and over his lines to get away.

In this engagement we lost Lieutenant Brouner, of company K, 3d M. S. M., a gallant soldier and good officer; also ten men, either killed or captured. The rebels lost seventy killed, being thrown into great confusion on our last charge, many of them wearing our uniform and got mixed up us and fell by rebel lead.

On the 22d we got back to Patterson, and on the 23d at about ten o’clock A. M., the rebels under General Shelby attacked the place. They came in overwhelming force down the road from Ironton and marching south. The commander of the post (Captain McElroy) had no notice of their coming until they were in his camp, and his little squad, some seventy or eighty men all told, had to skedaddle, which they did in good style. Lieutenant McMurty, with about thirty-five wounded men up at the fort (an old broken down affair), seeing himself nearly surrounded and his comrades gone, had to stand not upon the order of his going, and left. The rebel having advanced close upon us, and delivering their fire, our squad had to scatter and take to the brush. Being well acquainted with the woods, it is the general belief that they all, or nearly all, escaped. Lieutenant McMurty, with eight men, got in, all safe, on the 24th. He reports that the rebels are swarming through the country south of this point, and bearing to the East.

Yesterday (Sunday) we had a big scare here. One of our patrols came upon an alarmed picket, who instantly fled at full speed with the word that the rebels were come. Instantly two big guns were led off, and everybody flew to arms and went into the trenches and the fort, except the cavalry, which was kept busily on the alert, running out first one road and then another, to ascertain the coming of the rebel force. But after a couple of hours of great expectancy it was all found to be a fizzle, and company after company were seen slowly and sullenly marching back to their quarters. If the rebels had made their appearance they would have met with a warm reception. Our little garrison manifested the best disposition for fight, and would have given a good account of themselves. Colonel Mawpin [sic-Maupin], of the 47th, and Major Wilson, of the 3d Missouri State Militia, seemed to be cool and collected, and were cheered by the boys wherever they went. We have had no mail for two days, and are anxiously looking for a train. Why they were stopped is more than I can say, but suppose there was good reason for it. We have no definite news from below to-day, except that Captain Powers reports about three thousand men under Marmaduke, camped on Cedar creek, thirty mile south of here, two nights ago, and that Shelby was passing out on all the little roads below this place, despoiling the country of crops, cattle, clothing and everything of value. From all that can be learned there seems to be no doubt that there is a large force—not less than eight or ten thousand rebels—close to this place. I hope that a few regiments of infantry may find their way down here, if they do the rebels will soon take the back track and hunt their [illegible]. Yours, &c.,