BATTLE OF WESTPORT
Old Price Defeated.
He Is Fleeing South.
In our Saturday's edition we gave an account of the fighting on Friday, during which day our forces fell back from Little Blue to Big Blue.
On Saturday the enemy succeeded in forcing a passage across Big Blue at the Upper Fords, greatly outnumbering our forces and driving Moonlight and Jennison back to Westport. Our loss was considerable in this day's operations, the Kansas Militia suffering a loss of from 100 to 150 killed, wounded and prisoners. Gen. Curtis, on Saturday afternoon, moved his headquarters from Big Blue to this city, and Saturday night the whole army was concentrated about this point, the advance being at Westport.
The enemy was encamped about three miles beyond Westport, on the Fort Scott road. Price, from all accounts, was himself in command. They were confident of being in Kansas City by Sunday night. Many former residents of Kansas City was among them, desirous of wreaking vengeance on their former friends and neighbors. Early yesterday morning the battle commenced, the enemy greatly outnumbering our advance, and extending his line west nearly to Shawnee Mission and crowding down in front into the timber South of Westport. Cols. Ford, Jennison and Moonlight were soon hotly engaged. Moonlight held the extreme right, to prevent the enemy's outflanking us. Gen. Curtis soon ordered the militia up and the boys went in with a will. The 19th Kansas militia were dismounted and sent to the front, also the Miami county boys, and did excellent service in checking the rebel advance. The infantry were ordered up, and formed a line on the bank of Brush Creek, South of Westport. Our batteries were playing lively on the enemy and there was rapid firing along the line.
The enemy were gradually forced back from the timber into the open ground and fields along the Fort Scott road near the Wornal place. Here they made a strong stand making temporary breastworks of rails and firing from the stone walls and cornfields. But our fire was too hot for them and a ringing cheer along our lines told that the enemy was being forced back. This was about 11 o'clock, and for the last hour and more cannon firing off from the extreme left, had told of the approach of Pleasanton's forces from the East. They now emerged in strong lines along the prairie, a short distance beyond the forks of the Fort Scott and Harrisonville roads, and charged upon the enemy's flank while our boys charged down on the front, putting them to complete rout.
The artillery and cavalry pushed on as rapidly as possible, shelling the rebels from every eminence and keeping up the pursuit till dark.
The battle field exhibited evidence of the fierce contest. The enemy had fled in such haste that he had been forced to leave his dead, and many of his severely wounded. In the field next to the lane, on this side of Wornal's house, there were seven dead rebels lying side by side, and near them an officer, said to have been Col. McGee; around the latter the rebels had built a little pen of rails. A little further on were the remains of a rebel cannon, broken to pieces by a shot from one of our guns.
The open prairie beyond Wornal's, the evidence of the fight were visible all about -- dead bodies, saddles, blankets, broken guns and dead rebels. A distance from the forks of the road, on the Harrisonville road, lay a dead rebel, the top of his head shot off by a cannon ball. He was the very image of a bushwhacker, and had on three pairs of falcons. On one of his fingers was a large gold ring. One of our soldiers tried to take it off, but the finger was so swollen that it would not come off, and he left it and passed on. Another dead rebel, we saw on this part of the field, was clothed in a fine new suit of clothes, evidently the plunder of some store or house. On the prairie our shells seemed to have done the main execution. About three miles out was a rebel shot through the bowels and left by his companions by the roadside to die. At a house by the road, was one shot through the neck -- a mortal wound. Early in the day, the rebels took possession of Mr. Wornal's house for a hospital. Here they left about a dozen too severely wounded to be moved, and three soldiers to take care of them. We interrogated some of these men, and they were all members of Dobbins' Brigade of Arkansas troops. With one exception, of those we conversed with, they claimed to have been forced into service.; one, a boy of 18, said he volunteered rather than be conscripted. The most of those wounded will die, being shot through the body. The less severely wounded were removed last night to Westport, and are receiving the same attentions as our wounded.
Quite a haul of prisoners was made during the day. Some forty or fifty of them were marshaled in line, just at night, as we came through Westport, and started off under guard at this place. Many of them were mere boys, from sixteen to nineteen years old. Some of them had a bushwhacker look, while some of them looked like "good quiet farmers," who had lately joined the expedition for plunder. One remarked that they "had got the joke on Old Pap this time, as they would surely beat him into Kansas City." Another replied that "he wished Old Pap was along with them."
One thing was to be remarked of all the rebels we saw -- dead or alive --the solid, ignorant, degraded appearance of the whole of them. They seem to belong to a different race from ours, and most certainly an inferior one. In truth, this war is one of intelligence, enlightened, and Christian civilization against barbarism. These miserable, degraded, hungry wretches, on their errand of plunder and devastation to our peaceful homes, are fit representatives of the half civilized power that is endeavoring to overthrow Republican institutions on this continent.
We would have lost the homes of this hated city, had these wretches made good their entrance here. That they did not, we owe under the good Providence of God, to the brave Kansas boys who helped us beat the invaders back. We should certainly have been overpowered, had they not crossed the line and helped fight their own as well as our battle on Missouri soil.
The Enemy in Full Retreat and
Our Boys After Them.
Our Boys After Them.
A courier just in from Gen Pleasantoni reports that the officer attacked the rebels again early this morning. They fled at the first fire and are already thirty miles from Westport. Our forces are in hot pursuit. It is thought that the main body of Price's troops, with his immense train moved in that direction before yesterday and that it was an outside column with which our forces fought yesterday.
A COUPLE OF PAROLLED PRISONERS. -- We mentioned in Saturday's paper the capture of Sam Fry and Jerry ????? by the rebels. They have since been parolled by Price. We learn from them that they were captured by the notorious Todd. Price, it seems, had given strict orders against the killing of prisoners, and Todd to show that he was obeying these orders, took these two men to Price. He questioned them sometime and dismissed them under care of the Provost Guard.
The boys soon fell in with McLane of Kansas notoriety, -- "Candlebox" McLane -- who having known them in the old Kansas times secured their parole. They were prisoners during the fight of the Little Blue and say that Geo. Todd was killed at that fight, beyond any doubt. They heard the fact repeatedly mentioned in the rebel camp. Price said of Todd that he was a brave man but a "great scoundrel." The rebels robbed Jerry and Sam of all they had.