89 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT O.V.V.I.
The Methodist and Episcopal clergymen were also sent North as prisoners; they refused to take the oath of allegiance. It was thought that a sojourn in the North, which they had preached against with so much malignancy, would be good for them. One of our prisons would be a suitable place to correct their insanity, which had turned all their ideas of theology into rebellion. It is hoped they will return wiser and better men, and obtain some new stock ideas for sermons. The pastor of the Presbyterian Church took the oath of allegiance, and continued loyal to the end. He was therefore undisturbed in his administrations, and the soldiers gave him a well filled sanctuary every Sabbath.
On the morning of the 30th the peace and quiet of our camps were disturbed by the appearance of the enemy, who had been concentrating at Grand Junction preparatory to an attack upon the troops at Bolivar. The rebel force was commanded by Generals Price, Van Dorn and Armstrong. Some colored men, who have in all cases proved loyal, and friends to the Union army, came into camp, informing us that the rebels were in force and within five miles of Bolivar. General Leggett, in order to ascertain the truth of the matter, took the mule cavalry, which he had selected from the Seventy-Eighth and Twentieth Ohio, fifty in number, and had used them for scouting purposes; he also took companies E and C, of the Seventy-Eighth, and H and G, of the Twentieth Ohio, and started upon a reconnoisance. He had gone but a short distance beyond our picket lines till he met the enemy's advance. The mounted infantry dismounted and opened the fight; the rebels retreated slowly to their main force, our men vigorously following. Some of the Twentieth Ohio were killed, and several wounded of the Seventy-Eighth, Stopher, of Company H, severely. The two companies of the Seventy-Eighth deployed as skirmishers on the right of the road, the Twentieth on the left, and two companies of cavalry with the mounted infantry upon the road, but the mule cavalry, or mounted infantry, were afterwards sent to guard the flanks, and picket the road leading into the main thoroughfare to Bolivar. Here some of them were pursued by a large body of the enemy's cavalry, and came nearly being captured.
A messenger was dispatched to Bolivar for reinforcements; the Seventy-Eighth and Twentieth Ohio left with all possible dispatch, and hurried on the double-quick, but did not reach our advance in proper time for effective work. When the rebel skirmishers fell back to the main force, we had nothing but a thin skirmish line to oppose about four thousand men; they soon repulsed our cavalry, and a heavy column charged upon E and C, of the Seventy-Eighth, but the heavy vollies from the Enfields checked the advance, and twenty were unhorsed the first volley. A heavy fence intervened, and in their attempt to cross it repeatedly, from eight to twenty vollies were poured into them, which caused them to abandon the effort and retreat, but they moved round upon the flank of the left, and charged upon the two companies of the Twentieth Ohio, who were posted in an open field, and surrounded them, taking nearly all prisoners. The two companies of the Seventy-Eighth Ohio were nearly surrounded, but by the dexterity of Colonel Wiles, then Captain of Company C, were saved by wading a swamp and passing through cornfields, piloted by one of the faithful colored men who was acquainted with all the ravines and places of retreat between that and Bolivar.
Toward evening companies E and C, supposed by all to be taken prisoners, returned to camp and were received with many cheers; only one was missing, and he returned next morning. All that night he lay concealed, the rebels passing near and around him frequently; he could hear their conversation, being not
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