Monday, September 19, 2011

September 20, 1861 (Saturday): Price Takes A Mulligan

Colonel James A. Mulligan
SAINT LOUIS, September 20, 1861.

General JAMES H. LANE:
SIR: It is reported that Lexington is surrounded by an overwhelming rebel force of 16,000, and that our re-enforcements from Utica and Liberty, under command of Brigadier-General Sturgis, are opposite Lexington, and prevented from crossing the river by two rebel batteries. To assist Colonel Mulligan and his brave little band of 2,000, you will harass the enemy as much as possible by sudden attacks upon his flank and rear.
Should Acting Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis not succeed in effecting a junction with Colonel Mulligan at Lexington he will retreat, and take such a position as haw own strength and the movements and force of the enemy may render advisable. In case the whole rebel force is concentrated around Lexington, he will probably retreat to Davis' Creek, or at farthest ot Dunksburg, at eighter of which places a junction with your forces may be effected. Should the rebels hold Warrensburg with a larger force than that of Acting Brigadier-General Davis, or should he ascertain that McCulloch is also operating towards Lexington, he will take position at Georgetown or Sedalia. You will keep me constantly informed of your own movements and those of the enemy.

Major-General, Commanding.

Official Records, Series I., Vol 3., Page 181

Outnumbered two to one, Mulligan's men were surrounded at Lexington, Missouri by 7,000 troops under Sterling Price.  Moving forward under the cover of large bales of hemp found in a nearby warehouse, Price's men compelled he surrender of Mulligan's force (which was without water or supplies) at 2 p.m.    Fremont's failure to move to Mulligan's aid until too late to have effect added to a list of concerns regarding his leadership ability.

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