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Price Moves Against Fort Davidson

Confederate Major-General Sterling Price (Library of Congress) Although his orders from General Kirby Smith recommended rapid movements, Confederate Major-General Sterling Price did not want the Federal garrison at Pilot Knob in his rear. After consulting with his lieutenants, Price decided to break off his advance on St. Louis and move against the Federals at fort Davidson. [32]

"I received at Fredericktown satisfactory information that the strength of the enemy at Ironton was about 1,500 and that the Federal General A. J. Smith was encamped about ten miles from Saint Louis with his corps, composed of about 8,000 infantry, on the Saint Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad. I immediately issued orders to Brigadier-General Shelby to proceed at once with his division by the way of Farmington to a point on the Saint Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, where there were three fine bridges in close proximity to each other, and to destroy the railroad there and the bridges; after effecting that object to fall back in the direction of Ironton and Pilot Knob, which would effectually prevent General A. J. Smith from re-enforcing the garrison at those places, while I would attack and take them with the divisions of Major-Generals Fagan and Marmaduke."

Federal Brigadier-General Thomas Ewing, Jr. (National Archives) On September 26, 1864 from Pilot Knob, Federal Brigadier-General Thomas Ewing, Jr. sent the following telegram to Major-General Andrew J. Smith, who was 25 miles north in Mineral Point. [33]

"I am advised by Major Wilson, commanding at the front, that the rebels are massing a large force in his front in Arcadia Valley, two miles from here. There is no doubt that it is intended to attack here in large force. I think it advisable for you to send me a full regiment at once, as the fort is large enough to hold them efficiently in addition to the troops I have. Artillery enough in the fort and all inside."

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