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190 > Page 190 of Confederate military history; a library of Confederate States history, written by distinguished men of the south, and edited by Gen. Clement A. Evans of Georgia ..

190 CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY. guns. Marmaduke, after getting out of Independence, took the rear and skirmished all day with Pleasanton, not yielding two miles of ground during the day. But just at night the enemy advanced in force and the fight was kept until after midnight, when Marmaduke crossed the Big Blue and his command bivouacked by the roadside and on the banks of the stream, without food or covering. General Price was now well in the trap. The Missouri river was on the north, the Kansas on the west, the Big Blue on the east, and it wound around so that he would have to recross it to get an outlet to the south. Besides, his movements were incumbered by an army of unorganized and worse than useless men, and an enormous wagon train which was always in the way. At daylight both Rosecrans and Curtis advanced, one from the east and the other from the west. Marmaduke was opposing Rosecrans and Shelby was opposing Curtis, while Fagan's division was between the two, guarding the train and preparing to help either Shelby or Marmaduke. The object was to get the train out. The bottom of the Big Blue was low on the north side and hilly on the south side. Gen. John McNeil was sent with a heavy force to take possession of the hills and prevent the crossing of the stream. McNeil was in no hurry to obey his orders. When his column made its appearance on the prairie, a couple of miles to the south and east of the crossing, Marmaduke was hotly engaged with Rosecrans, but he was ordered to send Clark's brigade at speed to anticipate McNeil and hold the heights. When Clark got there McNeil, instead of taking possession of the heights, had opened upon them with his artillery, half a mile away, and was shelling the woods in a lively manner. Cabell's brigade soon joined Clark's and an avenue for the train and the army was secured. McNeil did not attempt to interfere with the train as the wagons ascended the hill from the bottom and appeared on the open prairie.