Letter from Booneville.
Our Boys in a Fight — 400 of our Men engage 800 Secesh — Rebel Camp taken — 200 Horses taken, and 40 Wagons — All their Tents, Clothing and Stores Burnt — 30 Secesh Killed — 20 taken Prisoners — Our Loss 3 Killed and 12 Wounded.
BOONEVILLE, Mo., Jan. 10, 1861.
EDITOR ARGUS — Sir: After having been silenced for three months by sickness, I take the first opportunity of using my pen to tell you of the fight across the river, in which our boys had a share. Nearly two weeks ago some 800 or 1000 cavalry arrived here, and we supposed them on their route to the N. R. R. They stopped several days, under the pretext of having their horses shod, but, as we have feared since, were disappointed in not getting orders as they expected — the messenger, Lieut. Dodge, of company I, now acting adjutant for the brigade, with all his escort, having been taken prisoners while coming here with orders for Col. Barnes.
After orders had been received, they were detained several days longer in crossing the river, by the heavy ice that was running. — The delay in crossing also caused the cavalry to separate, the greater part going forward. On Tuesday night, about 10 o'clock, a messenger came in, telling us that they were likely to be attacked by a superior force, and wanting reinforcements from this aide. — Twenty men were detailed from each of our own two companies, and also from the six companies of the Iowa 5th, now here. They marched 15 miles before daylight, and reached Fayette, the county seat of Howard county, in time to guard the cavalry camp while they met the enemy. There were some 500 or 600 of our men and about 800 of the enemy, who were in a heavy body of timber with an undergrowth so thick that our men were obliged to dismount and charge on foot. It required about one-third to hold the horses, while the rest went, thus making our force 400 against 800 secesh. They did the job neatly, however. The rebels ran like thunder, as the boys say, and left their camp, horses, wagons and everything in our possession. Unfortunately, however, we were obliged to burn the tents, clothing, wagons, provisions and everything, except 200 horses which were kept. The reason for the sacrifice was an expected attack, and to keep the enemy from regaining what they had lost, so, in case of a defeat on our side, they put the "traps" out of the way. Our loss was 3 killed and 12 wounded, three of whom have since died. The enemy lost some 30 killed and 20 taken prisoner.
Our boys are doing well. All they want to make them satisfied is plenty of such exercise. Yours truly, W. X. Y. Z.