Fremont County, Iowa


THE SOUTHERN BORDER BRIGADE

During the war with the Southern Confederacy the entire range of counties on the Missouri line were in a state of feverish excitement or apprehension fearing invasion by armed bands from Missouri. Raids were made in the counties lying further to the eastward, resulting in the destruction of both life and property. There being no concerted action, the defense, if made at all, was a most weakly one, for most of the men of courage and veterans were at the front doing valiant service for their country.

To insure the better protection of the citizens along the border the general assembly, at the extra session, in 1862, directed the organization of the Southern Border brigade, the name of which is suggestive of its objects and the men who composed it. In pursuance of the act just referred to, enlistment books were opened and names began to be enrolled. The entire number of enlistments was 794, an average of 79.4 to each county.

During the progress of the war, and while the excitement ran highest, every stranger was regarded as a renegade or a spy, every company of two was made' the object of the most vigilant military espionage, and "suspicious characters" 'figured largely in contributing to the general excitement. That these "attention" were as often unjust and unwarranted as proper and correct will now be admitted, and in view of the anxiety and continued "scare" of very many reputable citizens, can be pardoned them.

There seems to have been no trouble in Fremont county until October 30, 1863, when Colonel E. H. Sears reported as follows to Adjutant-General Baker: I have to report to you that this day a party of men, five or six in number, passed through this county. From the suspicious appearance and conduct of these men, the provost-marshal of the county, (Van Eaton), thought it his duty to ascertain their real character. Calling to, his assistance Captain Hoyt, with fire or six of his men, he followed these men, who had taken the Nebraska City road across the Missouri bottom.

The marshal and his posse came upon them a few miles this side of the Missouri river. They immediately without passing a word, fired upon our men, killing the marshal immediately by a shot through the head, and wounding one other man.

Our men returned the fire, wounding one of the bushwhackers. They were armed with two revolvers each, and our men with but one; after using their last shot our men left the contest. The enemy also left in the direction of the Missouri river. I have directed Captain Hoyt to take a sufficient number of men and scour the Missouri bottom in this county in search of the bushwhackers and

[end of story]

Source: Unknown


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