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A Challenge
QUANTRELL with his band of sixty-three men were being followed by a force of seven hundred cavalrymen under Peabody. Peabody came up in the advance with three hundred men, while four hundred marched at a supporting distance behind him. Quantrell halted at Swearington’s barn and the Guerrillas were drying their blankets. One picket, Hick George, an iron man, who could sleep in his saddle and eat as he ran and who suspected every act until he could fathom it, watched the rear against an attack. Peabody received George’s fire, for George would fire at an angel or devil in the line of his duty, and drove him toward Quantrell at a full run. Every preparation possible under the circumstances had been made and if the reception was not as cordial as expected, the Federals could attribute it to the long march and the rainy weather.
Quantrell stood at the gate calmly with his hand on the latch; when George entered he would close and fasten it. Peabody’s forces were within thirty feet of the fence when the Guerrillas delivered a crashing blow and sixteen Federals crashed against the barricade and fell there. Others fell and more dropped out here and there before the disorganized mass got back safe again from the deadly revolver range. After them Quantrell himself dashed hotly, George Maddox,73 Jarrette, Cole Younger, George Morrow, Gregg, Blunt, Poole and Haller following them fast to the timber and upon their return gathering all the arms and ammunition of the killed as they went. At the timber Peabody rearranged his lines, dismounted his men and came forward again at a quick run, yelling. Do what he would, the charge spent itself before it could be called a charge.
Peabody arranged his men, dismounted them, and came forward again at a double-quick, and yelling. Do what he would, the charge again spent itself before it could be called a charge. Never nearer than one hundred yards of the fence, he skirmished at long range for nearly an hour and finally took up a position one mile south of the barn, awaiting reinforcements. Quantrell sent out Cole Younger, Poole, John Brinker and William Haller to “lay up close to Peabody,” as he expressed it, and keep him and his movements steadily in view.
The four daredevils multiplie............
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