THE BATTLE UNDER THE WAVES

The original townsite of Linn Creek is now under forty feet of water in Linn Creek Cove, directly opposite the mouth of Possum Fork Cove. It was the site of a Civil War skirmish on October 14, 1861. While there were other skirmishes in the lake area, the affair at old Linn Creek is the only battle site to be flooded by the lake.

What follows is the edited report of Major Clark Wright, who commanded some 200 Union cavalrymen known as the Fremont Battalion. He uses the word "secesh" in his report; it was a slang term for secessionist, or Confederate.

"On our arrival at Alexander Berry's, five miles southeast of [Linn Creek], I there learned that there were was no doubt but Linn Creek was occupied with rebel forces, and rumor said 200, who had arrived the day before. I at once resolved to strike them with all available force I had....

"I immediately sent forward two scouts in citizens' dress to get into the town, make observation, and report to me one mile out before I arrived.

"Arriving at the point to meet the scouts, I called a halt. Their not returning led me to suppose they were detained. I soon learned, however, from a lady just from the town, that there was a company of secesh rebels, commanded by the notorious Bill Roberts, then in town....

"I at once made preliminaries, and ordered a double-quick march, with instructions to arrest the whole camp and all the men in town. We arrived at 1 o'clock, and at once surrounded the whole thing, and demanded an unconditional surrrender. The notorious captain and a few of his followers, as well as his wife, broke from some of the buildings, fired on my troops, and attempted to escape. I promptly ordered them fired on, which was promptly executed. Some fifty random shots were fired, but owing to the fences, buildings, and other means of cover, none were killed, and but one slightly wounded on the rebel side.

"The scene was a wild one. The activity of the cavalry in guarding the avenues of the place, arresting the citizens, and the rebels running to and fro; the screams of secesh wives, daughters, and children; the firing from both sides echoing back from the bluffs on either side, made the whole thing look somewhat frantic. However, at the end of thirty minutes we had the town restored to its usual quiet and the secesh under guard.

"The result of our descent was as follows: prisoners, 37; horses, 5; mules, 2; guns, 26; holster pistols, 2; 1 keg powder; 1/2 bushel of bullets; as well as the peaceable possession of the town."

© 2000-2001 by Michael Gillespie. All rights reserved.