Union Major General John C Fremont made plans to push Confederate Major General Sterling Price’s troops out of Missouri and take the fight on south. Fremont left St Louis, Missouri on October 7th 1861 with about 20,000 troops. He also had a cavalry force of about 5,000 under Major Charles Zagonyi. The cavalry was to ride in the front and scout for Fremont.
As the Union troops neared Springfield, Missouri, Confederate state guard commander Colonel Julian Frazier called for more soldiers. Fremont stopped about 50 miles from Springfield on the Pomme De Terre River, but Zagonyi’s cavalry continued onto Springfield. Frazier used his roughly 1,300 men to set up a trap on the road the Union cavalry was traveling to Springfield on. Instead of ambushing Zagonyi’s horse soldiers, the Union troopers charged the Confederates. Frazier’s men were routed.
Zagonyi continued into town, were the released Union prisoners. Fearing a counterattack of Frazier’s Confederates, Zagonyi left Springfield before night fall.