Confederate Colonel Franklin S Robertson, a store owner in Saline County, Missouri was recruiting to fill out a Confederate regiment after being commissioned by Major General Sterling Prince. Union Brigadier General John Pope who was in command of the District of Central Missouri was set on quashing the Confederates working in Missouri and end southern recruiting.
Robertson rounded up his recruits and on December 16th 1861 took his 750 men and marched them south. They were going to meet up with other recruits near Warrensburg, Missouri. They were to join up with Price. Robertson and his men camped on December 18th 1861 near Milford, Missouri. Pope learning of the encampment moved to encircle them by sending Union Colonel Jefferson C Davis’ brigade to the Blackwater Bridge and the 2nd Missouri Cavalry around them to the northeast.
Finding himself surrounded on December 19th 1861, Robertson formed a line, and ordered his men to take the bridge before the Union troops could hold it. When fired on the new recruits holding the bridge fled. The 4th United States Cavalry, 2nd Missouri Cavalry and 1st Iowa Cavalry chased them into Robertson’s line, where the Confederates surrendered.