IT WAS A MUCH DIFFERENT WAR IN WESTERN MISSOURI THAN BACK EASTBY Dan Miles, Clinton, MO. (Thank Dan for letting us repost your great story!)
In June, 1864, a Corporal in the First Missouri State Militia Cavalry Regiment was the focus of a great deal of attention. Those of you who have served in one of the branches of our armed services will agree that, often, being the object of attention in the military is generally not a good thing. Especially when there has been a disaster, you are a Corporal, and someone is going to be blamed. Union Army Captain John Wyckoff, Headquarters Detachment, First Missouri State Militia Cavalry Regiment, Holden, ordered to send regular patrols out in western Johnson County, on June 11, 1864, directed Captain Eags, Company M, to detail from his command 1 non-commissioned officer and 14 privates of his company for a scout from Holden to north of Kingsville. The scout, under the command of Corporal Joseph V. Parman, was ordered to return in the afternoon of June 12. One days rations were allocated to the scout. There were regular scouts in this area by various detachments of the regiment. On June 9 and 10, scouts from Company D of the same regiment to the general area made no discoveries and reports were dispatched to higher headquarters at that time. However, the situation in that general area, as was the case in so many instances, rapidly changed. In a report dated June 14, 1864, from Holden, Corporal Parman related he and his command of 14 cavalrymen moved from camp on Saturday, June 11, at 9 a.m., and proceeded west along the north side of the railroad line. Some 15 miles were traversed. The scout then turned in a southeast direction, and rode to a point near the railroad some 3 miles west of Kingsville. Parman noted most of the distance covered was in the brush. The cavalrymen found little sign of guerrillas. They did locate one trail, which they tracked, until the enemy separated into several parties. The scout camped for the night near a Mrs. Longacres about one-half of a mile north of the railroad line.
On the morning of June 12, Corporal Parman and his command saddled-up and rode in a northeast direction from where they had bivouacked. They had only traveled a short distance when, to his understandable alarm, he discovered a large body of cavalry ominously in his rear, some 50 or 75 yards. On the discovery of the enemy, Corporal Parman reported he formed his command into line and challenged the advancing party. The enemy increased their speed. It was at this point, he ordered his command to open fire on the enemy. By this time, the small detachment was surrounded by the enemy, whooping and hollering, galloping furiously in a circle and firing at the Union Army cavalrymen. Several of his men had already been killed and Corporal Parman, engaging one of the enemy and firing at him twice, said he found himself suddenly presented an opening in the melee. He said he rode towards the site of their overnight camp with all speed possible and evaded the guerrillas. In his report, he stated the enemy, he felt, had been informed of his position and strength as he was flanked on the right and left shortly before the skirmish before the enemy showed himself at his rear. The attacking party, he believed, was not less than 40 strong, and was probably in the neighborhood of 80 to 100. Corporal Parman said the enemy were commanded by a Colonel Yeager of the Confederate Army and he was assisted by Captain Bill Anderson, captain of a guerrilla band. Citizens in the area stated Col. Yeager had told them he asked no quarter and would give none. Of the 14 Union Army cavalrymen, 12 were killed with only 2 escaping. The 12 Union Army cavalrymen, after being killed, were stripped of their clothing and everything valuable was taken from their persons. One man was scalped after they killed him and stripped of his clothes. It had been determined the enemy marched north after the engagement.
Union Captain John Wyckoff, in a report, said he and a command of 50 cavalrymen, upon learning of the disaster, followed and crossed the trail of the enemy attackers and had determined they came from the north and departed back to the north. The attack occurred around 8 miles from Holden. Corporal Parman reached Kingsville where a Sergeant Triplett, from his regiment, had 11 cavalrymen. As different elements of the regiment arrived with varying numbers of cavalrymen, it was learned the enemy had approached Kingsville in force. With the information gained from Corporal Parman, the 11 cavalrymen of Sergeant Triplett occupied buildings in Kingsville and the enemy, apparently unsure of their numbers, bypassed Kingsville. At the site of the massacre, Capt. Wyckoff stated he and his command found cavalrymen from the regiment strewn along for about one-half of a mile. There were 5 men dead on the ground where they had formed their line. Others were near the brush and in the brush in front of them. The enemy had set up an ambush there. Capt. Wyckoff said it was his opinion, from the fact of the men being shot in the eyes, some 4 of the cavalrymen had surrendered and were afterward shot, stripped of everything valuable, and a Private Ireland scalped.
The railroad line was being constructed through Johnson County at that point. Captain Wyckoff ordered a number of carts from Section 114 of the Pacific Railroad Company nearby to convey the dead to camp in Holden. The carts were promptly furnished, the dead of the regiment gathered, and sent to Holden, under Lieutenant Cobb, with orders to give them the best burial possible.
Various scouts were called in by Captain Wyckoff. He then assembled 58 enlisted of his company and 18 enlisted of Company M with two officers, and from the site of the massacre rode their horses in a southerly direction. After some 2 miles, they encountered a sizeable trail of around 80 to 100 enemy cavalry. It was ascertained this was the trail to the site of the massacre. Captain Wyckoff turned his command north and went a bit to the east about 5 miles, where they struck the trail of the enemy going in the direction of Chapel Hill. They continued to follow the trail, which became fainter and fainter, and it was apparent the enemy command was creatively breaking into small parties and scattering to the west. There was a brief encounter with some of the enemy, with 1 believed to have been wounded. The general direction was a bit to the north of Lone Jack. The Second Colorado Cavalry Regiment at this point had dispatched 40 of their troopers to assist after the two forces encountered one another. They continued their search until nightfall. The entire command was only 3 miles from Pleasant Hill at that point. Arriving at Pleasant Hill, the Second Colorado Cavalry Regiment headquartered there, provided food and forage. On June 13, the command departed Pleasant Hill and encountered some guerrillas about 5 miles south of Lone Jack. As was often the case with home grown guerrillas who knew the topography of Western Missouri, the search came to a conclusion shortly thereafter with the entire command returning to Holden. And what happened to Corporal Parman? He continued to serve in the regiment and kept his rank.
*** Have a great day. Thank you for your continued loyalty and support. Your friend, Danny.