|A Civil War Wagon Train|
November 18, 1861 near Warrensburg, Missouri - On November 18, a Union wagon train was travelling near Warrensburg. A group of Confederates spotted the wagon train and attacked it. They quickly captured the train and stole whatever they could carry. After this, they quickly left the area.
Report of Maj. L. C. Easton, Quartermaster, U. S. Army.
OFFICE OF THE DEPOT QUARTERMASTER,
Fort Leavenworth, November 29, 1861.
GENERAL : Since writing you. on the 19th instant, the wagon-masters of trains Nos. 1 and 2 started from this place to Sedalia, by direction of General Fremont, have returned to this place, and report that on the 16th of November, while en route from Fort Leavenworth to Sedalia, and within 25 miles of the latter place, having received information that the trains Nos. 1 and 2 were about being attacked, J. W. Price, wagonmaster of train No. 2, dispatched an express to the commanding officer at Sedalia, asking him for protection. On the 17th November he received an order from General Sturgis to return to Fort Leavenworth, which order we immediately obeyed, and on the night of the 18th November, near Warrensburg, Mo., while on our return to Fort Leavenworth, the trains Nos. 1 and 2 were attacked and captured by an armed party of rebels. No protection was sent us from Sedalia, and no protection was given the trains on the route by Colonel Jennison's regiment. Colonel Jennison's regiment, as I reported to you in my letter of the 19th instant, was detailed to escort these trains to Sedalia.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. C. EASTON,
Major and Quartermaster.
General M. C. MEIGS,
Q. M. G. U. S. Army, Washington, D. C
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF CENTRAL MISSOURI,
Jefferson City, Mo., March 26, 1862.
CAPTAIN : I have the honor to state for the information of the major general commanding that I have just received official intelligence to the effect that on the evening of the 19th instant Capt. Thomas W. Houts, Missouri State Militia, commanding post at Warrensburg, Johnson County, having received information of the whereabouts of concealed powder, sent 15 men, under Lieut. A. W. Christian, to bring in the same to Warrensburg. The detachment was entirely successful, finding 125 kegs of powder (a portion of it damaged) buried in different places on the plantation of Mrs. Sarah B. Brinker, near Warrensburg. On the evening of the 22nd instant Captain Houts, Missouri State Militia, also sent 20 men, under Lieut. J. M. Jewell, to arrest several armed men who were supposed to be concealed in the house of Mrs. Burgess, about 10 miles southwest of Warrensburg. Lieutenant Jewell proceeded to the house and silently surrounded it. A woman, assuring him that there were no men in the house, opened the door. Instantly the rebels, 4 in number, sprang out, firing upon our men, who promptly returned the fire. It is thought that 1 of the party escaped unhurt. The other 3 were killed on the spot. Our loss was 1 killed and 1 badly wounded. The house was burned to the ground.
I am, captain, your obedient servant,
Brigadier- General, Commanding District.
Capt. N. H. MCLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant- General, Saint Louis, Mo.
Report of Maj. Emory S. Foster, Missouri Cavalry, Militia.
HEADQUARTERS RECRUITING STATION M. S. M.,
Warrensburg, March 28, 1862.
GENERAL : I have the honor to report the following movements, which resulted in an attack upon a large guerrilla force, under the notorious Mat. Houx, and the total defeat of the same:
On the morning of the 25th [26th] instant I received information that a; small party of rebels were hiding at the house of one Hunter, 3 miles south of this place. I immediately started with 10 men belonging to Captain Houts company to capture them. After proceeding about 1 mile in the direction above indicated a reliable citizen informed me that there were about 25 or 30 rebels near Hunter s house. I sent a messenger to Captain Houts for re-enforcements, and in a short time Lieutenant Jewell came up with 10 men. I proceeded cautiously to Hunter s with out getting sight of the enemy ; however, when there, his pickets were discovered about a mile north of us. 1 immediately moved toward them, they disappearing over a hill. When I reached the hill where the pickets were last seen I discovered half a mile ahead of us about 85 horsemen drawn up in line awaiting our approach. I halted to reconnoiter their position and strength. The enemy, being emboldened by our seeming hesitancy, charged precipitately down the hill towards us.
I am. general, your obedient servant, EMORY S. FOSTER,
Major, Recruiting Mo. S. M.,Warrensburg, Mo.
Brig. Gen. JAMES TOTTEN,
Commanding District Central Missouri.
Jefferson City, Mo., April 6, 1862.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report for the information of the major-general commanding that I have received information from Col. Fitz Henry Warren, at Clinton, of the return of two scouting detachments, bringing 15 prisoners; several of them bad. The very wet weather had rendered it impossible to move in any direction. 1 have also the honor to report the particulars of an engagement on the 25th [26th] ultimo, mention of which was made in my telegram to the major general commanding of the 27th ultimo, between Major Foster, M. S. M., and a gang of rebels under the notorious Mat. Houx, who is now reported among the killed.
The engagement was sharp and bloody for about ten minutes, when the enemy broke in confusion. Then a charge was made by the mounted reserve of militia, which utterly routed the flying enemy, who made no attempt to rally his scattered forces. A large number of guns, blankets, coats, hats, etc., were found upon the field, together with 7 horses and equipments.
Our loss in this engagement was 9 wounded, 2 of them mortally, and have since died. The enemy had 5 killed, among them their chief, Mat. Houx, and a number wounded. The men are said to have fought on our side with a desperate determination to be looked for in veterans rather than raw, undisciplined militia.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier- General, Commanding District.
Capt. K. H. McLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant- General.
Hdqrs. Third Sub-Dist., Central Dist. of Missouri, Sedalia, August 28, 1863.
General : I have the honor to report that the scout sent to Johnson County on the 25th instant, under command of Captain R. L. Ferguson. Company B, Seventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry, returned last night, having traveled 120 miles. Captain Ferguson reports that, on the evening of the 26th, he came upon a body of 30 rebels at the head of Clear Fork, in Johnson County, and attacked them immediately, killing 3 and wounding several severely. The rebels fled precipitately, and were pursued by Lieut. G.W. McGuire, of same company, with a small detachment, some 5 or 6 miles. The conduct of this officer deserves the highest commendation. He pressed closely upon the rear of the enemy, and having 22 shots, fired them all, killing 3 of the enemy and wounding 2 or 3, including the leader of the band. He was often far ahead of his soldiers, and, though receiving two shots from pistols and one from a shot-gun
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JNO. F. PHILIPS,
Colonel Seventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
General E. B. Brown,
Comdg. Central District of Missouri, Jefferson City, Mo.
[From the Lexington Union of August 28,1863] Editor Lexington Union At ten o'clock on the 20th information was received at "Warrensburg (Mo.),by Lieutenant Col. B. F. Lazear, First Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, commanding at that post, that the notorious Quantrill, with two hundred mid fifty men, had passed twelve miles north of that place on the day before, going west. Colonel Lazear immediately dispatched messengers to Lexington and Harrisonville, asking that all the force which could be spared from those stations, be sent to meet him at Chapel Hill at daylight the next morning for the purpose of pursuing the rebel force. At one o'clock on the morning of the 'Jist he left Warrensburg with one hundred men of companies C, I. and K. of the First Cavalry Missouri State Militia, and proceeded to the rendezvous near Chapel Hill, where he was joined by Major Mullins with one hundred and thirty men of companies B, F, (i y and H. nil of the same regiment. The forces delayed here until late in the afternoon, waiting for the detachment from Lexington, when Colonel Neill. of the Fifth Provisional Regiment E. M. If., with fifty of his men, came up, and the whole* force pushed rapidly on, determined, if possible, to overtake the rebel band. Our men bivouacked at Lone .Jack that night, and proceeded on the morning of the 22d, on the rebels' trail us fur as Big creek, when, on leaving the brush skirting that stream, the advance discovered a body Oi men some half mile ahead. The whole force is immediately ordered up, and parties sent out to ascertain their character ; it was soon discovered that they were bushwhackers, and also that they were forming in line of battle being in a very advantageous position on a high prairie ridge, behind a fence. Colonel Lazear immediately dismounted one company to take the advance ID the attack; but the rebels broke before the firing commenced, and a chase of about three-quarters of a mile ensued, when they again formed in line on another ridge, and seemed determined to fight. Our men came up rapidly, and several rounds were exchanged with them, when they again fled and sought the shelter of their favorite element, the brush. Five of their number were killed in this attack, and I learned afterward that several were wounded, though they escaped. Several of their horses were also killed, and some captured. The rebels having just returned from their successful raid into Kansas, were loaded with every description of plunder which could be carried on horseback, and the ground over which they fled was strewn with the proceeds of their hellish enterprise. It has been ascertained that we were dealing with the veritable Quantrill himself, and that his force amounted to about 280 men. The rebels having scattered considerably, Colonel Lazear now divided his force for further operations, and in a short time Captain Peery, in command of one detachment, came upon a portion of the enemy in the brash, and a sharp skirmish followed, in which five more of the rebels were killed, night now coming on, every precaution was taken to prevent Quantrell from passing east, but in this we failed, though several of his squads were fired en in the night, and one rebel was killed. On the morning of the 23rd the rebels seemed to have " got out of the wilderness," as we scouted the brush of Big creek diligently, but found no one. On the 24th, our force having again united, we marched from Pleasant Hill to Lone Jack, and on to the head of Texas Prairie, where we again „ found " signs," in the shape of one of their camps. It contained nothing, however, but a keg of powder and some corn, which was destroyed. On the 25th the command was again divided into small parties and scouted the country extensively for two days, killing three more of the rebels and wounding several, also capturing several horses and some prisoners, who were unarmed ; among these was a Miss Rosa Hutchins of Lexington, who was found standing picket for a party of the knights of the brush, while they were at dinner. Many instances of daring bravery might be cited, illustrative of the sanguinary nature of the struggle now raging in this section, between the loyal troops and the rebel bandits, but I will mention but one in connection with this scout: Corporal Andrew J. Fuller, of Company I, First Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, while scouting in the brash with a party of his comrades, found himself the object of attack by a concealed rebel. Dismounting in order to have an equal chance with him, young Fuller commenced a search when the two came suddenly upon each other. Fuller having but one load in his revolver, fired first, but finding his shot had not been effective, he sprang upon his adversary and seized his weapon in time to avert the rebel's aim, the pistol firing in his grasp a struggle for life then ensued between them, which lasted several minutes and ended in Fuller's beating the rebel's brains out with the butt of his revolver.
Our casualties during the entire scout amounted to one killed and one wounded. Private Robert C. Keys, of Company X, was killed— five of the rebel bullets entering bis body. Private Joshua Stevens, of Company I, was wounded. We arrived in Lexington on the evening of the 2Gth, and will remain one day for the purpose of having our horses shod, when Colonel Lazear, with the boys of the First Cavalry, will take the field again for further operations against the bushwhackers.
Mr. Editor, bushwhackers on the south side of the Missouri river, are undoubtedly numerous, and the tenacity with which they pursue their career of murder and plunder, furnishes ample evidence that the most determined and vigorous efforts of the military will be required to rid the country of them. They are waging a war of unparalleled ferocity against Union men wherever they find them, whether in civil life or in the military, and I am convinced their own tactics must be resorted to on cur side before their operations will cease, and peace again reign in our borders. M. S. M.
Other Wagon train and Railroad Incidents in Missouri
Attack at Goslin's Lane
Missouri Civil War Heritage Foundation sign at 8536 Missouri J, Rocheport, Boone MO 65279
A Union wagon train was surprised here Sept. 23, 1864, by about 100 Missouri guerrillas led by, among others, "Bloody Bill" Anderson. The Southerners looted and burned the wagons and captured 12 Union troops, who were executed with three black teamsters. Union forces caught up with some of the guerrillas that night, killing several. Scalps from the Union soldiers killed during the raid were found on the guerrilla's horses and, evidence suggests, the Union troops retaliated by scalping the guerrilla dead. Anderson then moved on to Centralia where he struck four days later.
On Sept. 27, 1864, Confederate guerrillas under “Bloody Bill” Anderson rode into Centralia with the intention of robbing a train on the North Missouri Railroad. After terrorizing the town and robbing a stagecoach, the raiders stopped a passenger train, robbed it and shot and killed 22 unarmed Union soldiers and a civilian on the train. Armed Union soldiers arrived shortly after and took off after the guerrilla band. They rode into a trap. The guerrillas ambushed the small Union force, ending up killing 120 more Federal soldiers. Frank James rode with Anderson that day. He probably was joined by his brother, Jesse, and Cole Younger.
A monument and marker commemorating both the battle and massacre is located in City Park.
An animated map and two good websites help explain this incident.