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March 3, 2017

November 18, 1861 Union Wagon Train Captured Near Warrensburg, Missouri, Fighting South of Town

Wagon Train
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.

Capture of a Wagon Train Near Warrensburg
NOVEMBER 18, 1861. Capture of a wagon train near Warrensburg, Mo.
Report of Maj. L. C. Easton, Quartermaster, U. S. Army.
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,
Major and Quartermaster.
General M. C. MEIGS,
Q. M. G. U. S. Army, Washington, D. C

MARCH 19-23, 1862. Operations in Johnson County, Mo..
Report of Brig. Gen. James Totten, U. S. Army.
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.
On the morning of the 23rd an attempt to arrest a desperate character met with resistance, when he was shot dead. On the evening of that day, the 23d. an attempt was made by incendiaries to fire the town of Warrensburg, but by prompt action on the part of Captain Houts and his command the design was frustrated. Two frame buildings only were destroyed. Captain Houts adds that Johnson County is infested by a gang of marauders and murderers who are a terror to the loyal citizens, but they will receive prompt attention. All three of the officers mentioned in this report merit the highest commendation for the promptness, energy, and zeal exercised in these affairs, and Lieut. J. M. Jewell, Missouri State Militia, and his party deserve especial notice.
I am, captain, your obedient servant,
Brigadier- General, Commanding District.
Capt. N. H. MCLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant- General, Saint Louis, Mo.

No. 2.
Report of Maj. Emory S. Foster, Missouri Cavalry, Militia.
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.
Instantly I dismounted the men and prepared to receive them. They came within 400 yards, halted, wavered, and breaking quickly to the right, disappeared in a clump of trees about 300 yards from my left. I mounted my men and disappeared quickly over the hill to the rear, and being concealed by the hill and brush turned his right, and in a moment was dismounted 300 yards from the enemy, and charging double-quick on his rear the rebels broke in confusion. We found here coats, blankets etc. All this without the firing of a gun, the enemy retreating rapidly to the west. I followed him to the crossing of the East Fork of Post Oak Creek, 2 miles from Warrensburg. 
In the mean time, having sent back to town for reenforcements and they not coming, I went there immediately, and found Captain Mel. Foster, with 20 men, ready to march. I proceeded immediately to the crossing on Post Oak, and found on examination that the rebels had left the road and gone through the brush. Following his trail about 4 miles, I came suddenly upon him on the east bank of West Post Oak. His pickets, being posted on a hill to my right, were cut off. The enemy retreated in confusion across the ford, and hastily took his position on the opposite bank, protected by log and rail pens and almost entirely concealed by heavy underbrush. Dismounting the men, I detailed 8 men to remain in the rear and guard against surprise in that quarter, left 8 to hold horses, with instruction to hitch them immediately and report to the first sergeant, Samuel Rains, who had charge of the rear guard, or mounted reserve, and with the remainder, 24, moved upon the enemy. From the nature of the ground I was forced to take a position almost entirely unprotected, and in short shot-gun range from the enemy.
We opened a brisk fire, which was vigorously returned by the enemy. A sharp and bloody fight was kept up for about ten minutes, when the enemy broke in confusion; then the clear notes of the bugle., sounding the charge, and the impatient reserves swept by in pursuit of the flying rebels. The almost impenetrable brush into which they fled alone prevented a terrible carnage. As it was, the enemy was totally routed and made no attempt to rally their scattered forces. We found on the field a large number of guns, blankets, coats, hats, together with 7 horses and equipments. Our loss is 9 wounded, 2 mortally, who have since died. The enemy report their loss 5 killed, among them their chief, Mat. Houx, and a number badly wounded.
Enough cannot be said in commendation of the raw, undisciplined militia, both officers and men, which I had the honor of commanding in this sanguinary affair. The men fought with a desperate determination to be looked for in none but veterans. Lieut. John M. Jewell although mortally wounded in the first of the engagement, never deserted his post. Capt. Mel. Foster, shot through the left breast, stood at the head of his men, cheering and encouraging them, until the field was ours. Sergeant Rains contributed much to our complete success by the promptness with which he brought up the reserve. I returned to town the same evening.
I am. general, your obedient servant, EMORY S. FOSTER,
Major, Recruiting Mo. S. M.,Warrensburg, Mo.
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. 
On the morning of the 26th of March, upon hearing of a small party of rebels at a house 3 miles south of Warrensburg, Major Foster moved with 10 men with a design of capturing them. Proceeding 1 mile, he was reliably informed that the party numbered 25 or 30. Sending back to Captain Houts for re-enforcements, he was soon joined by Lieutenant Jewell and 10 more men, and he then moved forward to Hunter's (the house indicated) without getting a glimpse of the rebels. While there, however, the enemy was discovered in his rear 1 mile north. He at once moved towards them, and upon reaching a hill discovered half a mile ahead about 85 horsemen drawn up in line awaiting the approach of the militia. Major Foster halted to reconnoiter their position and strength, when the enemy, emboldened by the seeming hesitancy, charged precipitately down the hill upon the militia, who were instantly dismounted and prepared to receive the charge. They came, however, only to within 400 yards, when they broke and disappeared quickly in a clump of trees near their right.
The militia were quickly moved to a point likely to intercept them, dismounted 300 yards from the enemy, and moving double-quick upon his right and rear drove him in confusion again from their position, capturing coats, blankets, &c.; all this without firing a shot. The enemy was followed again to a position on Post Oak Creek, protected by logs and rail pens and almost entirely concealed by heavy under brush. Receiving re-enforcements of 20 men, under Capt. Mel. Foster, the militia dismounted to the number of 20, while the remainder were held mounted and as a reserve. A brisk fire was opened upon the enemy at shot-gun range, which was vigorously returned by the enemy.
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.
Lieut, John M. Jewell, although mortally wounded and since dead, in the first of the engagement never deserted his post. Capt. Mel. Foster, shot through the left breast, stood at the head of his men cheering and encouraging them until the field was ours. Sergeant Rains contributed to our complete success by the promptness with which he brought up the reserve. 
Maj. Emory S. Foster, who commanded the militia upon this position, received a ball in the right forearm near the wrist, which lodged near the elbow. He seems to have managed the affair with a great deal of prudence, bravery, and skill, and is entitled to no little credit for the affair.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier- General, Commanding District.
Capt. K. H. McLEAN,
Assistant Adjutant- General.

AUGUST 25-28, 1863.—Scout from Sedalia, and Skirmish (26th) at Clear Fork, Mo.
Report of Col. John F. Philips, Seventh Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
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
in his coat, he pressed on, and fired so rapidly and accurately as to stampede the enemy every time he halted for fight.
We captured 7 or 8 horses, 6 or 7 guns, some blankets, etc., without any loss to our side. The scout sent to La Fayette has also returned, being unable to discover any trace of the enemy. After the 31st (day of muster) I will again move on the enemy.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
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
Columbia area

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.


The Massacre and Battle of Centralia
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.

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