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September 9, 2016

1863 Martial Law Investigation, Knob Noster & Johnson County - Union Appointed Militia Arrested for killing Bushwhackers

Title:Report of the Committee of the House of Representatives of the twenty-second General Assembly of the state of Missouri appointed to investigate the conduct and management of the militia including an index
Author:The State Historical Society of Missouri
General E. B. Brown

  1. MARTIAL LAW IN MISSOURI, As illustrated in the Johnson County Cases, Dr. Zimmerman's Case, and others. 
  2. REMARK. In entering somewhat more fully into an investigation of the following cases, the Committee wish it to be distinctly understood, that these cases have been selected simply as examples, which, from the locality or other circumstances, were more accessible than others; and that these cases are intended to serve merely as representatives of certain classes of the uses to which martial law may be subjected. 
  3. THE JOHNSON COUNTY CASES. 
  4. The little town of Knob Noster, near the Eastern line of Johnson county, and on the (prospective) Pacific Railroad, had been, until Price's army went through it, a flourishing place. It has been robbed by the guerrillas four times since 1862, and when, in the spring of 1863, the last company of Militia left the town, and bushwhacker hordes, belonging to Quantrill's command, were swarming everywhere around it, the citizens applied to the military authorities for protection. The military Posts at Warrensburg, Lexington, and Sedalia, were too weak in themselves to be able to detach a portion of their forces for the protection of Knob Noster. The commanders at these posts advised the citizens of Knob Noster to arm and defend themselves. The citizens did so; kept pickets and guards every night, and were in constant communication with the military authorities, by whom they were supplied with ammunition, and, perhaps, even with arms. Several other such independent companies were organized in different parts of the county for mutual protection; and that the insecurity to life and property demanded such measures will be granted by every one, when learning that the Captain of one of these companies and several of his neighbors were shot dead by bushwhackers whilst plowing corn, which they had to do in company for safety's sake. The company at Knob Noster elected an old, warm hearted, Western farmer, John Maddox, as Captain. Early in the war he had been in the Home Guards, defending Lexington against Price's rebels, Although illiterate, he is a man of means, and warmly devoted to the Union cause. 
  5. In August, 1863, a returned soldier was killed in broad daylight, quite near the town of Knob Noster. This occurrence aroused the indignation of the Union men, and part of Capt. Maddox's company went out scouting after bushwhackers. Several of these pests were killed about that time, occasional scouts being made by small mounted volunteer or State Militia forces, generally guided or accompanied by Maddox's men. General Schofield's Order No. 86, of August 25, 1863, seemed to authorize such laudable action, even if self-defence and self-protection should not alone justify it. Humanity demands of every citizen active and earnest cooperation with the military authorities, in putting down these common enemies of mankind. The Commanding General demands of every citizen the full discharge of his duty in this regard. To enable them to protect them- selves from violence, and to aid the troops, when necessary, all loyal and peaceable citizens in Missouri will be permitted to bear arms. Notwithstanding all this, John Maddox, with over thirty of his neighbors, were arrested by order of General E. B. BROWN, commanding the Central District of Missouri, confined in the prison at Jefferson City, in company with rebels and bushwhackers,and tried by a military commission, appointed by the General mentioned.
The first arrests were made in September last, and many of these citi-zens are still now, after five months, in prison here. The charges brought against them are, principally, that they were " military insurgents," who took up arms contrary to the laws and usages of war. It will hardly be believed that such could be the case; that men, fight- ing for their own protection and co-operating with U. S. troops, could be charged with being "military insurgents" by anybody but by a rebel military Court, if the rebels occupied Johnson county. Maddox and his men are further charged with pressing horses, saddles, saddle girths, meals, forage, ., from avowedly disloyal persons, when out scouting; with horse stealing,. Your Committee examined one witness, John Knaus, as to the character of the witnesses brought against these men, himself having been very as-siduously engaged in procuring the most damaging testimony against the prisoners. He swears, that out of the twenty-five witnesses for the prosecution, seventeen were " sympathizers." What he means by "sympa-thizers " will be clear, when we know that, for instance, Mrs. ABSHIRE is the widow of a bushwhacker, said to have been killed on August 10th, 1863. Mrs. Wm. DRAPER is the wife of a captured rebel, who, in 1861, subscribed, and took the oath of allegiance, and, in 1862, fought against the Union forces at Prairie Grove and Springfield. (Vide, Gen'l Ord. No. 31, series 1863, page 13.) It is a matter of remark that so many disloyal women have been called as witnesses for the prosecution, and kept here in this city for months, at three dollars per day expense to the Government. At the house of one of these women secession flags were found, while she was here testifying and swearing against Maddox or his men. Your Committee have no faith in oaths made by rebels, and hope that but little weight will attach to the testimony of such, more than doubtful, witnesses, who now embrace the opportunity of taking vengeance on those intrepid Union men who were their enemies for loyalty's sake. The prisoners very bitterly complain of the military commission before whom they are tried; that their witnesses for the defence, especially officers in the U. S. service, are not called. Your Committee have not had time to investigate that grave charge, and express the hope that such may not be the case; it is too fearful a crime for any man attempting to administer justice to deny a prisoner, who is at his mercy, the fullest opportunity for a defence. Yourself, Mr. Speaker, and the worthy representative from Johnson county, have called upon General E. B. BROWN, trying to obtain, if not the release, then impartial justice, for those victims of rebel hatred. To our surprise we have learned, that General Brown has so completely prejudged these men, whom he never knew before their arrest, and of whom he could know only from information given by others, that he brands them as old and hardened criminals. Is not justice in greatest peril, when a military commander has a pre- conceived conviction of the guilt of persons whose arrests he orders, and then appoints such of his subaltern officers as he pleases to try these pris- oners, and when there is no control by experienced and learned judges or impartial juries? May not a military commission of three young officers, who, perhaps, were, a year before, the one a blacksmith, the other a 
saddler, the third a clerk in a country store, sit, today, in trial over you, or any of us, and condemn us to imprisonment or death, not according to immutable law, but according to their impulses, desires, or instructions ? We are far from intimating, that the military commission, before whom the men from Johnson county are being tried, was of this character; but must we not confess, that such a possibility is very probable, and that the supposition is rather for, than against, the probability. It becomes us to direct the attention of the new Department Commander to such perilous conditions, and the simple mentioning will, it is confidently believed, be sufficient. Your Committee will further state, that the Circuit Courts are held again in Johnson county without obstruction. Why, then, should citizens be dragged out of their district, to be tried by a Court of which neither our Constitution nor our Statutes know even the name ? If Maddox and his men are guilty of any crime, let them expiate for it; but even the worst criminal has a right to an unobstructed, full defence, an impartial trial by jury, and an appeal to a higher Court. Wlly should Union men, in whose favor the bitter hatred of rebels largely speaks, be deprived of these privileges ? Until the guilt of Maddox and his men is incontrovertibly established, we have a right, nay, it is our duty, to con- sider them the unfortunate victims of their rebel neighbors, whose guilty conscience would not let them rest while there were Union men in John- son county rendering "active and earnest co-operation" to the Union forces. Your Committee desire that full weight and attention be given to the following testimony and examination of witnesses: STATEMENT OF THE HON. G. W. HOUTS, Representative from Johnson County. Speaker L. C. MARVIN and myself called on Gen. E. B. BROWN in behalf of the prisoners in the guard-house here, known as Company Q, or the in- dependent company from Knob Noster. I told him these men had been in prison a long a time, and their fami- lies were suffering; the women and children had to feed the stock and get fuel in this inclement weather, and asked him wlly they could not have a trial? He replied to me, that they were a bad set of men; that the Grand Ju- ries of Pettis and Johnson counties had found bills against some of these men, every court, for the last ten years, and that I knew it to be so. I replied, that I did not; and that he himself did and could know no such thing either. Then he replied to me, that I knew very little; he had been told so by an old man sitting near me in the house*; said that he had understood that the Hon. A. S. O'Bannon and I had been running around here, try- ing to prejudice the people against the military commission. I told him that I thought the commission was prejudiced against the prisoners, and that the witnesses were nearly all rebels-some of the worst in Johnson county. I told him that if these witnesses had a chance to swear against the General or me, they would hang us both. *Hon. Mr. Forbes of Pettis county. He replied, that he had no right to prevent rebels from swearing against Union men. I answered that I demanded a fair trial for the men; if guilty, punish them; if not guilty, let them go home, and not keep them in the military prison all winter. The General then walked off and left us. G. W. HOUTS, Representative from Johnson county. TESTIMONY OF A VENERABLE PREACHER, A Conservative. The military authorities cannot give protection to Knob Noster-Advice, arming of citizens- Maddox's Company for the most part good, substantial men ; unquestionably loyal-The Mili- tary Commission refuse to take his testimony (it being favorable! )-Some of the prisoners re- leased on condition that they enter as recruits in a certain company. Before the Committee, January 14, 1864. Rev. JOHN B. MORROW, of lawful age, being duly sworn, says: I have lived in the county of Johnson since about 1835, and in Knob Noster since February, 1863. Since April 1, 1863, the E. M. M. have not been in service; they were mustered out at that time; but the town of Knob Noster being threatened by bush- whackers, who had previously twice taken possession of and plundered it, and the mili- tary being withdrawn from the place, I, myself, wrote to Col. Neill, commanding a Provisional Regiment to which belonged the Provisional Company raised in Johnson county, all the circumstances of our danger. He answered me, in substance, that it was out of his power to afford military protection to us, and that the citizens must arm and defend themselves. I also went to Colonel Philipps, commanding the Seventh M. S. M., and asked for military protection for the town, but he waa unable to afford it; his command could not be reduced, and, besides, Knob Noster was beyond the limits of his district. He said the people had an undoubted right to arm and defend themselves; but they must not go out, to avoid being mistaken by the M. S. M. for guerrillas. The citizens did then arm and organize into a company of forty-two men, I think, under Capt. Maddox and Lieut. Chester. These forty-two men composing the company were for the most part substantial and good men, but some reckless characters were amongst them. They all had ever been unconditionally loyal; their loyalty had never been questioned. The duties of the company were, guarding the town of nights, and some of them went out scouting. I know that some citizens procured substitutes to be on guard for them for three nights of a week, in consequence of a portion of the com- pany being out scouting. I do not know whether the company was recognized or in communication with the military authorities; I, however, advised Lieut. Chester to report regularly to the mili- tary post at Warrensburg, to avoid collision with the M. S. M. when they were out on scouts. A great deal of mischief was done in the county, but I do not know by whom. It is said that on a certain night, when part of the company were out on a scout, two seces- sionists, Wesley and Abshire, were killed; Abshire was related to the Wheatleys (who were bushwhackers). Rumor says, that the men who went out scouting took plunder of every description from the secessionists. I have no knowledge of this myself. A number of them were arrested last fall, and have been in prison in Jefferson City since that time on trial before a Military Commission. Some of those that have been arrested have borne a suspicious character; others always had a good reputation; some of them I do not know. I was called as a witness before the commission; after the Judge Advocate had learned (in conversation) what I knew, I was not examined as a witness; I was dis- missed without being examined before the commission. I reckon the commission have had 100 witnesses here in this case; they have been in session several months. Three of the men arrested have been released conditionally, I understand, that they enlist in the Federal service.Two of my sons-in-law were killed in their corn-fields in the summer of 1863, to- gether with two of their neighbors; one of them was Guthrie. The neighbors had to work their fields in company, in order to be secure against attacks from ushwhackers. Guthrie did not belong to an independent company. The Circuit Court has not been hold in Johnson county since 1861; that is my impression. (Remark.-The witness is mistaken in these two answers. Sec testi- mony of Assessor Foulke.) Ques. by Mr. Davis. What arm of the service has done the most to quiet the country ? Ans. The E. M. M. has performed the best service; they cleared the country of bush- whackers effectually in the summer and fall of 1862; they have done better service than the M. S. M. They are not in service now; two companies at Warrensburg are the only soldiers in the county at present. JOHN B. MORROW. Present-Messrs O'Bannon, Palmer, Goebel, Davis. F. A. NITCHY, Sec'y. MURDER OF FOUR UNION MEN BY BUSHWHACKERS; Allen Guthrie, Marion Oglesby, G. Taylor, and Capt. Rice. TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: On Monday, July 6, Marion Oglesby, Allen Guthrie, Zach. Taylor, Capt. Rice and myself were plowing corn in my field. About three o'clock same day we were startled with the report of fire-arms, and before we were aware of it Allen Guthrie was killed at his plow. I soon found that the cornfield was surrounded with armed men, and es- cape out of the question for us; and almost before we were aware of it, they wore upon us. Three shots were fired at me, and while trying to escape, I was ordered to halt. We then succeeded in getting to the fence, where we secreted ourselves in the weeds. We were then required to come out and surrender, and after consulting together, I was told that if we would give up our arms that not one of us should be hurt. We then surrendered upon their.terms, which were, give up our arms and take an oath not to fight against the Southern Confederacy. We were repeatedly and positively assured that if we would accede to these terms that they would let us go home, and stay there in peace. After we had acceded to their terms we were marched to near an old house in the cornfield, in charge of a guard of five men. The balance of the men then as- sembled in the house, and, after consulting about half an hour, one of them, who gave his name as Capt. Hutchinson, then came up to us, the others behind him, and called me from the balance, and took me off about forty paces, and while, a short time after- wards, the balance commenced shooting Oglesby and the others. Immediately after the firing ceased I was surrounded by them, and was ordered by Capt. Hutchinson to drop down in the oats, and while lying down on my face, I heard many of them insisting upon shooting "the damned rascal." Capt. Hutchinson ordered the men back, and they returned to the lot and immediately left. I was then marched by five men to the lot, where they administered the oath to me. With the admonition to stay at home and behave myself, they left. I then went to where I left Oglesby and the others, and found them dead, except Oglesby, who was just breathing. I have since learned that James Thompson. Michael Burgess, Thomas Little and Ma- rion Robinson were of the party, and I believe that John Brinker was also with them. I am personally acquainted with Capt. Houts and his men, having been in the State service with them four months, and know that Capt. Houts nor none of his men were of that party. I have good reason to believe that the whole party were regularly organ- ized bushwhackhers, and that my life was spared through the intercessions of an old lady living in the neighborhood. JACOB EPPRIGHT. STATE OF MISSOURI, County of Pettis, This day personally appeared before the undersigned, a Notary Public, duly commis- sioned and qualified for the county of Pettis, Jacob Eppright, of Johnson county, who makes oath that the statements made in the above certificate are true. H. R. DoBYNs, Notary Public.



316 We certify that we have been personall and intimately acquainted with Jacob Epp- right for several years, and know him to be a gentleman, in whom implicit confidence can be placed. JAMES K. FARR, R. M. KING, THOMAS D. HOUTS. J. B. McGIRK, J. D. FARR, C.C. MORROW, W. K. MORROW, J. G. MORROW. TESTIMONY OF CAPTAIN FOULKE. A graphic account of the condition of a county In Missouri under bushwhacker rule, during General Schofield's administration-Detalls of the organization of the Independent Companies, their purposes, duties, and labors- Character of the members, and of the witnesses against them. Before the Committee, January 7, 1864. STEPHEN D. FOULKE, of lawful age, Assesor of Johnson county, being duly sworn, says: I am acquainted with Capt. John Maddox, and the other Union men from Johnson county, now on trial before a Military Commission in Jefferson City. The charges against them are those appearing in the paper annexed, marked "Charges and specifications," etc. These men organized for self protection; there were four compa- nies in all organized in our county; Maddox's company in the month of May, the others in June; they contained from twenty to thirty men each. I am intimately acquainted with all the inhabitants in the eastern half of the county, and generally acquainted with people in the western half, from my official positions, having assessed the whole county, been enrolling the Militia in it, and am Deputy County Clerk; a very large majority of these men were substantial good Union men. I was commanding the post of Knob Noster, Johnson county, during the winter of 1862-'63, until the last of March, 1863, being in command of one company of E. M. M., of which there were four companies in all in the county; but that of Capt. Houts was soon disbanded, on account of the very numerous complaints against Capt. Houts' stringent measures against rebels. In the latter part of March the remaining three companies, mine included, were mustered out of active service, and their arms taken from them. A detail of men from each company were formed into a Provisional Com- pany, under Capt. Duncan; this company, part of the Provisional Regiment, Col. Neill, was at Warrensburg and Knob Noster, in our county, only a few days, and were princi- pally employed at Lexington and Wellington, Lafayette county; after the Shelby raid they were stationed at Clinton, Henry county. The town of Warrensburg, our county seat, has been a military post or station all the time, and portions of the 1st and 4th M. S.:M., and of the 11th Cav. Mo. Vol., have been stationed there; but, as will appear hereafter, not in sufficient strength to protect the whole county. During the time of my command at Knob Noster, I obtained reliable, in fact the very best, information of the designs of the rebels and sympathizers in the vicinity of Knob Noster; at the first opportune chance, they were to fall upon the little town [in the election of November, 1863, it gave 74 radical against 5 conservative votes] and destroy it, and certain of their rebel friends residing there were to be forewarned, to give them time to remove with their families. During the month of April, following the dis- charge of my command and company, the people expected the return of my company to protect their town; a petition to have this company again stationed there was signed by probably every property holder in the place, Conservatives and sympathizers as well as Radicals, and sent to the proper authorities; but the prayer was not granted, nor was there any other military protection afforded to them. When it thus became clear that the town had to rely upon its own citizens for protection and defence, about thirty- five good substantial Union men, mechanics and farmers, organized into a company, and made John Maddox (an honest, warm-hearted out-spoken and blunt Western farmer, of about sixty years of age, but still very robust and active, and possessed of considerable property) their Captain. They kept up a regular system of pickets and patrols, and thus were always prepared for the worst. I have certain knowledge that this company, as well as the other three, under Captains Day, Guthrie and Taggart respectively, were in constant, almost regular, communication with the commanders at the post of Warrensburg, giving them information of their doings, and applying to them for ammunition. [Capt. Taggart is said to have obtained it.] I know that for in-



317 stance, they would report to the commander, that on such and such a day they would be scouting in a certain neighborhood, in order to avoid being mistaken for bush- whackers, if a detachment of the M. S. M. should come up with them in the same neighborhood. I myself wont to work and assessed the county. I had to give ten days' previous no- tice of the time when I would be in a certain township, under a late law. This gave the bushwhackers notice also where to find me, and they began to grow very numerous with the appearance of the leaves in the bush. I applied for and received a military escort from the commander at Warrensburg on several occasions. On the second day of June a considerable force of M. S. M. was expected to pass at Hazelhill, a little town in the north part of our county, and I took the opportunity to discharge my duties there under that expected protection; but the military were de- layed, and I was left alone in Hazelhill, on the evening of the 2d of June, amongst rebels and sympatizers; they, however, assured me that there was no danger, and that they would protect me. About 10 o'clock at night I was taken out of bed, robbed of all my papers, and the value of, in money and property, $300, and sent adrift on foot. The moon shining brightly I saw that the women of Hazelhill were well acquainted and on friendly terms with the guerrillas, coming out of their houses to shake hands with them. My life was spared on the ground that the inhabitants of Hazelhill feared their place would be destroyed by the Union men if I was killed there. I was hiding in the bush that night, and next morning the expected force of the M. S. M., under Lieut. Col. Lazear, came into the vicinity of Hazelhill; some of the inhabitants went out to see the commander of that force, told him what had happened, and offered to show the way into the hiding-place of the guerrillas. The commander said there were no guerrillas about there, and as to the robbing, "Some of the damned Enrolled Mili- tia have robbed him!" With this he went on. In the month of August I wished to complete my assessments in the eastern portion of the county; upon my application for a military escort from Warrensburg, I could not on three occasions be furnished with one, it being clearly impossible for the commander there to reduce his small force, and Quantril, with other large bands, were known to be not far off. I recollect the commander of the post declared to me that if the bush- whackers and rebels were aware of the condition of the post of Warrensburg, they could capture it whenever they pleased. Not liking to venture out alone, I told him that I would try to obtain an escort from Capt. Maddox at Knob Noster. I obtained it; the Captain, with his Lieutenants and perhaps twelve men, accompanied me to the place where I had advertised to be on that day; we there met a force from the 11th Mo. Cavalry, who requested guides and upon my recommendation Capt. Maddox, with part of his men, went with the soldiers, while another part staid with me. Whilst I was engaged there, two young men, not members of Capt. Maddox's company, but who accompanied them, and whom I know to be not very good characters, had entered the house of some rebels in the vicinity, searched it, and brought away a box of fine pow- der, which they delivered to me; they also had caught some two or three colts or mules, running loose on the prairie, and said to belong to some rebels that had left for the South. I remonstrated against such proceedings, and on my informing (on our way home that evening) Capt. Maddox of it, he peremptorily ordered the animals to be turned loose again; it was done; but it displeased the two young men, and they left the company. The principal charges against Capt. Maddox and his men are based upon occurrences alleged to have taken place on that day, as I understood. Capt. Guthrie and three of his men were shot by bushwhackers in their own fields, and such was the condition of things in the county, that the Union men had to carry their guns whilst plowing in the field. Many robberies and murders of Union men were perpetrated, and the only protection the Union men outside of the military post at Warrensburg enjoyed, was that afforded by the independent companies. The disloyal persons in the countywere affording aid and assistance to the guerrillas, and women of rebels have declared to me, that " if they did not feed the bushwhackers again it would be beceuse 'they did not get a chance." About the middle of September, shortly after our county had been attached to the District commanded by Gen. E. B. Brown, Capt. Maddox and most of his men were ar- rested and taken to Jefferson City. Shortly after that, Gen. Brown paid a visit to Johnson county; I was introduced to him, and took occasion to ask that the prisoners ought to be tried by the civil courts of their own county, or at least by a military court in this or the next county, so that witnesses could be had readier and with less ex- pense. The General appeared to be strongly prepossessed against the prisoners, and not disposed to grant them any relief, such as bail, or trial before a civil court. Our Circuit Court was held in perfect order and safety on October 19th last, and a



318 special term was to be held on December 21st, the juries having been summoned; but owing to indisposition of the Circuit Judge, it was adjourne I know the principal accuser of the prisoners, a mnn named Coleman; I would not believe him on oath, knowing that he is a habitual, malicious liar. I am further strongly impressed, that he is the same person who served a term in the Ohio peniten- tiary for murder, having myself made at that trial a minute phrenological examination of his head. I also know Mrs. Craig, another witness against the prisoners; she de- clared to me that she had known only one of the prisoners, and did not know what the Military Commission could want of her. She has been in Jefferson City on witness fees since October 8th last, until a few days ago. I have been refused by the military authorities to see the prisoners, and others have not been permitted to hand them some money with which to buy some comforts for themselves. Another witness, Mrs. Robinson, declared to me, that the men of the independent companies had generally treated her well, and taken nothing except, I think, a saddle- girth. Quite a large majority of the witnesses, in fact nearly all, that have been called to testify against the prisoners, are and have been rebels and disloyalists, especially the women; some of them did not bear a good reputation for truth and honesty in peace- ful times. STEPHEN D. FOULKE. Present: E. P. Johnson, O'Bannon, Gert. Goebel. F. A NITCHY, Secretary Com. TESTIMONY OF A MILITIA OFFICER, Who makes regular details of Maddox's company-No military protection given to citizens--Rebels complain bit- terly of Maddox's company; Union men don't. Before the Committee, January 15, 1864. Lieut. CLIFTON BONDURANT, of Johnson county, of lawful age, being duly sworn, says: I have been living in Johnson county for twelve years ; have been in the Home Guards, E. M. M., and the Provisional Regiment, Col. Neill. I was about two weeks at Knob Noster, in command of about twenty men of a Provisional company; sometime about the 1st of July or last of June, 1863. Capt. Duncan, with his company, was stationed at Knob Noster; with his whole company, previously, only about three weeks. When I was in command at Knob Noster, I made regular details from Capt. Maddox's independent company, to stand guard; Capt. Maddox's company was organized for self-defence; it was a dangerous Post; bush- whackers and rebels were numerous around there they robbed near by, and threatened to come into the place. I insisted on having more men, which I could not obtain, and I reported to my superior officers that I had to call on the citizens ; I made a detail from them every night. Depredations by bushwhackers were committed upon loyal men ; I. understood that fewer depredations were committed after the company of Capt. Maddox was organized; at the time I was there, I did not hear any complaint about the company of Capt. Maddox; the whole town belonged to it; they stood guard every night beforo I came there with my men. While I was there, Union people were not secure in any part of the county, except at War- rensburg, and after Capt. Duncan, with his company, left Knob Noster, there was no military protection there; that was the cause of the organization of Maddox's men. The citizens of Knob Noster sent about four petitions to the military authorities for Capt. Duncan's return with his company; but it was not sent back, nor any other company stationed there. I have heard rumors about depredations committed by the Maddox company as a cause for the arrest of these men; I know nothing of them from my own knowledge. Ques. Did you ever hear a loyal man complain of Maddox's Company ? Ans. Never. Ques. Did you hear disloyal men complain of them ? Ans. I have, often ; they were accused of having abused disloyalists; did not hear that they destroyed or took anything; it was said they shot some bushwhackers. They did not belong to any regularly organized corps, but they were permitted to arm and defend themselves; they were, about four-fifths of them, Union men; they were sent put twice by me to accom- pany squads of my men on scouts; never heard of their killing any Union men or doing any damage to such. It is generally believed in the county that an old family feud, of some years' standing, instigated a certain man to make these charges against Maddox; the men that were killed, said to have been done by Maddox's men, I understood to have been feeding bush- whackers. Capt. Houte' company of E. M. M. could not be charged with anything else than being hard on rebels and bushwhackers; the company was disbanded about two months



319 previous to the relieving from service of the other companies of the E. M. M.; they did not interfere with slaves; Capt. Houts was the senior Captain, and commanding the forces until Col. Catherwood, of the 6th M. S. M., came and took command; they cannot be charged with destroying or taking property to my knowledge they took horses, by orders from Headquar- ters. Col. Catherwood, on taking command at Warrensburg, ordered a great many slaves of the county to come to Warrensburg and work on the fortifications; that, in the Fall of 1862, many negroes may have never gone back to their masters from there; some went with Col. Catherwood's command when he left Warrensburg. Ques. Have you knowledge of troops of any kind having been used to return fugitive slaves ? Ans. I know of a Lieutenant, of Col. Neill's Provisional Regiment, taking a negro from Knob Noster; don't know whether it was by orders or by his own will. Ques. Has the Circuit Court been in session ? Ans. The regular Fall term was held. Ques. Has the country become more quiet? Ans. As to bushwhackers, it is considerably more quiet. C. BONDURANT. Present-Messrs. O'Bannon, Davis, Goebel. F. A. NITCHY, Secretary. CHARGES AND SPECIFICATIONS AGAINST I. MADDOX, Citizen of Johnson County, State of Missouri. Charge.-Violation of the laws and customs of war. Specification 1st. In this, that he, the said I. Maddox, citizen of Johnston county, State of Missouri, and of the United States, and owing allegiance thereunto, and not belonging to any lawfully organized or authorized military force, did, in the county of Johnston, State of Mis- souri, on or about the fifteenth day of September, 1863, and at divers times before, unlawfully, and of his own wrong, take up arms as an outlaw and military insurgent; and did join, belong to, consort, and act in concert with a band of outlaws and military insurgents, and public robbers, known as Clear Fork Rangers; and not being ordered so to do by any competent civil or military authority whatever, contrary to the laws and customs of war. Specification 2d. In this, that he, the said I. Maddox, citizen of the county of Jobnston, State of Missouri, and of the United States, and owing allegiance thereunto, did, in the county of Johnston, State of Missouri, on or about the fifteenth day of September, 1863, unlawfully, and of his own wrong, take up arms as an outlaw and public robber; and did, with force of arms, enter upon the premises of one Samuel F. Foster, and feloniously take, steal, and carry away from said premises the following personal property, to-wit, a sum of money, to the value of fifteen dollars, lawful currency of the United States. Specfication 3d. In this, that he, the said I. Maddox, citizen of the county of Johnston, State of Missouri, and of the United States, and owing allegiance thereunto, did, in the county of Johnston, State of Missouri, on or about the thirtieth day of August, A. D. 1863, unlaw- fully, and of his own wrong, take up arms as an outlaw and public robber; and did, with force of arms, enter upon the premises of James C. Rothwell, and feloniously steal, take, and carry away from said premises the following personal property, to-wit, one revolving pistol and one gun. Specification 4th. In this, that he, the said I. Maddox, citizen of the county of Johnston, and State of Missouri, and of the United States, and owing allegiance thereunto, did, in the county of Johnston, State of Missouri, during the month of August, 1863, unlawfully, and of his own wrong, take up arms as an outlaw and public robber; and did, with force of arms, enter upon the premises of one Lewis Harrison, and feloniously steal, take, and carry away from said premises the following personal property, to-wit: one man, a quantity of jean and linsey clothes. TESTIMONY OF FRITZ CRONHARDT, Who is arrested as an " outlaw and military insurgent," on the charge of having taken an old saddle from a gen- tleman hiding In the brush, Cronhardt being a substantial farmer; been robbed four times by bushwhackers; had to flee from house--Character of Mrs. Westleg Mrs. Abshire, and other principal witnesses for the prosecu- tion-Union men could not obtain military protection. Before the Committee, January 6, 1864. FRED. CRONRARDT, farmer, of Johnson county, being duly sworn, says: I was arrested by men of the regiment of Col. McFerran, by order of General E. B. Brown, on December 23d taken to Warrensburg and put in the guard house, from which place I was, on Saturday, 26th, taken to Sedalia, placed on the cars, and brought to Jefferson City under guard here I was put into the guard house, until I was paroled out at the instance of some



320 friend; I was charged with stealing a saddle from " Preacher Adams," a man who is a rabid rebel, and is supposed to have been in the brush all summer the charge, I understood, was made by one Coleman, of Johson county; Coleman is considered a secessionist.* I was a member of the 27th Missouri Volunteers, and joined it when it was organized; I was in the battle at Lexington, captured there, and mustered out of service with other Union prisoners; I joined in July, 1861; previous to it I was engaged as a guide by General Sigel. The Circuit Court of Johnston county was in session last October; I have not been in the service since; I was discharged from the 27th, and am exempt from Militia duty; I remained away from home during four months the past summer, deeming it unsafe to be seen on my own farm, hav- ing been robbed four times by bushwhackers, and once by John Nichols, who was hung at Jef- ferson City; I have a wife and five children at home. I know Mrs. Wesleg; her husband is said to have been in the Lone Jack fight, as a bushwhacker, under Cockerill and Coffee I also know Mrs. Abshire; she is the sister of the two Wheatleys, chiefs of bushwhackers. In the latter part of the summer, M. Dillingham, who had enlisted in the volunteer service, came home to wind up his affairs; next morning he was killed, supposed by bushwhackers; during all this time we had repeatedly called on t e military in Warrensburg and Sedalia for protec- tion, to drive out the bushwhackers who were committing those depredations; first we were promised assistance, afterwards refused; owing to the unsettled condition of the southern portion of the county, two Union men wanted to remove their families, but even they could not obtain a safeguard or escort, though praying for it. Most all Union men in and around Knob Noster have a permit to carry arms from the Provost Marshal's office. FRITZ CRONHARDT. Present Mr. C. P. Johnson. F. A. NITCHY, Secretary Committee. John M. Regnor, of lawful age, farmer, of Johnson county, being duly sworn, states, that the facts as set forth in the forth in the foregoing statement are true, he being fully cognizant of the same. JOHN M. REGNOR. Present--Mr. C. P. Johnson. F. A. NITCHY, Secretary Committee. TESTIMONY OF ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE KNOB KNOSTER COMPANY. G. W. PRINCE, of lawful age, being duly sworn, deposes and says: Ques. Do you live at Knob Nnoster? Ans. I do. Ques. Do you know John Maddox and the men that belonged to his company? Ans. I do. Ques. Were they all Union men? Ans. About four-fifths of them were. Ques. What was his company raised for? Ans. To protect ourselves and property from bushwhackers. Ques. Were you ever on a scout with them? Ans. I never was. Ques. Do you know what they did while on a scout? Ans. I do not. Ques. Did you ever hear of their disturbing Union men? Ans. I did not. Ques. Did you know Abshire and Westleg? Ans. I did. Ques. Were they considered Union men? Ans. They were not. Ques. Were they in the Lone Jack fight with Cockerill ?t Ans. I have heard that they were. Ques. Do you know one Rothwell, living near your town? (who is a principal witness for the prosecution.) Ans. I do. Ques. Has he always been a Union man? Ans. He has always been called a rebel. Ques. Had he a son in the rebel army? Ans. He had Ques. Was he killed in the rebel army? Ans. He was, so said. Vide testimony of Capt. Foulke. The guerrillas to the number of 2,000, under Cockerill and Coffee, defeated a small body of Union troops at Lone Jack, near the line of Johnson county.




321 Ques. Was your town in danger of being destroyed by bushwhackers? Ans. It was. Ques. Did the bushwhackers do any mischief near town ? Ans. They did; they killed Mr. Dillingham, and robbed several Union men, near town. Ques. Were Union men safe in the country? Ans They were not; a great many of them came into our town, and left their farms; they were afraid to stay at home. Ques. How long was Capt. Wm. 'Houts' company of E. M. M. disbanded before the other companies were? Ans. About two months. Ques. What were they disbanded for? Ans. I heard it was because they were too hard on rebels, G. W. PRINCE. STATE OF MISSOURI, County of Johnson, Be it remembered, that on this 19th day of January, 1864, personally appeared before me, a Justice of the Peace within and for Johnson county aforesaid, G. W. Prince, who, being duly sworn, testifies to the foregoing as being the truth, to the best of his knowledge and belief. SAM. WORKMAN, J. P. TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS Called on the part of the "Conservative" members of the Committee. Witness knows nothing, although he has been a sort of Detective for prosecuton of the Prisoner-The Rebel view of the matter-Who are termed Sympathizers-Hearssay Testimony. Before the Committee, January 18, 1864. JOHN KNAUS, farmer, of Johnson county, being duly sworn, says: "I know nothing personally of the operations of Captain Maddox's independent company. I heard of it, but saw nothing myself. Some of the men were reputed of bad character prior to the banded existence of the company; of others, nothing was said at all." [This witness forgets to state that the largest part were good substantial citizens, of unblem- ished reputation. Vide testimony of Rev. J. B. Morrow.] It was asserted By the people, that the company were banded together for the purpose of public robbery they were Union men." [ All the other witnesses, without distinction of party, agree that the purpose of the company's organization was of quite a different character. Bushwhackers, against whom the company operated, would of course speak in different terms of them.] "They are charged with killing the following: Abshire, Westleg, Grier, Runner (father and son)--all five of whom were reputed secessionists. Abshire, Westleg and young Runner had been in the rebel service." [The intimation that the killing of armed rebels and bushwhackers is a "charge" to be pun- ished, characterizes the witness.] "They are said to have taken horses, saddles, all manner of clothing, and money. These rob- beries were committed on secessionists and on strangers whom they met on the road." [As, for instance: Several of Maddox's men were following the trail of bushwhackers. A stranger on a mule comes along, and is requested by them to lend them the mule for half an hour in order to follow up the trail; the stranger reluctantly consents. Soon Maddox with his party comes up, who knows the stranger; and, a few minutes after, the men return with the mule from the woods. This latter part the witnesses against the prisoners forget when. swearing before the commission.] "The course pursued caused considerable apprehension amongst the citizens." [Citizens I (?) ] "Grier was killed August 9th, Abshire and Westleg on August 10th, 1863." [All three of them rebels by the witness' own testimony. On August 9th, a Union soldier was killed by the bushwhackers near Knob Noster. See below.] " That was the first of the operations of the band of Maddox. The following have told me of the operations or the band: Samuel Craig, 10 miles south of Knob Noster; -- Coleman, 12 " " [see what Capt. Foulke says of him]; Veitch Payne, a sympathizer; Mrs. Kirkpatrick, a sympathizer 21



822 Mrs. Dorson, a sympathizer; Mrs. Runner, a sympathizer; Miss Runner a sympathizer [witness states that Runner, father and son, were seces- sionists, and young Runner had been in the rebel army]; Mrs. Wall, a sympathizer; Mrs. Gallagher, a sympathizer ; Mr. Forby, a sympathizer; Mrs. Draper, a sympathizer [her husband took the oath of allegiance in '61, and fought in the rebel ranks at Prairie Grove in 1862] ; Mrs. Wyatt, a sympathizer; Mr. Nathan Fisher, six miles north of Knob Noster Mrs. Puggett, a Unionist; J. Phillips, a soldier; Mr. Kimsey, a sympathizer Nathan James, a sympathizer Mrs. Grier, a sympathizer [her husband was killed-see witness' testimony above] Mrs. Abshire, a sympathizer [Abshire was killed as bushwhacker-had been in the rebel service-see above. " Mrs. Abshire is the sister of the Wheatleys, chiefs of bushwhackers"-see testimony of F. Cronhardt]; Mrs. Paxton, a Unionist; Mr. McCord, a Unionist; Mr. Walsh, a Unionist; Judge King, a Unionist; Mrs. M. Oglesby, a Unionist; Mr. Clark, a sympathizer; Mrs. Dyer, a sympathizer; Mrs. Morrison, a Unionist." Ques. Did anybody else, outside of the family, tell you of the killing of Grier? Ans. P. Skidmore told me that he had seen them taking Grier from his home, but was no witness to the murder. Grier was considered a sympathizer ; had not been in the rebel army; don't know whether he was charged with furnishing aid and comfort to the rebels. Ques. When did the arrests of Maddox's band take place? Ans. Since September 16, 1863, up to the present time. There were two companies, one to guard the town, and one to scout. They were not properly united in one body ; the spirit of one company was to scout, the other's spirit was to guard the town. I called the scouting company a "band." Maddox was Captain. Bushwhackers threatened the town and the peo- ble formed a defensive company under Capt. Maddox. On the 9th of August, 1863, Michael Dillingham, a Union man, was killed about six miles from town. On the 9th of August, the company divided into a scouting company, who went out, and the other party staid at home. Maddox was Captain of the scouting party. He has been convicted, I presume, by the mili- tary commission. After the company branched, Maddox was no more Captain of the compa- ny that remained at home. No one took command of the part at home; they met for mutual safety without a leader. Ques. Was there a court held in Johnson county last Fall? Ans. Nominally so. I am not aware that indictments were found then. (Vide letter of the Circuit Clerk.) Ques. Did the men who were killed bear arms against the Government, or had they been in any engagements ? Ans. It is asserted they were not. Three of them had been in arms, but neither of the three had been in any engagements against Federal forces; so it is reported. Only the scouting party was accused of depredations, while the other party, remaining at home, was not. JOHN KNAUS. Present-Messrs. Davis, O'Bannon, Palmer, Goebel, Smith, Lovelace. F. A. NITCHY, Secretary. STRONG LETTER FROM THE CLERK OF JOHNSON COUNTY. Circuit Court held-Large number of Indictments found-Strong imputations against the four Independent Companies-Is anxious for civil authorities dispensing justice-But calls on mili- tary (martial) law to do it for the benefit of his " Conservative" party. OFFICE CLERK CIRCUIT COURT, WARRENSBURG, Johnson County, Mo, January 8, 1864. To the Military Investigatng Committee, House of Representatives, Jefferson City, Mo. GENTLEMEN: Your communication of the 1st instant, making certain inquiries, is at hand, and I have the honor to report--



823 1. The last term of our Circuit Court was held on the 5th Monday after the 2d Mon- day in September last. 2. The next regular term of our Circuit Court will be held on the 5th Monday after the 2d Monday in March next. 3. The following indictments were found at the last term of our court, to-wit: Ira G. Fletcher, S. P. Williams, and 0. D. Williams, assault with intent to kill; Chester- field Marquess, grand larceny; Chesterfield Marquess, bigamy; Thomas Bradley, John P. Bailey, James Baird, Andrew Gittner, Jos. Anders, Wm. M. Day, U. S. Bradley, Wm. E. Ezell, John Claunch, Henry Kulkmeyer, Andrew J. McMahan, Thomas P. An- derson Samuel Bird, Thos. Jones, Isaac Anderson, Jno. Ailer, Alfred Morgan, P. Hays, M. Skibauski, Wm. Caldwell, and E. Seamands, selling liquor without license; and that no cases were tried, and that all the parties are in the custody of the law except a few of the misdemeanor cases. An answer to the 4th interrogatory seems to demand more than a simple answer of yes or no. Our last term of the Circuit Court was convened on the 19th day of Octo- ber last, and being the first term held since April, 1861, there had accumulated a large amount of civil business; and for the Grand Jury, a list of crimes and misdemeanors almost unparalleled in the history of any one county. The Grand Jury were selected, sworn, and after an eloquent charge from the court, retired to the discharge of their duties; a large number of subpoenas were issued by the clerk, and there seemed a chance of their taking up business in good earnest; numbers of witnesses were sum- moned others were not summoned, although in the county and at their homes; and it was found impossible as it appeared to reach but a few cases, and only those who were inimical (except in a few cases of misdemeanor) to a band of thieves, robbers and murderers, who for months have infested our county, and who have held the people of the county in terror by their systematic robbery, theft, and murder, on unarmed citizens; a large amount of property has been stolen; numbers of houses have been robbed and burned, and many brutal murders committed. Few, if any witnesses, have had the courage to give evidence against them, as it has been a part of their system, or reign of terror, to threaten with their vengeance any one informing on them, or testifying against them. A large number of witnesses have left the county and State for safety; others have had their mouths sealed; and, altogether, these desperadoes have held the county at their will. This is no fancy picture, but unfortunately too true. It is but justice to say, that at times the military have been a check upon their marauding; but their time has been principally engaged in pursuit of the bands of robbers and guer- rillas who have infested this part of the State; leaving to the civil authorities an ele- ment with which, without material support, it was wholly unable to cope, and, as a conse- quence, crime has gone unpresented and unpunished; and nothing, in my opinion, but the strong arm of the military authority, guided by the hand of a judicious and ener- getic officer-one who fully knows and appreciates the benefits of civil law, and who is willing and determined to give full and ample protection to civil officers-can restore peace to our county and bring these miscreants to justice, which appears to be the spirit and determination of the military authorities now in our midst. I am, Gentlemen, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant, J. P. WILLIAMS, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Johnson Co., Mo. WHAT OTHERS THOUGHT OF THE CONDITION OF THINGS IN JOHNSON COUNTY. A Picture of Missouri Affairs. We find in the Evening News of the 21st of August, 1863, the following statement as to the condition of things in Johnson county, Missouri, which is vouched for by that journal as coming from a reliable source. We can add that our own advices from that quarter are to the same effect. The following is undoubtedly a correct picture, not only of the condition of Johnson county, but of the entire district of country about it: Editor of the Evening News: I have thought proper to pen a few lines concerning things in Johnson county; and, first, I will say, so far as the Emancipation Act, and the refusal of the Convention to allow the people to elect their Governor is concerned, it is a small matter if they would



824 only give Union men that protection which is in their power to give, and which, in good faith, they are bound to give; for never since the war have there been such times as now prevail in this county. There is no protection here for any one except for rebels and rebel sympathizers; there is scarcely a Union man proper that can stay at home; if he does, he dies in the brush at night, his horses are stolen at night, and his house plundered of every thing that is of any use to them; the marauders roam the county at will, insulting every man that has stood up for the Government from the first; they have driven all the Enrolled Militia either into the service or to some military post- many of them had to leave their crops in a condition that will yield little or nothing, while those who have used all their influence to get up this rebellion are at home, pur- suing their peaceful avocations; for the bushwhackers will not interrupt them, and the militia protects them. But there is no protection to Union men; they either cannot or will not give protection to loyal men, or are not allowed to give it. I find the militia generally with the Union men, but they say they are not allowed to do otherwise, and things will be no better until there is an election in this State. I will just here say, that if there is not something done for Union men, and that soon, there will not be one half left in the county. Now, is it right that men who love the Government and have stood all the fiery per- secution of this wicked rebellion for the sake of their Government, should be thus treated ? They have been driven from their homes, have been plundered and murder- ed; many of them have left the State and all they owned behind. Is this the treatment we are to receive for our devotion to the Government of our fathers, while those who have been instrumental in inaugurating this unholy war, and who would to-day rejoice at the downfall of this Government, are to be protected ? I am not in favor of any man who has done nothing in this rebellion, but honestly differed from men in sentiment, being interrupted in person or property; but those who used all their influence and money to bring about this war, and persuaded the young men of our country into it, to their ruin, and now sit back and say, " we never did anything"-are they to be pro- tected while we are to be driven from our homes and our wives and children ? I will say that I have lived in this county thirty-two years; am an old-fashioned Do- mocrat, have voted for every Democrat from Jackson down to Douglas; but before I would vote for any man who opposes the prosecution of this war until the flag of the United States shall wave in triumph over every foot of our country, I would suffer my right arm to be severed from my body. To my mind, many of the Democrats have dis- graced the name by endeavoring to build up the party upon the downfall of our Govern- ment. THE DEFENCE OF THE MILITARY COMMISSION. "The Law, as they understood it." HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT CENTRAL MISSOURI, Office District Judge Advocate, Jefferson City, Mo., February 11, 1864. Gentlemen of the House Committee of Nine: In reply to your interrogatory of this date as to whether or not John Maddox and his associates from Johnson county had a fair trial before the Military Commission, and if any attempt was made by the military authorities to influence the decision of the com- mission, or in any way prevent an equitable defence being made; I desire, in reply, simply to say, that the commission which investigated the cases of Maddox and his company " Q," as it was called (and of which I was Judge Advocate), was composed of officers of known probity of intention, and whose minds could not be biassed by any extrinsic matter; their sole guide in determining the questions which arose before them, was the law, as they understood it, and in a final disposition of the case, the evi- dence which was adduced before them. These men did have a fair and impartial trial. A Military Commission is an inde- pendent body, over whose acts there exists no authority of intervention other than that which is given to the reviewing authority, after the commission has completed its la- bors. There is no military authority in existence which can interfere with or influence the acts and deliberations of a Military Commission during the investigation of a case. No influence was brought to bear from any source, civil or military; neither was any attempted, by which to determine the acts of the commission in these cases. I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, Respectfully your obedient servant, A. R. CONKLIN, Capt., Judge Advocate Cen. Dis. Mo. Addressed by envelope to Jo. Davis, House of Representatives.


Title:Report of the Committee of the House of Representatives of the twenty-second General Assembly of the state of Missouri appointed to investigate the conduct and management of the militia including an index
Author:The State Historical Society of Missouri
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