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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

Battlefield Dispatches No. 233: 'Killed on the Spot, Night Attacks and Deadly Pursuit'

Friday, September 24, 2010

Guerrilla Warfare in any war is violent, vicious and quick and this was especially true in Missouri and Kansas during the Civil War. Enemy soldiers were often "Killed on the Spot" and not taken prisoner and the attacks occurred night and day, whenever the opportunity presented itself. If an attack failed, it could result in a deadly fatal pursuit of the guerrillas by a relentless foe. The following after action reports describe such incidents and are located on Pages 616-618 in Series I, Vol. 22, Part I Reports of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion.

"Headquarters Post of Houston,

Houston, Missouri Sept. 14, 1863.

[To:] Captain J. Lovell,

Assistant Adjutant General, District of Rolla,

Captain: I have the honor to make the following report to you for the information of the general commanding: At midnight, September 11, information was brought to me that 6 GUERRILLAS [Bushwhackers, if you are of the northern persuasion], with 5 horses, had just passed a house 10 miles south of me. I immediately sent Captain S. B. Richardson, with 10 men of company B and 10 of Company D, in pursuit, who, on arriving at the place where the rebels were seen, found that they had got supper and gone south. Captain Richardson followed them for 57 miles without stopping and ascertained that one of the rebels (Martin Dodds) had left the party and gone to Thomasville and another had lost the way the night before, but that the remaining four were in the woods farther on. Captain Richardson finding farther pursuit impossible at this time, as he had 67 miles without feeding, now rested in the woods until morning, when he pushed forward and found the rebels asleep in the woods, who, on their approach awoke and ran. Three, in the attempt to escape, were KILLED ON THE SPOT! Their names are William Lingo of Waynesville; Lieutenant Obe Moss ofPulaski County & Jacob Bottom. The remaining man (Oscar D. Blount) of Saint Louis was shot through both thighs and is now in the hospital at this post.

With these men were captured 11 horses, 2 of which were stage horses and 3 taken from a wagon on the road near Rolla; 7 citizen's saddles & 3 bridles, 1 of them belonging to the stage company; 32 pairs of men's shoes, 17 pairs of women's shoes, 2 bolts of domestic, 3 sacks of coffee, 1 United States newspaper bag & 1 set of stage lines [reins]. This is the most important capture made in this country and too much credit cannot be awarded

Captain Richardson and these men for their perseverance in the pursuit of these OUTLAWS!

I enclose a letter found on the body of Lieutenant Moss and written by Col. Brodie Hull to his wife in Arkansas. The letter was given to Moss for delivery.

I have gained some valuable information from the wounded man Blount. He gave me the names of those that harbor & feed them. Among these are Andy Hall, living close to Judge York's and Purcell, close to Licking. I also found that William Lingo had 13 horses and a great variety of stolen property at the house of John King, close to the Arkansas line; and Lee Tilly, son of Tilly near Waynesville, has also a number of horses and other articles secreted in that vicinity. If I could get permission to make a scout down there, I think it would be profitable; but my horses are completely worn out from the amount of duty to perform and with 25 of company G taken away for the two howitzers and 8 more of the same Company under arrest at Rolla for MUTINY, my available force is very much reduced and if the general should approve of this anticipated scout I would request that he send me about 50 men, with fresh horses and these, with what I can mount here, would make a force amply sufficient for this enterprise.

The horses and other property taken is this scout I will send to Rolla by the next [supply] train and by mail I will send you a complete statement of the wounded man Blount.

Believing this will receive your careful attention, I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

RICHARD MURPHY,

Captain, commanding Post.

"Deadly Night Attack & Pursuit"

[To:] Lieut. Colonel Joseph P. Epstein

Commanding 5th Mo., State Militia Cavalry.

Salem, Mo., September 13,1863 - 8 p.m.

Colonel: After the dispersion of Colonel Freeman and his BAND of THIEVES, they attempted to attack this post last night at 3 o'clock; were ROUTED & driven off, with the loss of 1 man killed and mortally wounded & the loss of some 10 guns & hats, boots, etc., which they left on the ground. Our loss none. Lieut. Charles Koch just returned and made the following report.

In compliance with orders received from headquarters 5th Mo., S. M. C., I started together with Lieutenant M. S. Eddleman and 80 men of companies C & M 5th Mo. S. M. Cavalry, at about 6 a.m. in pursuit of the rebel force which attempted to attack our camp last night. We followed their trail with the utmost speed and ascertained of the inhabitants of houses that we passed that their force was from 200 - 300 strong. They did not keep any road, but went right through the woods &over the mountains, so that we were several times obliged to dismount to get our horses down the cliffs. After three hours hard ride, making about 20 miles in that time, we had the satisfaction to see the force right before us ON A HILL. READY FOR A FIGHT! While myself, with the men of company C attacked in the front, Lieutenant Eddleman, with the men of Company M, made a flank movement on the right flank, charging on the enemy at the same time, as well as my command from the front. The rebels could not stand this COMBINED CHARGE and after about 20 minutes resistance, fled in every direction. Rebel loss 14 KILLED & a good many more wounded, as we found in the pursuit many SIGNS of BLOOD. We captured in all about 24 guns, 5 horses & 2 MULES. Among the KILLED was Captain Post, whose recruiting commission I herewith enclose.

No others were recognized. The rebels were commanded by Colonel Freeman & had in their company William Orchard and a certain Duckworth from this place. Our loss was 3 men wounded of Company M, one of them severely in the knee; also one citizen, Mr. Copeland, who voluntarily joined Company C & was shot in the thigh. We had 1 horse killed and 5 wounded, among them the horse of your reporter. We also have to report the supposed capture of a private of Company M, who got wounded and being unable to follow any farther, started homeward with other wounded and supposed is captured, as they were followed by a part of the rebels and his horse gave out and nothing has been heard from him since, while the others have arrived in camp.

Closing this my respectful report, I must express my entire satisfaction with the behavior of all men under my command, who CHARGED on the enemy, far superior in numbers, with great gallantry; and if it had not been for the thick underbrush, which was almost impassable, we would have been more successful.

Transmitting to you the written report, I assure you that I have all necessary steps taken to secure the safety of the camp and to ascertain all rebel movements going on in this section of the country, so far as my small command is capable. I must say Lieuts. Charles Koch and Eddleman and men deserve the greatest of praise for their coolness and promptness in pursuing the rebels.

Please refer this report to the general commanding the district.

L. E. WHYBARK,

Captain, Comdg., Detachment 5th Mo. St. Militia Cavalry."

Now then, being "killed on the Spot", night attacks and deadly pursuit continued with a VENGEANCE in Missouri and eastern Kansas and of course the War Went On!

Arnold W. Schofield
Battlefield Dispatches