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Pacific Railroad to Tipton and then turned north on the
road to Boonville, bivouacking that night within ten miles
of that place, without having encountered the enemy that
day. With the divisions of Fagan and Marmaduke,
General Price marched that day from his encampment on
the Moniteau, near Pisgah on the California and Boonville
road, into Boonville, where he remained two days, re-
cruiting, receiving such bandit leaders as Quantrill and
Bill Anderson, and distributing the property of various
kinds of which his army had plundered the Union citizens
since entering the State.

Having received information that Price had entered
Boonville with his army. General Sanborn moved forward
the next morning, the nth, for the purpose of observing
the movements and annoying the enemy as much as pos-
sible. He directed Colonel John F. McMahan, command-
ing the Sixth Provisional Regiment Missouri Enrolled
Militia, to move to the right until he struck the road lead-
ing from Pisgah to Boonville, and to advance on that road
and drive in the pickets or any force he might encounter.
About the same time Colonel James McFerran, com-
manding the First Missouri State Militia, was directed to
move to the left with his regiment until he struck the
Bellair and Boonville road and if practicable to pass
from that road over to the road leading from Georgetown
to Boonville, and ascertain whether the enemy were pass-
ing west on either of those roads. In the afternoon of
that day Colonel Philips was directed to move with the
balance of the First Brigade over to the Georgetown and
Boonville road, and if the trains of the Southern army had
not passed west, to advance on that road as near to the
town as practicable, attacking and driving in any hostile
force or pickets he might meet. In the order described
General Sanborn's force moved forward until the Confed-
erate pickets were met and driven in on the different
roads leading into Boonville. His right under Colonel


McMahan was the first to strike the Confederate pickets
and drive them in upon a line of skirmishers about three
miles south of town. Here Colonel McMahan halted and
awaited the arrival of the other regiments of the brigade
under Colonel Gravely, who would direct the further
movement of his command in person. The Sixth Pro-
visional Militia under Colonel McMahan were dismounted
and deployed as skirmishers, and on their right three
companies of the Second Arkansas Cavalry under Colo-
nel Phelps were deployed as mounted skirmishers.
Colonel Phelps also brought up four companies of his
regiment for support. The skirmish-line thus formed
moved forward and drove the Confederate skirmishers
from the brush back upon their main line nearly to the
city limits and under the protection of their batteries.

While Colonels McMahan and Phelps with their com-
mands were engaging the enemy near the city, drawn up
in long line of battle, a Confederate force moved around
their right flank upon their rear. This force was vigor-
ously attacked by Major Plumb, commanding the Sixth
Missouri State Militia, then in reserve, and driven off
with some loss. The demonstration of the Federal force
having developed a line of battle of two divisions of
Price's army. Colonel Gravely retired his skirmish-line
upon his reserve. In an hour or so General Sanborn
ordered the line forward again and it advanced firing to
within musket-range of Price's line of battle, drawing the
fire from his small-arms and artillery, after which it soon
retired to its former position. As the shades of night
were now descending, the Federal troops on that part of
the field were withdrawn to the south side of Sahne
Creek and went into bivouac.

While these operations of the Third Brigade were in
progress on the Federal right, Colonel Philips with the
First Brigade moved forward on the Georgetown and
Boonville road and drove the Confederate pickets on that


road back upon a strong force occupying a position from '
which he was unable to dislodge it in the darkness of the
night. He moved two battalions of the Fourth Missouri
State Militia to the front to keep up a harassing fire on
the Confederate line during part of the night, and with
the balance of the brigade bivouacked a short distance
in the rear. He marched the next morning before day-
break and joined General Sanborn on the Tipton and
Boonville road, leaving the Fourth Missouri State Militia
in position to cover his movement.

On the morning of the 12th, just before daybreak,
Colonel J. A. Eppstein was directed to move with his
regiment, the Fifth Missouri State Militia, to the left
over on the Bellair and Boonville road, and to advance
in the direction of Boonville as far as practicable on that
road. When he reached that road and crossed over the
bridge to the north side of Saline Creek at daylight, he
met the Confederate advance, consisting of a regiment
under Lieutenant-Colonel Nichols of Jackman's brigade,
Shelby's division. In a moment Major Kaiser, com-
manding the Federal advance of two companies, dis-
mounted his men and formed a line of skirmishers on
each side of the road, opened fire on the enemy and
drove them back nearly a mile, when they were reinforced
by Colonel D. C. Hunter's regiment and made a stand
behind rail fences and barns and stables. At this junc-
ture Colonel Eppstein reinforced his advance under Major
Kaiser with two additional companies, and with the as-
sistance of two mountain howitzers, supported by two
hundred men, drove the Confederates from their position
and pursued them about a mile, when they were rein-
forced by Lieutenant-Colonel Schnable's regiment and
two pieces of artillery and made another stand at the
junction of the east and west roads leading from Tipton
to Boonville. As Colonel Eppstein could plainly see that
the Confederates largely outnumbered his own force, and


as there were no reinforcements in sight to cover his rear,
he did not consider it advisable to press the fight so hotly
as to carry the position as he had done in his first and
second attacks that morning. He reported the situation
to Colonel Beveridge, commanding the brigade, and was
ordered to retire, and soon joined the other brigades of
the division on the return march to California for rations,
of which the troops had exhausted their haversacks. In
the several skirmishes that morning Colonel Eppstein
reported his casualties two men killed and four wounded.
Colonel Jackman reported the loss in his brigade at four
men killed and twenty wounded, and having his own
horse shot under him.

While General Sanborn with his division of cavalry
was thus observing and keeping the Southern army to-
gether in constant expectation of a general attack. Gen-
eral Rosecrans was pushing forward the troops of the
divisions of Generals Smith and Mower of the Sixteenth
Army Corps as rapidly as practicable, by transports up
the Missouri River, by railroad, and by forced marches
by land. When the danger of an attack on St. Louis
had passed and the Regular troops were being pushed
forward to operate against the Southern army in Central
and Western Missouri, General Pike with his division of
Enrolled Militia was charged with guarding the line of
communication between Jefferson City and St. Louis and
of occupying the principal towns on the line of the rail-
road between those points. The advance infantry bri-
gade of General Smith's command of the Sixteenth Army
Corps, and also a brigade of fifteen hundred veteran
cavalry under Colonel Catherwood, Thirteenth Missouri
Cavalry, arrived at California on the I2th.

A force of men was at once put to work repairing the
railroad track to Lamine Bridge, and on the 15th the in-
fantry brigades of the First Division of the Sixteenth
Army Corps, which had been brought up to Jefferson


City on transports, commenced to arrive on the cars. By
the 19th all the infantry of the First and Third Divisions,
Sixteenth Army Corps, under General A. J. Smith had
passed west of Lamine Bridge, marching via Sedalia to
Lexington. On the 19th General Pleasonton arrived at
Dunksburg, sixteen miles northwest of Sedalia, and as-
sumed command of the Provisional Cavalry Division just
organized, consisting of the three brigades of cavalry
under General Sanborn and a brigade from the cavalry
division of the Sixteenth Army Corps under Colonel E.
F. Winslow, Fourth Iowa Cavalry, which had marched
from St. Louis and Jefferson City.

Having been joined by Colonel Catherwood's brigade,
and having supplied his command with four days' rations
at California, General Sanborn returned to Boonville on
the morning of the 13th, Catherwood's brigade leading
the advance. He soon ascertained that Price's army had
left during the night and early that morning, marching
west in the direction of Lexington. He immediately
started in pursuit, marching on roads in the rear and to
the left and south of the Southern forces, so that he could
observe well their movements ; for he desired to hold
them in Saline County in the Great Bend of the Missouri
River until the infantry and artillery under General Smith
and a brigade of cavalry under Colonel Winslow should
come up, and to give time to General Curtis, command-
ing the Department of Kansas, to organize and concen-
trate his troops and the Kansas militia on the Border.

The night he left Boonville General Price received in-
formation that there were several thousand stands of
small-arms stored in the city hall at Glasgow on the east
bank of the Missouri River, guarded by a small Federal
force, and as he wished the arms to put into the hands of
his numerous recruits, he directed General Clark to pro-
ceed with his brigade, a section of artillery, and five
hundred men of Jackman's brigade, cross the river at


Arrow Rock, and attack and capture the garrison at Glas-
gow, with all the arms and military supplies at that post.
This movement, though successful to the extent of cap-
turing the garrison of 550 men and their arms and the
destruction of some property, detained Price's army in
the vicinity of Marshall upwards of three days, thus en-
abling General Smith to bring up his infantry and^artillery
within supporting distance of the cavalry under General
Pleasonton, then at Dunksburg and Cook's Store.



The latter part of the summer of 1864, General Curtis,
commanding the Department of Kansas, had a large part
of his troops under Major-General Blunt employed against
hostile Indians on the Upper Arkansas in the western part
of the State. Major-General George Sykes commanded
the District of South Kansas, which included the eastern
Border counties of the State. Brigadier-General E. B.
Brown commanded the District of Central Missouri, and
Brigadier-General John B. Sanborn commanded the Dis-
trict of Southwest Missouri, and the western limits of
their districts included the western Border counties of
Missouri. There was a hearty cooperation between the
district commanders on both sides of the line, and active
operations were conducted against the Southern partisan
bandits, frequently striking them hard and allowing them
little rest. On returning to his headquarters at Fort
Leavenworth on the 17th of September, General Curtis
found despatches awaiting him from General Thayer,
commanding the District of the Frontier, Fort Smith, Ar-
kansas, stating that Price had crossed the Arkansas River
at Dardanelle with two divisions of mounted troops and
a complement of artillery and was advancing north to
invade Missouri. He at once telegraphed this informa-
tion to General Halleck, Washington, to General Rose-

VOL. II. — 28



crans, commanding the Department of Missouri, and to
Governor Carney, of Kansas, and suggested to the Gov-
ernor that the situation might become so menacing as to
require the calling out of the militia of the State to aid
in checking the movements of the enemy. Closely fol-
lowing the reports of the advance of Price north of the
Arkansas River, came information that a force of two or
three thousand men under Generals Gano and Stand
Watie had crossed the Arkansas River above Fort Gibson
and was moving up through the Indian Territory to make
a raid into Southern Kansas to destroy if possible the
large supply depot at Fort Scott.

Each day brought additional information of the ap-
proaching storm, and on the 20th of September General
Curtis received a despatch from Colonel Blair, command-
ing at Fort Scott, that the Confederate force under Gen-
eral Gano, advancing north through the Indian Territory,
had captured a large Federal supply train of upv/ards of
two hundred wagons at Cabin Creek and had retired to
the south side of the Arkansas River. For nearly two
weeks after Price crossed to the north side of the Ar-
kansas River no certain information could be obtained
whether his invading columns would enter Southwest or
Southeast Missouri, so that General Curtis, like General
Rosecrans, was at first unable to determine at what point
he should concentrate his troops. He was satisfied that
if the Southern forces entered Southwest Missouri they
would swing around through the eastern Border counties
of Kansas, and that if they entered Southeastern Mis-
souri, they would be driven west into Kansas by the
troops in the Department of Missouri, if they did not
meet with determined resistance. To prepare for the
coming struggle he ordered General Blunt, commanding
the District of the Upper Arkansas, to stop his pursuit of
the hostile Indians and to move with such troops as could
be spared from that district to Council Grove, thence to


Olathe, near the eastern line of the State. In view of the
fact that large Confederate raiding forces had twice within
the last two years advanced through the western counties
of Missouri to the Missouri River, the Department com-
mander of Kansas deemed it advisable to construct forti-
fications of considerable strength at Fort Scott, Paola,
and Lawrence and to mount siege-guns, with a sufificient
force to man them, for the protection of those places.
In addition to the rifle-pits, there were three detached
bastions for the four 24-pounder siege-guns mounted at
Fort Scott. On account of the large quantities of army
supplies kept at that post, there were nearly always from
five hundred to one thousand troops stationed there, to-
gether with some field artillery.

When it was satisfactorily ascertained that the large
Confederate force in Southeast Missouri was Price's
army. General Curtis was kept constantly advised of its
progress north to the vicinity of St. Louis and to the
Missouri River by General Rosecrans. As soon as it was
known that Price had given up his intention of attacking
or investing St. Louis, and after striking the Missouri
River at Washington had turned west in the direction of
Jefferson City, General Curtis was satisfied that the next
objective of the Southern forces was the invasion of
Kansas for plunder and revenge, and on the 5th of Octo-
ber wrote Governor Carney urging him to call out the
Kansas militia immediately, equipped for service for
thirty days. The Governor did not at once issue his
proclamation calling out the militia, for he argued that
the forces of General Rosecrans would probably overtake
and strike Price such a blow that he would be unable to
reach Kansas. An election for State officers and Presi-
dential electors would take place next month, and as the
people were in the midst of a heated political canvass,
the Governor was anxious that the expense and necessity
of calling out the citizens for military service, even for a


short period, might be averted. When the newspapers
first discussed the probability or possibility of the Gover-
nor's calling out the militia, those who were opposed to the
friends of the National Administration charged that the
scheme for the call was for political effect, and denounc-
ing it aroused some opposition. There were few telegraph
lines in the State, and outside of three or four cities the
great mass of the people were not advised of the position
or of any given movement of the enemy until a week or
more had elapsed.

After Price struck the Pacific Railroad, interrupting
communication between St. Louis and Jefferson City,
Generals Brown and Fisk at the latter place kept General
Curtis advised by telegraph of the movements west of
the hostile forces until they appeared before the State
capital on the 7th. But as Price concluded not to attack
Jefferson City and passed it on his flank with some skir-
mishing, General Curtis saw that no time should be lost in
organizing and concentrating his forces in the neighbor-
hood of Kansas City and Olathe, Kansas, at the earliest
practicable moment, and on the 8th wrote Governor Car-
ney again urging him to issue his proclamation calling out
the militia. In response to the General's request the
Governor issued his proclamation on the 8th, calling out
the people for the defence of the State against the threat-
ened invasion, and directed the suspension of all business
until the crisis had passed.

Major-General George W. Deitzler, who as colonel had
gallantly led the First Kansas Infantry at the battle of
Wilson Creek until he was severely wounded, was by the
Governor placed in command of the Kansas militia and
charged with their immediate organization for service on
the Border. He at once issued orders to his brigade com-
manders to concentrate their regiments and detachments
at designated places, prepared for active service for thirty
days, unless sooner discharged, and to see that each man


was supplied with two blankets, haversack, and some of
the conveniences for preparing, cooking, and eating his
food. The men were also to bring such small-arms as
they had, with supply of ammunition. On receipt of
these orders the brigadier-generals of districts forthwith
notified their regimental commanders to order into the
field every man liable to duty and then to march with
their respective regiments to the places designated for
concentration. To secure prompt and efficient military
organization and action, General Curtis issued an order
declaring martial law throughout the State of Kansas,
and requiring all men subject to military duty to attach
themselves to some of the organizations of troops which
were being raised in every locality to oppose the ap-
proaching hostile forces. On assuming command of the
militia, General Deitzler designated Olathe as the head-
quarters of the State forces and the point of general con-
centration of the different organizations at the earliest
practicable moment. That the people might understand
and appreciate the imminent danger. General Curtis gave
out to the press for publication the latest despatches an-
nouncing the movements and rapid approach of the
enemy, so that intense interest and excitement were
aroused, which rapidly spread to the remotest districts,
causing a suspension of business on the farms, in the
shops, and by all classes throughout the State.

In less than four days after General Deitzler issued his
orders mobilizing the militia, organizations were marching
from all parts of the State in the direction of the point of
concentration at Olathe. Several regiments arrived at
that place on the evening of October 12th, but as General
Curtis had already arrived and found wood and water
scarce, he determined to take a more advanced position,
at Shawneetown, about half-way between Olathe and
Kansas City, and so advised General Deitzler. The regi-
ments which had arrived and all other militia organizations


as they came up were directed to proceed to the new
rendezvous at Shawneetown, where they were immedi-
ately armed and equipped for the field. Of the twenty-
four regiments of Kansas militia mobilized under the
Governor's proclamation, all had arrived at the encamp-
ment at Shawneetown by the i6th except those ordered
to rendezvous at Atchison and Leavenworth and some
detachments left to hold the posts at Paola and Mound

As soon as General Blunt arrived from the District of
the Upper Arkansas, he was directed to proceed to Paola
and relieve Major-General George Sykes of the command
of the District of South Kansas. On assuming com-
mand of his new district on the lOth, General Blunt at
once commenced to put his troops in condition for active
service against the approaching foe. The militia and
troops thus collected and organized formed two divisions,
which General Curtis called " The Army of the Border."
The First Division, Major-General Blunt commanding,
consisted of four brigades and seventeen pieces of
artillery, mostly i2-pounder mountain howitzers. The
Second Division, Major-General Deitzler commanding,
consisted of about eight thousand Kansas militia and
some artillery, and at first formed the left wing of the
Army of the Border, the First Division forming the right

On the 13th General Blunt was directed to move to
Hickman's Mills, in the southern part of Jackson County,
Missouri, with his mounted force and artillery, and to
send a scout far enough east to ascertain whether Price
had moved south. Most of the Kansas militia were op-
posed to crossing the State line into Missouri, and were
posted along Turkey Creek from Shawneetown to the
vicinity of Kansas City. The slow advance of the Con-
federate forces and the conflicting reports as to their
position caused the militia to become impatient, and


murmurs of discontent were heard in their camps, border-
ing almost on insubordination. This mutinous spirit was
encouraged by some of the Kansas newspapers denounc-
ing the mobilization of the militia as a fraud and asserting
that Price was not marching in the direction of Kansas,
but had moved south from Central Missouri. A few of
the militia actually started home ; but they were brought
back, and by the tact and firmness displayed by General
Curtis, and by giving publicity to the latest movements
of the advancing foe, the gravity of the situation received
more serious and thoughtful consideration.

As soon as his Regular and militia forces were organized
and equipped, General Curtis was desirous of advancing
the Army of the Border as far east into Missouri as Lone
Jack and Pleasant Hill, in accordance with his own views
and with suggestions from General Rosecrans, but was
obliged to content himself with establishing his main line
on the Big Blue, where he proposed to endeavor to check
the Confederate advance, in consequence of the aversion
of many of the Kansas militia to crossing the State line.
The Second Colorado Cavalry, Colonel J. H. Ford com-
manding, which was serving in the western part of the
Central District of Missouri, was ordered by General
Rosecrans to report to General Curtis on the 29th of
September. Colonel Ford was ordered to concentrate
his regiment at Pleasant Hill, but on the 14th of October
he was instructed to change his headquarters to Independ-
ence and to scout to the front in the direction of Lexing-
ton. General Blunt, who had arrived at Hickman's Mills
with the First Division, was ordered to move with all his
mounted force to Pleasant Hill and reconnoitre in the
direction of Warrensburg.

When General Brown was ordered to concentrate his
forces at Jefferson City for the defence of the capital, the
Second Colorado Cavalry and a few companies of Enrolled
Militia were the only troops left to occupy some of the


important towns and to scout the country and operate
against the bandits in the western part of his district.
He was obliged to evacuate the important post of War-
rensburg, which was then the terminus of the Pacific
Railroad and the headquarters of the Central District of
Missouri, and remove the public property as far as prac-
ticable to Jeflerson City. Before leaving, however, he
had a conference with Major Emory S. Foster, who had
recently resigned from the Seventh Missouri State Militia
Cavalry, on account of wounds received in action, and

Online LibraryWiley BrittonThe Civil War on the border.. → online text (page 35 of 44)