Report of Quantrill's Raid, Lieut. Col. Bazel F. Lazear, 27 Aug 1863
LEXINGTON, MO., August 27, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that at 10 o'clock, August 20, I received information, at Warrensburg, that Quantrill, with 250 men, had passed 12 miles north of that place on the 19th, going west. I immediately dispatched messengers to Lexington and Harrisonville, asking for all the force that could be sent from those stations to meet me at Chapel Hill at daylight next morning.
I left Warrensburg at 10 o'clock a.m. with 100 men of Companies C, I, and K. We formed a junction near Chapel Hill with Major Mullins, with 130 men of Companies B, F, G, and H, all of First Missouri State Militia Cavalry. Delayed here until late in the evening waiting on detachment from Lexington, when Colonel Neill, with 50 men of Fifth Provisional Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia, came up; pushed on that night as far as Lone Jack. Started early on the morning of the 22d on Quantrill's trail as far as Big Creek, 5 miles northwest of Pleasant Hill, where we stopped to feed, and as soon as the advance came out of the brush west of Big Creek they discovered a body of men some half mile in their front. The whole command was immediately ordered up and parties sent out to discover who they were, when they replied that they were Federal troops, but would not say whose command they belonged to. Fearing they were Federal troops, I rode forward and satisfied myself they were bushwhackers, and were forming line of battle behind a fence; and as they were on top of a ridge, and were still coming up, I thought it prudent to dismount a company to take the advance. While engaged in this, they commenced retreating from their right. After going some three-quarters of a mile, they changed their course to their left, and formed just over a ridge, where we came up with them and exchanged several rounds, when they broke for the brush. Five were killed. Have heard since several were wounded; several horses killed and some captured. Some goods were picked up, but mostly left. The ground they passed over was strewed with goods of every description. As soon as I found they had scattered, the force was divided, and Capt. H. F. Peery, in command of one of the detachments, came up with them late in the evening, and fought them in the brush a considerable time, when they again scattered in every direction. Five more were killed in this engagement. Our casualties were none, so far. I attempted to guard the passes that night to keep them from passing east, but the most of them passed over, several parties of them being fired upon, and 1 rebel killed. From two prisoners we learned this party was commanded by Quantrill, and that there were 200 men.
August 23, the brush of Big Creek was scoured, but none found.
[August] 24 marched from Pleasant Hill to Lone Jack, and from there to the head of Texas Prairie. Saw some trails, but no rebels. One of the prisoners took us to one of their camps, but found nothing but about a keg of powder and some corn, which was destroyed.
[August] 25, divided the command (except Colonel Neill's force, who left the 24th) into small parties, and scoured the country from the head of Texas Prairie north of Big Sni, and some 10 miles south of the prairie, sending Captain Jackson as far south as Kingsville, where I learned the party passed the day before. I have not heard from him yet, although he was to report to me at Hopewell. We had a number of skirmishes this day, killing 3 (no doubt wounding several) and capturing a number of horses, and some prisoners, who were unarmed, and a female, by the name of Miss Hutchins, of this place, who was standing picket while 2 bushwhackers were eating their dinner, and since their capture by giving them timely notice of the approach of troops. Our casualties to-day were 1 killed and 1 wounded, viz: Killed, Robert C. Key, private Company K, and wounded, Joshua Stevens, Company I.
[August] 26, a picket skirmish this morning near Hopewell, and a long chase after a party of 30, but they scattered in the brush. Learned 1 was wounded in the skirmish this morning. From here scoured the country to Greenton, and, finding no fresh traces, I concluded best to come to this place and get our horses shod, some supplies, and learn something of the movements of other troops, so that I could co-operate with them.
I cannot close this report without calling your attention to the fact that if we had been armed so that we could have made a charge, we could have captured Quantrill's entire command; but cavalry armed with long guns, and these empty, are not in a very good condition to make a charge on an enemy.
Officers and men behaved well, and I take pleasure in mentioning the names of Captains Peery, W. Meredith, M. Burris, and Lieutenants [B. F.] Johnson, J. D. Mullins, D. Groomer, and P.S. Kenney. The latter is our quartermaster, and is certainly one of the bravest and coolest men I have met with during an engagement, and is well worthy of promotion. I must also call your attention to Corpl. Andrew J. Fuller, of Company I, who seized a bushwhacker, after they had emptied their revolvers, and beat his brains out with his pistol. This is the same man who a short time since attacked 3 bushwhackers, killing 2 and running the third. His bravery is certainly worthy of reward.
In closing this report, I would recommend that every citizen, man, woman, and child, in Texas Prairie, and near it, be sent out of the country, and troops sent there to use up the forage, or that it be destroyed. There are large quantities of it there, and every farmer there, with one or two exceptions, favors and feeds the bushwhackers, and the quickest way to destroy them is to destroy their subsistence and remove their friends.
The whole number killed during the scout was 16; brought in 8 male and 2 female prisoners; ordered a number of females to report to the provost-marshal; 25 horses, several guns and pistols.
I am, general, very respectfully,
B. F. LAZEAR, Lieutenant-Colonel First Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
Brigadier-General EWING, Comdg. Border District, Dept. of the Missouri, Kansas City, Mo.