Today in History:

15 Series I Volume XIII- Serial 19 - Missouri - Arkansas Campaign


ing a strong mounted force from Arkansas into the district bordering the Missouri River and at the same time rallying all the insurgents in the central and southern portions of the State, to seize some favorable crossing of the Missouri River and enable the bands, north of the river to cross and join those below.

On August 11, 1862, a rebel force (from 500 to 800 strong) attacked and captured the town of Independence, the garrison (312 strong, under Lieutenant-Colonel Buel, of the Seventh Missouri Cavalry) surrendering after a short resistance.

On August 13, 1862, I was informed that Coffee, with about 1,500 rebel cavalry, had succeeded in evading the forces under General Brown near Springfield, and was moving rapidly to the north. General Brown, under my directions, sent Colonel Clark Wright, of the Sixth Missouri Cavalry, with about 1,200 men, in pursuit of Coffee, and General Totten, commanding the Central Division, was ordered to strike the force which had just captured Independence before it could effect a junction with the force under Coffee. Brigadier-General Blunt, commanding the Department of Kansas, was also requested to send a force from Fort Scott to co-operate with Colonel Wright in cutting off Coffee's retreat.

On August 14 General Totten sent Major Foster, Seventh Militia Cavalry, from Lexington, with about 800 men and two pieces of artillery, also Colonel Fitz Henry Warren, with 1,500 men, from Clinton, with orders to effect a junction near Lone Jack, and attack the forces under Hughes and Quantrill, supposed to be somewhere in Jackson County, and known to have been largely re-enforced by the insurgents from the surrounding country. Colonel Warren failed to effect a junction with Major Foster, and the latter met the combined forces of Coffee and Hughes at Lone Jack, and after a severe conflict, attended with a great loss on both sides, the gallant Major Foster was very severely wounded, his two pieces of artillery captured, and his command forced to fall back to Lexington.

It was now ascertained that the enemy's force, already augmented to 4,500 men and rapidly increasing, was marching on Lexington and would doubtless have attacked that place the next day had it not been checked by the engagement with Major Foster.

As soon as the news of our defeat at Lone Jack reached me I requested General Blunt, who, in compliance with my previous request, had taken the field in person, with a strong force, to push forward north of the Osage and co-operate with General Totten, and the latter took command in person of all his available cavalry and artillery and moved against the enemy.

General Loan, whose troops had been co-operating with Colonel Merrill in Northeastern Missouri, was ordered to Lexington with all his available force.

All these movements were executed with such promptness as to prevent any further loss and to speedily rid the State of the daring invader.

Coffee, becoming alarmed at the large force in his rear, abandoned his cherished project of capturing Lexington and relieving the rebels north of the river. Upon the approach of General Blunt's force Coffee eluded him in the night, and, though hotly pursued to the Arkansas line by General Blunt, and Colonel Wright, succeeded in making his escape, but with considerable loss.

The central portion of the State having thus been cleared of the great body of insurgents, and there being no further serious difficulty to apprehend north of the river, General Totten, who had moved as