GUERRILLA OPERATIONS IN THE CIVIL WAR: ASSESSING COMPOUND WARFARE DURING PRICE’S RAID A thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College ...

... in partial
fulfillment of the requirements for the
Military History
B.S., Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, 1990
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Name of Candidate: Major Dale E. Davis
Thesis Title: Guerrilla Operations in the Civil War: Assessing Compound Warfare during
Price’s Raid
Approved by:
, Thesis Committee Chair
Major David A. Christensen, M.M.A.S.
, Member
Curtis S. King, Ph.D.
, Member
Kelvin D. Crow, M.M.A.S., M.A.
Accepted this 18th day of June 2004 by:
, Director, Graduate Degree Programs
Robert F. Baumann, Ph.D.
The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the student author and do not
necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College or
any other governmental agency. (References to this study should include the foregoing
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Guerrilla operations in the Civil War: assessing compound warfare
during PriceŸs Raid
Dale Davis
US Army Command and General Staff College,1 Reynolds Ave,Fort
Approved for public release; distribution unlimited
The original document contains color images.
One of the most significant areas of guerrilla warfare during the American Civil War occurred along the
Missouri-Kansas border. Many of these guerrilla forces had been active during the Bleeding Kansas period
and continued their activities into the Civil War supporting the Confederacy. The guerrillas attacked
Federal forces and disrupted their lines of communications, raided settlements in Kansas, and attempted to
support Confederate conventional forces operating in the area. In 1864, Major General Sterling Price led a
raid into Missouri in a final attempt to bring the state into the Confederacy. This thesis explores the nature
of guerrilla warfare in the Missouri-Kansas border area and explains how Price and the guerrillas failed to
employ the elements of Compound Warfare to bring Missouri into the Confederacy
19a. NAME OF
Standard Form 298 (Rev. 8-98)
Prescribed by ANSI Std Z39-18
WARFARE DURING PRICE’S RAID, MAJ Dale E. Davis, 120 pages.
One of the most significant areas of guerrilla warfare during the American Civil War
occurred along the Missouri-Kansas border. Many of these guerrilla forces had been
active during the Bleeding Kansas period and continued their activities into the Civil War
supporting the Confederacy. The guerrillas attacked Federal forces and disrupted their
lines of communications, raided settlements in Kansas, and attempted to support
Confederate conventional forces operating in the area. In 1864, Major General Sterling
Price led a raid into Missouri in a final attempt to bring the state into the Confederacy.
This thesis explores the nature of guerrilla warfare in the Missouri-Kansas border area
and explains how Price and the guerrillas failed to employ the elements of Compound
Warfare to bring Missouri into the Confederacy.
I would like to thank LTC Shawn Cupp, MAJ Don Kaderbek, and MAJ Dave
Christensen for encouraging me to stick with it. I would also like to thank Dr. Curtis King
and Mr. Kelvin Crow for their expertise and advice, and a special thank you to Dawn,
Stephanie, Nathan, and Jacob for their love and support while I completed this project.
ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... iii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ..................................................................................................iv
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION.........................................................................................1
CHAPTER 2 BORDER RUFFIANS BECOME GUERRILLAS.....................................10
CHAPTER 3 SETTING THE STAGE FOR PRICE’S RETURN ....................................29
CHAPTER 4 COMPOUND WARFARE DURING THE RAID......................................46
CHAPTER 6 ASSESSING COMPOUND WARFARE ...................................................82
APPENDIX A MAPS........................................................................................................92
MISSOURI ......................................................................................................................108
INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST ....................................................................................113
During the American Civil War, many Southern sympathizers formed irregular
organizations to support the war effort against Union forces, operating throughout the
Southern and border state areas. Irregular forces employed classic guerrilla techniques
including hit and run attacks, raids, and ambushes to harass Federal forces and disrupt
Federal lines of communications. They also attacked pro-Union sympathizers, destroying
or seizing private property to exact revenge or gather provisions for their forces.
Confederate authorities sanctioned some of the irregular forces as Partisan Rangers while
other groups operated in a loose association supporting the Southern cause. The most
significant contribution these guerrilla forces made to the Confederate war effort was to
tie down as much as one-third of the Union Army to occupation duties at different stages
of the war. President Abraham Lincoln recognized the impact of guerrilla activities when
he wrote, “In no other way does the enemy give us so much trouble, at so little expense to
Guerrilla operations during the American Civil War required the Federal
government to expend significant effort in attempts to suppress their support for the
Confederate war effort. The Federal government initially attempted to mitigate the effects
of guerrilla operations with moderate policies to pacify the local populaces, thus
weakening their support to irregular forces, along with the use of military force to
suppress guerrilla activities. As the war progressed, Federal policies became more severe
as Union forces became frustrated in their efforts to defeat the guerrilla forces. The
Federal government occupied portions of Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and Western
Virginia to protect pro-Union governments and citizens in the volatile border area while
campaigning against Confederate regular forces. By late 1862, the most common
technique employed by Union forces was to establish small posts in the major towns
throughout the region supported by mobile reserve forces located in the county seats
diverting troop strength away from the conventional battles. Forces committed to the
counter-guerrilla effort conducted patrols, raids, and sweeps throughout the occupied
areas to track and defeat guerrilla forces. Union efforts also included forces in defensive
positions to secure railroads, bridges, and other points of key terrain and facilities.2
In addition to military efforts, commanders used policy measures to combat
guerrilla activities. Major General Henry W. Halleck, commander of the Department of
the Mississippi, declared in March 1862, that anyone caught conducting sabotage would
be considered an outlaw and would be shot on sight. Another policy attempt to stem the
effectiveness of the guerrillas was Order No. 11, issued in August 1863 by General
Thomas Ewing, commander of the District of the Border between Missouri and Kansas.
This order was intended to depopulate Jackson, Cass, Bates, and Vernon Counties along
the Missouri border to deny sanctuary for the guerrillas (see Maps, Appendix A).3
One of the most violent areas of guerrilla activity requiring the Federal
government’s attention was along the Missouri and Kansas border. Guerrilla forces led
by William Clarke Quantrill terrorized pro-Union supporters and harassed Union forces
throughout the Missouri-Kansas border area. The most significant operation conducted
by Quantrill was the raid on Lawrence, Kansas in August 1863. Quantrill led a force of
approximately 450 guerrillas that killed over 150 inhabitants of Lawrence and destroyed
much of the town during the raid. After the raid, Quantrill began to lose control of the
organization, and some of his followers formed smaller organizations of their own. The
most significant of these splinter groups were those formed by William “Bloody Bill”
Anderson and George Todd.
Anderson and Todd led irregular forces that plunged the Missouri River Valley
into terror during the summer of 1864, disrupting Federal forces and lines of
communication preparing the way for Price’s Raid into Missouri in September and
October 1864. After successes in the Camden Expedition and the Red River Campaign in
the spring of 1864, the Confederates once again attempted to secure Missouri by force.
To be successful, Price needed to strike quickly by seizing key terrain and facilities
before they could be adequately defended, and he would need to use all means available
to defeat Federal forces in the state. During the raid, the guerrillas massed their forces in
close proximity to the Confederate regular forces conducting the raid, resulting in the
deaths of Todd and Anderson and many of their men. Price was defeated and retreated
back to Louisiana. In the wake of his army, most of the guerrillas fled the state for winter
quarters in Texas while Quantrill formed a group of 30 guerrillas and departed Missouri
heading east toward Kentucky.
Returning to Missouri the following summer, the guerrillas found themselves
operating against Federal forces conducting aggressive counter-guerrilla operations able
to disperse without the threat of a conventional Confederate attack. The guerrillas also
began to lose their sanctuary in their normal area of operations. Many years of fighting
and bushwhacking devastated the area that provided them little sustenance and popular
support. With the surrender of the Confederate regular forces and rapidly loosing their
sanctuary, many of the guerrillas surrendered, effectively ending over a decade of conflict
in the border area.
The success of the Confederate strategy in 1864 in the Trans-Mississippi
Department depended in part on Price’s ability to employ the elements of Compound
Warfare. “Compound Warfare,” as coined by Dr. Thomas Huber, “is the simultaneous
use of a regular force and an irregular force against an enemy.”4 Compound Warfare
usually occurs when a major power occupies a minor power’s territory and the minor
power utilizes both a regular and irregular force to defeat the major power. To be
successful, the major power must first mass against and defeat the minor power’s
conventional force, then disperse to suppress the guerrilla force throughout the territory.
If the minor power’s effort is well coordinated, the challenges are very difficult for the
major power to overcome. For the minor power, success is measured in persistence
versus predominance. The minor power must “fortify” his elements of Compound
Warfare to succeed usually by securing the assistance of a powerful major ally and
creating a safe haven for his conventional force. Fortified Compound Warfare allows the
minor force to use the ally’s power to diffuse the major power’s force brought against
him and the use of a safe haven to preserve his conventional force from destruction. The
commitment or threat of commitment of this conventional force prevents the major power
from dispersing to defeat the guerrilla force, while the guerrilla force prevents the major
power from massing to defeat the conventional force making it almost impossible to
overcome. In other words, combining the effects of both a regular or conventional force
and an irregular or guerrilla force to “compound” the effects against the major power
coupled with the transferred power of a major ally and the resilience provided by a safe
haven to shield his conventional force allows a minor force to debilitate and defeat a
major power.5
During Price’s Raid, Major General Sterling Price failed to properly employ the
elements of Compound Warfare to bring Missouri into the Confederacy. By failing to
adequately coordinate and employ the efforts of the regular and irregular forces operating
in the state, Price lost the advantage he could have exploited had he employed the
irregular forces to prevent Union forces from massing against his regular force during the
raid. Price’s failure was also a result of the slow progress of the regular force during the
raid and the irregulars massing in close proximity to the Price’s regular troops. With
Price’s regular force defeated, the guerrillas were left to confront the numerically
superior Union forces operating in Missouri.
Several sources chronicle the events along the Kansas-Missouri border during
Bleeding Kansas from 1854 to 1861 and the Civil War from 1861 to 1865, and
specifically, the actions of guerrilla forces supporting Price’s Raid in 1864. Most sources
either romanticize about the heroics of the guerrillas as defenders of their homes or
demonize them as terrorists and privateers. One of the better early sources is Quantrill
and the Border Wars written by William Connelly in 1910. It is based on first hand
accounts and letters that tell of the events that shaped guerrilla warfare along the Kansas
and Missouri border during the Bleeding Kansas period and into the Civil War. However,
Connelly has an anti-Confederate bias, and Quantrill is depicted as a “depraved and
degenerate villain.”6 Many other sources about Quantrill and the war along the Kansas-
Missouri border, like The Devil Knows How to Ride written by Edward Leslie in 1996,
relied on and cited Connelly’s work, but Leslie provided a more moderate assessment of
Another key source is the two volumes of The Civil War on the Border written by
Wiley Britton in the 1890s. Britton relies on official records of the Union and
Confederate commanders to chronicle the events of the Civil War. However, one of the
problems with a subject like guerrilla operations is that many guerrilla leaders did not
provide written reports of their actions, and in addition, Quantrill stopped writing letters
home in June of 1860. Other important sources include William Clarke Quantrill: His
Life and Times by Albert Castel, whose detailed account provides good information and a
balanced assessment of the characters and events to collaborate other sources.
On the other hand, Three Years with Quantrill by O. S. Barton and Noted
Guerrillas, or the Warfare on the Border by John Edwards provide alternate views of
events described in other sources. For example, Barton relates John McCorkle’s account
of the story about guerrillas who Price’s army before the Battle of Westport. Barton states
that they were asked to leave because their presence was inciting the Federals to execute
Confederate prisoners while most other sources indicate that Price banished them from
the army for executing Kansas Militia prisoners.7
Other sources, such as Action Before Westport, 1864 by Howard Monnett,
General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West by Albert Castel, and Civil War on
the Western Border, 1854-1865 by Jay Monaghan provided excellent accounts of the
major operations in the Trans-Mississippi Department during the Civil War. Finally, the
framework for the assessment and the relevance in the subject were derived from
Compound Warfare, That Fatal Knot by Thomas Huber and U. S. Army Counterinsurgency
and Contingency Operations Doctrine, 1860-1941 by Andrew Birtle.
These sources provide an insight into guerrilla operations along the Kansas and
Missouri border during the Civil War. Through examining this instance of Compound
Warfare, one can develop a greater understanding of how to recognize Compound
Warfare, especially when fortified by a regular force in a safe haven and with a powerful
ally, and how to defeat it. From the formation of Jayhawkers and Border Ruffians to the
partisan rangers, this paper will explain how the violence before the war shaped the
conduct of guerrillas leading up to Price’s Raid. Then, through the analysis of Price’s
Raid, I will identify the contributing factors that denied the Confederate forces the ability
to capitalize on the advantages provided by the components of Compound Warfare.
Chapter 1 introduces the importance of guerrilla operations during the Civil War
and in particular along the Kansas and Missouri border. It also includes the thesis
statement, literature review, and chapter outline.
Chapter 2 provides the necessary background information to understand the
conditions and influences created by 40 years of arguments and compromises over the
issue of slavery that finally led to guerrilla warfare in the Trans-Mississippi Theater
during the war. This chapter chronicles guerrilla operations through Bleeding Kansas to
the Lawrence Raid in August 1863. It explains how the guerrilla bands formed and
describes how violent actions during the Bleeding Kansas period carried over into the
Civil War.
Chapter 3 describes the situation leading up to Price’s Raid through Missouri
including Confederate victories in Louisiana and Arkansas freeing Price’s force to return
to Missouri. It also describes guerrilla operations in the Missouri River Valley preceding
Price’s Raid, including the Centralia raid, and ends with an assessment of the effect of the
guerrilla operations.
Chapter 4 will describe Price’s return to Missouri including the actions at Pilot
Knob, St. Louis, and Jefferson City as well as Price’s movement to Boonville where he
linked up with Anderson and Todd. It will include analysis on Anderson’s raids on
Florence, High Hill, and Danville, as well as Glasgow.
Chapter 5 will describe the Confederate attacks at Lexington, Independence, Little
Blue River, Big Blue River, and Westport and the eventual withdrawal and the battles at
Mine Creek and Newtonia. It will also describe the actions resulting in the deaths of Todd
and Anderson and the dismissal of guerrilla forces under Poole for murdering Kansas
Militia prisoners, ending with the assessment of the effectiveness of their operations and
ultimate defeat.
Chapter 6 will compare and contrast Price’s Raid with other examples of
Compound Warfare and will analyze Price’s failure to effectively conduct Compound
Warfare to defeat Union forces in Missouri.
1Andrew J. Birtle, U.S. Army Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations
Doctrine 1860-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998), 23.
2Ibid, 40-41.
3Ibid, 28-37.
4Thomas M. Huber, ed., Compound Warfare: That Fatal Knot (Fort Leavenworth,
KS: U. S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 2002), 1.
5Ibid, 1-7.
6William E. Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars (Ottawa, KS: Kansas
Heritage Press, 1992), introduction.
7O. S. Barton, Three Years with Quantrill: A True Story Told by His Scout John
McCorkle (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992), 179.
As the nation expanded to the west, the government acquired new territories
bringing new states into the Union through the early 1800s. The balance of power in the
government became contentious as Southern and Northern statesmen disagreed on the
issues of state’s rights and slavery. The border area of Missouri and Kansas became one
of the fault lines between these forces. Fighting erupted along the border between
abolitionists and slave owners in the quest to secure the Kansas territory for both sides of
the slavery issue. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, many of these groups organized
to fight the border war joined conventional forces raised in the area; generally, Kansas
Jayhawkers fought for the Union and Missouri Border Ruffians fought for the
Confederacy. As the war progressed, fighting in the Eastern and Western Theater drew
off most of the Confederate conventional forces. As the conventional forces moved east,
guerrilla bands formed to fend off the Federal forces remaining in Missouri. This chapter
will describe the nature of the conflict and how Borders Ruffians became Confederate
guerrillas in the struggle for Missouri.
Missouri had been on the forefront of the slavery issue for over 40 years. The
violence along the Kansas and Missouri border that began during the Bleeding Kansas
period created conditions and influences that shaped the nature of warfare in that region
when the Civil War began in the April 1861.
As the United States expanded westward in the early 1800s, the issue of balance
of power in the Senate between free and slave states became highly contentious. With
Alabama’s acceptance into the Union in December 1819, the balance was set at 11 free
states and 11 slave states. The dividing line between free and slave states was clear east
of the Mississippi River. Free states were north of the Mason-Dixon Line--
Pennsylvania’s southern border and the Ohio River--slave states were to the south. No
distinction had been made west of the Mississippi River in the Louisiana Purchase area.
When Missouri applied for statehood, slavery was already allowed in the territory, but
ant-slavery advocates wanted Missouri admitted as a free state. Congress developed the
Missouri Compromise of 1820 to maintain the balance of power in the Senate. Under its
provisions, Missouri was admitted to the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state
and the 36-degree 30-minutes latitude became the dividing line for free and slave
territories in the Louisiana Purchase area. The compromise settled the slavery issue until
new territory was acquired from Mexico after the Mexican War.
After the Mexican War, the United States acquired the remainder of the territory
west of the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean and California sought admission into
the Union as a free state in 1849. Another compromise was necessary to determine how
this territory would be divided. The Compromise of 1850 created the territories of New
Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah and set the precedent that these territories would
determine the issue of free or slave state when the territory applied for statehood. The
compromise brought California into the Union as a free state, and to appease the slave
state advocates, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act. The Fugitive Slave Act required
authorities to assist slaveholders in recovery fugitive slaves and it denied the fugitive a
right to trial. Also as part of the compromise, Congress abolished slave trade in the
District of Columbia. Passage of the act infuriated abolitionists who became even more
determined to end the institution of slavery.
In 1854, Congress passed the Nebraska-Kansas Act. This act created the Nebraska
and Kansas territories and repealed the Missouri Compromise limitation on slavery north
of the 36-degree 30-minutes latitude. This allowed Kansas to determine the free and slave
state issue when it applied for statehood, known as “Squatter Sovereignty.” Passage of
the Act sparked a struggle between free and slave state proponents that became known as
Bleeding Kansas.1
Abolitionists saw this new act as an opportunity to bring both states into the
Union as free states, thereby taking control of Congress. Slave state advocates believed it
necessary to admit Kansas to the Union as a slave state. Many Southerners believed that
if they lost Kansas as a slave state, there would never be another slave state admitted to
the Union. Missourians especially feared Kansas becoming a free state. They believed
abolitionists would be able to entice Missouri slaves across the border threatening the
slave holder’s livelihood. Abolitionists set up organizations such as the New England
Emigrant Aid Society to assist settling the Kansas territory with anti-slavery people.
These settlers moved through Missouri on their way to Kansas, alarming Missourians to
the growing threat looming along the border.
David Atchison, a United States Senator from Missouri, spurred the Missourians
into action. He urged Missourians to stake claims in the new territory and flooded the
territory with voters to win the territorial election in March 1855. The free state advocates
would not cede the advantage to the Missourians; they established their own territorial
government in Lawrence, Kansas and developed a state constitution. As tensions between
the two sides soared, they erected forts around the area to protect their settleme nts and
prepared to defend themselves.2
The anti-slavery Kansans formed irregular forces, known as Jayhawkers or
Redlegs, to enter Missouri and liberate slaves. Jim Lane, a United States Senator from
Kansas, as well as John Brown and Jim Montgomery, both staunch abolitionists, led the
anti-slavery guerrillas. They were met by pro-slavery Missourians known as Border
Ruffians. Sam Jones, the Douglas Country Sheriff; Senator Atchison; and John Reid, a
former Captain in the Missouri Volunteers who had served in the Mexican War, led
bands of Border Ruffians against anti-slavery supporters in Kansas.3 Over the next seven
years, Jayhawkers and Border Ruffians conducted numerous raids and attacks in
retaliation for the last injustice done by the other side until Kansas was admitted into the
Union as a free state on 29 January 1861.4
Meanwhile, events in early 1861 brought the Civil War to the Kansas-Missouri
border area. Sparked by Abraham Lincoln’s election as President, South Carolina
seceded from the Union on 20 December 1860. Mississippi seceded on 9 January 1861,
quickly followed by Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and finally Texas on 1
February 1861. By 20 May 1861, after the surrender of Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s call for
volunteers to suppress the rebellion, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina
joined the other seceding states in forming the Confederate States of America. Claiborne
Jackson, a former Border Ruffian and pro-slavery Missouri Senator, became the
Governor of Missouri in January 1861. He quickly prepared to bring the state into the
Confederacy. However, the Generally Assembly, Missouri’s state legislature, voted
ninety-eight to one against secession. Jackson’s efforts were thwarted until news arrived
of the firing on Fort Sumter. Secessionists throughout the state began to seize Federal
arsenals and the State Militia formed at Camp Jackson, threatening the arsenal at St.
Louis. The arsenal’s commandant, Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, prevented the
arsenal from falling into Confederate hands. He quickly surrounded the State Militia and
forced their surrender. As he brought the prisoners into St. Louis, a riot ensued and
twenty-eight civilians were killed. The state legislature quickly rallied behind the
Governor by reorganizing the militia and granting Jackson broad emergency powers.
Jackson commissioned Sterling Price, a soldier with Mexican War experience and a
former Missouri Governor, as a Major General to command the Missouri State Guard
Jackson and Price fled St. Louis and began to organize their forces at Jefferson
City (see Maps, Appendix A). Lyon pursued Jackson and Price attempting to destroy
their forces which would thereby secure Missouri for the Union. Lyon captured the state
capital, Jefferson City, on 14 June 1861 and continued the pursuit to the west. Federal
and state forces fought another engagement at Boonville during which Lyon forced
Jackson and Price to retreat to the south. As Lyon conducted the pursuit, he sent
Brigadier General Franz Sigel to southern Missouri to prevent Jackson and Price’s forces
from joining Confederate forces in Arkansas. Sigel attacked Price’s force at Carthage,
Missouri but lacking sufficient forces to stop the Confederate forces, he withdrew to
Springfield to await General Lyon’s arrival with fresh troops.6
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch moved his force of 3200
men from Arkansas to Cassville, Missouri and prepared to attack the Union forces at
Springfield. He joined Price’s Missourians numbering 5,000 men and a brigade of
Arkansans numbering 2,500 men led by Brigadier General N. B. Pearce. Benjamin
McCulloch led the combined force toward Wilson’s Creek.7
By August 1861, Union forces were operating on extended lines of
communication and were facing a superior enemy force. General Lyon decided to attack
the Confederate forces massing in southern Missouri before he had to withdraw. At the
Battle of Wilson’s Creek on 10 August 1861, Lyon and Sigel split their force of 6,000
soldiers under Lyon’s command and attacked Benjamin McCulloch and Price’s force of
12,000 near Springfield, Missouri. McCulloch and Price successfully defeated the attack.
During the battle, Lyon was killed and the Union forces retreated to St. Louis. After the
battle, Price turned north, intent on retaking the Missouri River towns lost to Lyon.
However, McCulloch withdrew back to Arkansas to resupply his force.8 In his official
report of the battle, McCulloch mentioned that several thousand irregular horsemen
accompanied his force during the battle but did very little fighting.9 Quantrill served with
a company of Cherokee Indians organized by Joel Mayes under McCulloch’s command
also did little fighting as they remained on the fringes of the battlefield collecting plunder
and scalps.10 These irregular horsemen were local Missourians, many of whom were
Border Ruffians, who turned out to support the MSG against Lyon’s Federal forces.
Many found regular military service unsuitable, preferring to set their own objectives and
fight only at their advantage, making it difficult for Confederate commanders to rely on
their assistance during a battle. This problem would show itself again during Price’s
After the battle at Wilson’s Creek, Price moved north toward the Missouri River
Valley. Several future guerrillas accompanied Price’s command participating in many of
the early battles of the war, including Frank James and Cole Younger. Quantrill also
joined Price after Wilson’s Creek leaving Benjamin McCulloch’s command as he
returned to Arkansas. While Price moved north along the Kansas border, he skirmished
with an element of Jim Lane’s Kansas Brigade at Drywood Creek. Lane, a former
Jayhawker, recently recruited the Kansas Brigade to prevent Price from attacking
settlements in Kansas. With Price active in southeastern Missouri, Lane deployed the
brigade along the border. Price, not wanting to be delayed, avoided the Kansans and
continued north. Major General John Fremont, the Union Commander of the Department
of the West ordered Lane to pursue Price, but Lane chose to lead the Kansas Brigade on a
raid of Osceola, Missouri instead where they looted the warehouses, robbed the bank, and
burned many buildings.11
Price arrived at Lexington on 13 September 1861 and besieged Colonel James
Mulligan’s regiment garrisoning the town. Mulligan surrendered on 20 September 1861.
In response to the fall of Lexington, Fremont left Jefferson City on 27 September 1861
with 38,000 soldiers to drive Price’s forces from Missouri. Price remained in Lexington
until early October, and then withdrew south toward Neosho when Federal forces
threatened to cutoff his force from reinforcements in southern Missouri. Quantrill left
Price’s command during the withdrawal to southern Missouri and returned to Blue
Springs, Missouri.12 Price continued moving south and eventually rejoined Benjamin
McCulloch in Arkansas. They were joined by a force of 5,000 Cherokee Indians under
General Albert Pike and organized into the Confederate Army of the West, 25,000 strong,
under General Earl Van Dorn’s command.13
Shortly after Quantrill’s arrival in Blue Springs, a band of Jayhawkers raided
Stone, a small neighborhood nearby. Quantrill joined a posse formed by Andrew Walker
and pursued the Jayhawkers, killing one of the group before the rest escaped into
Independence, Missouri. The posse continued to patrol the area for more bands of
Jayhawkers. Eventually, Walker and other members of the posse were compelled to
return to their normal occupations, and Quantrill took the lead of the remaining men. The
original me mbers of the group included Bill Hallar, Jim and John Little, Ed and John
Koger, Harrison Trace, Joe Gilchrist, Bill Gregg, Joe Vaughn, George Todd, Oliver “Ol”
Shepherd, George Maddox, Perry Hoy, and Fletch Taylor. This group of men, originally
formed to defend their homes, would become the most notorious guerrilla organization in
Missouri. They were mostly farm boys from Jackson County, mainly Blue Springs and
Independence, with the exception of George Todd. Todd came to Missouri in 1859 and
worked as a stonemason in Kansas City. He joined the guerrillas after getting in trouble
with the law in Independence.14
In December 1861, two incidents elicited responses from the guerrillas that
seemed out of character for Quantrill’s group. Shortly after Quantrill’s Raiders formed,
an ex-Confederate soldier named George Searcy arrived in Blue Springs. Searcy began
stealing horses and mules and threatened to assassinate Quantrill. Quantrill and his men
tracked Searcy down, hanged him, and returned the stolen property to its rightful owners,
many of whom were Union sympathizers living in the area. Within a few days, Quantrill
ambushed a Federal patrol at Manasseth Gap on the Independence Road. Several
members of the patrol were wounded and all were forced to surrender. Quantrill
confiscated their arms and ammunition and then set them free. These early actions of
Quantrill’s Raiders suggest that Quantrill and his men were initially attempting to
conduct themselves honorably as soldiers defending themselves and their neighbors. The
group temporarily disbanded in late December 1861 for winter quarters and reformed in
late January 1862.15 When Quantrill’s group reformed, the number of guerrillas had
increased to approximately two-dozen men. Among the new members of the group were
Cole Younger and other young Missouri men out for vengeance.
During this time, Daniel Anthony led the Seventh Kansas Cavalry into Missouri.
Charles Jennison, Lane’s second in command, formed the Independent Mounted Kansas
Jayhawkers, later officially designated as the Seventh Kansas Cavalry. Anthony, the
publisher of the Leavenworth Daily Conservative, was Jennison’s subordinate and would
actually lead the regiment during most of its operations in Missouri. In mid November,
the regiment left Kansas City and burned most of the settlements in its path to
Independence. The regiment looted several stores, burned the house of a suspected
Secessionist, and stole every horse they could find. By December, they had returned to
West Point, Missouri. From there, Anthony led a raid into Jackson County “liberating”
150 mules, 40 horses, and 129 Negroes. In early January 1862, the Seventh Kansas also
torched Dayton and Columbus, Missouri. Major General Henry Halleck, commander of
the Department of the Mississippi, did not approve of such operations and declared that,
“A few more such raids will make Missouri as Confederate as Eastern Virginia.”16
Not only confronting an insurgency in Missouri, Federal forces perceived a threat
from the Confederate force in Arkansas. In early 1862, Halleck ordered Brigadier
General Samuel Curtis, his commander of the Department of Missouri--15,000 strong--to
attack Van Dorn’s Army of the West forming in Arkansas. As Curtis moved into
Arkansas, Van Dorn attacked the Federal forces at Pea Ridge on 7 March 1862. The
initial attacks were successful, but General Benjamin McCulloch was killed on the first
day of the battle and the Cherokee troops refused to fight after making their initial
assault. On the second day of the battle, the Union army counterattacked and drove the
Army of the West from the field. This defeat ended Price’s early efforts to bring Missouri
into the war for the Confederacy. After the Battle of Pea Ridge, Van Dorn led the Army
of the West across the Mississippi River into Tennessee to support Confederate forces
there. Many soldiers refused to leave their state and returned to Missouri. There they
found Quantrill’s guerrilla force preparing to battle Union troops and Jayhawkers that
continued to operate in Missouri.17 With the defeat of Price’s conventional forces in early
1862, the war in Missouri was left to the guerrilla forces operating against Union
garrisons, patrols, and sympathizers to keep Confederate hopes alive of bringing Missouri
into the Confederacy until Price’s Raid in 1864.
During the summer of 1862, Quantrill’s Raiders harassed Union detachments
patrolling the border area and made several raids into Kansas. The increased guerrilla
activity stretched the Missouri State Militia (MSM) thin. The MSM had been formed in
November 1861 as a federally funded force to garrison Missouri towns. The MSM was
limited to 10,000 soldiers organized into one infantry and nine cavalry regiments in
February 1862. In July 1862, Missouri Governor Hamilton Gamble authorized Brigadier
General John Schofield, Union commander of the MSM, to expand the militia and
organize the Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM). The EMM would grow to a reported
strength of 52,000 soldiers organized into 85 regiments, 16 battalions, and 33 separate
companies. The EMM was a part-time citizen soldier force to be called out by the state in
times of emergency.18 Due to their questionable loyalty, the EMM was sometimes
derogatorily referred to as the “Paw Paw” Militia after the river-bottom bushes where the
guerrillas made their hideouts.
Schofield ordered all able-bodied men to join the new militia. Refusing to fight
against their neighbors, many men joined Quantrill’s Raiders and other irregular forces in
the area. In August 1862, Confederate Colonel John Hughes moved into western
Missouri to recruit a brigade for the Confederate Army. Quantrill assisted Hughes’
recruiting efforts by accompanying his force to conduct a raid on Independence, Missouri
in which Hughes was killed. The raid scattered the Union garrison of over 300 soldiers.
On 12 August 1862, Colonel Gideon Thompson, Hughes’ replacement, officially
mustered the Quantrill Raiders into Confederate service as Partisan Rangers. Quantrill
was elected Captain; William Haller, First Lieutenant; George Todd, Second Lieutenant;
and William Gregg, Third Lieutenant. Following the raid on Independence, Major Emory
Foster led a Federal force toward Lone Jack to disperse the Confederate forces in the
area. During the Battle of Lone Jack, the Confederate forces recruiting in the area massed
on Foster forcing his withdrawal to Independence. After Foster’s defeat, Federal forces
began to converge on Lone Jack forcing the Confederates toward Arkansas where they
united with Brigadier General Jo Shelby’s Missouri Brigade.19
During the winter of 1862-1863, Quantrill’s Raiders served as scouts for Shelby’s
Missouri Brigade, part of Brigadier General John Marmaduke’s division in Arkansas.
Some fought with Shelby’s Brigade in battles at Cane Hill, Fayetteville, and Prairie
Grove during November and December 1862, as well as the raid to Springfield in January
1963. By late spring, however, most of Quantrill’s men had returned to Jackson County,
refitting for the coming summer.20 During the brief lull in guerrilla activity, most of the
EMM were relieved of their duties and returned to their civilian occupations. As guerrilla
activity started to rise in the late spring of 1863, Schofield created the Provisional
Enrolled Missouri Militia (PEMM) with selected members of the EMM. The PEMM,
also referred to as the “Detailed Militia,” was organized like the EMM with the exception
that the PEMM was a full-time force to combat insurgency and banditry. The PEMM
consisted of eleven regiments and an independent company.21
Through the spring and early summer of 1863, the guerrillas became a formidable
force. The guerrilla bands continued to attack Union patrols, conduct raids into Kansas,
and terrorize pro-Union supporters with the intent to drive them from western Missouri.
In May 1863, a band led by Dick Yeager, raided 130 miles into Kansas to Council Grove,
and sacked the nearby town of Diamond Springs, looting stores and houses in Rock
Springs, Gardner, and Black Jack as a posse pursued them back to the Missouri border.
Quantrill’s band ambushed a patrol near Independence, and in June 1863, raided
Shawneetown, Kansas. Another band was active in Clay County and attacked a Federal
detachment at Missouri City, killing all but one soldier. Learning that civilians had taken
him to a doctor in Richfield, the guerrillas rode into town and killed him. Anderson
presumably led this raid based on the reported presence of one of Anderson's men, Frank
James, during the attack. Todd’s band ambushed a Federal patrol of the Ninth Kansas just
on the outskirts of Westport, killing or wounding 20 soldiers before disappearing into the
local area.22
To remain illusive, the guerrillas used the Missouri River Valley with its difficult
terrain and the extreme hostility of the local populace against abolitionists and Union
sympathizers as a sanctuary. One of the most noted hideouts was the Sni-A-Bar region,
located along the Lafayette and Jackson County border south of the Missouri River and
known for its deep gorges, dense thickets, and twisting trails. Many civilians in western
Missouri saw the guerrillas as their defenders against the Jayhawkers and had relatives
operating with the various guerrilla bands. They provided food, shelter, and intelligence
to support the guerrillas as they moved through the area evading Federal patrols until the
time of their choosing to attack and once again, disappear into the bushes.23
The guerrillas also enjoyed superior fighting ability over the Federal forces they
encountered. Usually mounted on better horses and equipped with better weapons, they
could move faster and generate more firepower than their opponents. Guerrillas usually
rode the best horses because they were able to acquire the best mounts money could buy
or that could be stolen while Federal forces were limited to the animals procure in mass
by the government. Also, they were usually armed with several Colt revolvers and could
maintain a steady rate of fire without having to reload while Federal cavalrymen were
armed with single shot carbines and sabers. The infantry sent to combat the guerrillas
lacked the necessary mobility and were not effective except for garrison duty.24
Guerrilla bands also maintained an advantage over Federal forces in tactics based
on the revolver. The guerrillas were experts at ambushes where they would wait for the
Federal force to come within range; then they would open fire and charge. The guerrillas
would strip the bodies of anything useful, round up the horses, and disperse into their
sanctuaries. Though usually dressed in whatever clothing was available, most guerrillas
wore a “guerrilla shirt” worn over a civilian shirt. The guerrilla shirt was a loose fitting
blouse made of homespun with a low cut neckline and a big, deep pocket for holding
extra cylinders of ammunition for their revolvers. They usually completed their
“uniform” with baggy trousers tucked into high jack-boots and a round-rimmed hat. They
often used captured Federal uniforms to allow them to get within range of an
unsuspecting patrol before they opened fire at point blank range.25
Another significant advantage in the guerrilla’s favor was their reason for
fighting. Some were criminals whose interest was in plunder alone, many of whom
started “bushwhacking” during the Bleeding Kansas period like Quantrill and Anderson.
Anderson started out as a horse thief and soon became involved as a Jayhawker. When he
killed a prominent Kansan, he fled to Missouri and continued to ply his trade. On the
other hand, some were victims of Jayhawkers, fighting to avenge deeds done to their
families like Cole Younger, Frank and Jesse James, and Dick Yeager. Others, like
George Todd, were running from the authorities. Most were resigned to the fact that
defeat meant death. They sought no quarter, nor by this time in the war did they give
Union forces were becoming increasingly frustrated with the guerrilla activities
and successes. In June 1863, Brigadier General Thomas Ewing took command of the
District of the Border. He realized the importance of sanctuary provided by the civilian
populace as evident by his message to General Schofield:
About two-thirds of the families on the occupied farms of the region are of kin to
the guerrillas, and are actively and heartily engaged in feeding, clothing, and
sustaining them. I can see no prospect of an early and complete end to the war on
the border, without a great increase of troops, so long as the families remain
He issued General Order No. 10 to mitigate these problems. The order authorized the
arrest and banishment of civilians providing aid to the “bushwhackers.” Many women
were arrested, including three of Bill Anderson’s sisters, and jailed in a three story
building on Grand Avenue in Kansas City. On 13 August 1863, the building collapsed,
killing one of Anderson’s sisters and maiming another, providing further fuel to the fire
of revenge.27
The most significant operation conducted by Quantrill’s Raiders occurred just
eight days later on 21 August 1863 in Lawrence, Kansas (see Maps, Appendix A).
Lawrence had long been a major base of operations for the Jayhawkers and was the home
of Jim Lane. By late summer, the guerrilla bands became increasingly bold and
dangerous while Quantrill began to gain influence over many of the bands of guerrillas.
He raised over 450 guerrillas, including the bands of Todd and Anderson, for the raid.
Under the cover of darkness, the guerrillas crossed into Kansas and attacked the
unsuspecting city. The attack lasted for over four hours and claimed the lives of over 150
residents of Lawrence and most of the town was destroyed by fire, but Jim Lane escaped.
After the raid, the guerrillas returned to Jackson County and dispersed to avoid detection.
In retaliation for the raid, Lane urged General Ewing to issue Order No. 11 which
directed the depopulation of Missouri border counties with the intent to deny sanctuary
for guerrilla forces operating along the border. Occupants of the counties were ordered to
vacant their property by 9 September 1863 or they would be removed by forced.28 The
guerrillas would feel the effect of the depopulation order upon their return from winter
quarters in Texas in the loss of sanctuary and decreased support they received from the
In October 1863, Quantrill’s forces moved south toward Texas for winter
quarters. En route, they attacked the garrison at Baxter Springs, Kansas. During the
attack, they encountered General James Blunt and his escort moving his headquarters
from Fort Scott, Kansas to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Quantrill’s men attacked and killed
approximately 80 soldiers, most of the Union force including General Curtis’ son, Major
H. Z. Curtis; but General Blunt escaped back to Fort Scott.29
After destroying Blunt’s escorted, Quantrill continued his movement to Texas. On
10 October, his force captured and executed a 12-man patrol from Fort Gibson in the
Indian Territories. The next day, Quantrill’s group linked up with Colonel Daniel
McIntosh, commanding a Confederate Indian Brigade, who escorted them to Brigadier
General Douglas Cooper’s encampment. The guerrillas stayed at Cooper’s camp for a
few days before completing their movement to Sherman, Texas where they set up
permanent winter quarters near Mineral Springs by early November.
Quantrill’s forces participated in raids into the Indian Territory near Fort Gibson
and Fort Smith with Colonels Stand Watie and William Penn Adair. They also pursued a
Federal Indian column that raided into the Confederate Indian Territory in late December
1863. Upon returning to winter quarters, inactivity and lack of discipline led to dissension
among the guerrillas and lawlessness erupted around their camp. Brigadier General
Henry McCulloch, Benjamin McCulloch’s brother, was the Sub-District Commander for
Northern Texas, headquartered at Bonham, Texas not far from Sherman. He complained
to Major General Kirby Smith about the presence and activities of the guerrillas but was
directed to use the guerrillas to return deserters to the army. Under pressure from General
Smith and General Price to bring the guerrillas into regular service, Quantrill transferred
many of the newer recruits to the Price’s command and attempted to establish order
among the rest of his men. When Quantrill attempted to arrest a member of Anderson’s
band for misconduct, Anderson broke from the camp and went to Henry McCulloch with
accusations that Quantrill was responsible for the lawlessness in the region. Henry
McCulloch attempted to use Anderson’s men to pursue the other guerrillas resulting in
many encounters but no real attempts to attack the other force. Quantrill moved his force
of approximately 60 guerrillas into the Indian Territory and made two raids with General
Cooper’s forces against Fort Smith and Fort Gibson before returning to Missouri in early
May 1864. Anderson with approximately 20 guerrillas also returned to Missouri in early
May 1864. Before leaving Texas, Todd usurped Quantrill as the leader of the band but
Quantrill remained with guerrillas upon their return to Missouri. The guerrillas would
soon wreak havoc on central Missouri in anticipation of Price’s return to liberate the
By the spring of 1864, many of the guerrillas had been fighting for over five
years. They had developed tactics to overwhelm Federal patrols and garrisons they
encountered, and they had the ability to disperse into hiding when hard pressed by a
Federal force with superior numbers. Their savage behavior and reputation struck fear
into the towns and garrisons throughout Missouri when word would arrive that
Quantrill’s men were near. Of the 50,000 part-time soldiers in 85 EMM regiments
available during emergencies, only about 10,000 were full-time soldiers of PEMM
garrisoning the major towns by the end of 1863. The eleven PEMM regiments were
dispersed throughout the state; two in northwest, two in northeast, four in central
Missouri including St. Louis, two in southwest, and one in the southeast. However,
guerrilla forces were still able to mount large raids and move through the area with
relative impunity. The Federals needed additional forces that could consolidate against
raiders without reducing their garrisons. Federal commanders knew they would have to
step up their efforts to defeat these guerrilla bands upon their return to Missouri in the
1Albert Castel, William Clark Quantrill, His Life and Times (Norman, OK:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1999), 1.
2Ibid, 4-5.
3Robert L. Dyer, Jesse James and the Civil War in Missouri (Columbia, MO:
University of Missouri Press, 1994), 11-12.
4Castel, Quantrill, 10-20.
5T. J. Stiles. Jesse James, Last Rebel of the Civil War (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 2002), 64-67.
6Dyer, 16-22.
7Col. John C. Moore, Missouri in the Civil War: Confederate Military History,
vol. 9. chap. VI. Online. Available at
Internet. Accessed 2 November 2003.
8Wiley Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 1861-1862, vol. 1, 3d ed. rev. (New
York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1899; reprint Ottawa, KS: Kansas Heritage Press, 1994),
9Ibid, 107.
10William E. Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars (Ottawa, KS: Kansas
Heritage Press, 1992), 198.
11Edward E. Leslie, The Devil Knows How to Ride, The True Story of William
Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders (New York: Random House, 1996), 89-
12Ibid, 90-94
13Dyer, 30.
14Castel, Quantrill 65-66.
15Leslie, 97.
16Castel, Quantrill 58-60.
17Dyer, 30-35.
18Organization and Status of Missouri Troops In Service During the Civil War
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902) as cited in Kirby Ross. Federal Militia
in Missouri. Online. Available at Internet. Accessed 21
February 2004, section 3 & 4.
19Leslie, 137.
20Ibid, 157-164.
21Organization and Status of Missouri Troops, section 5.
22Castel, Quantrill, 104-116.
23Ibid, 110-112.
24Ibid, 112-114.
25Ibid, 114.
26The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union
and Confederate Armies (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901),
ser. 1, vol. 22, part 2, 428.
27Stiles, 93.
28Dyer, 36-39.
29LeRoy H. Fischer and Lary C. Rampp, Quantrill’s Civil War Operations in
Indian Territory); reprinted from The Chronicles of Oklahoma, vol. 46, no. 2. (Oklahoma
Historical Society, 1968), 9.
30Castel, Quantrill, 155-170.
During the winter of 1863-1864, there was much talk of an expedition into
Missouri around the camps in northern Texas. Price and other Confederate commanders
elicited the assistance of the guerrillas to prepare Missouri to support Confederate efforts
in the state. The guerrillas were to disrupt lines of communications and draw Federal
forces north of the Missouri River while the Confederate regular force would defeat
Federal forces massing along the Arkansas and Louisiana border. They would then be
free to focus on Missouri. Guerrilla forces returning to Missouri plunged the state into
terror as they rampaged back and forth across the state through the Missouri River
Valley. By the fall of 1864, the guerrillas had largely succeeded in accomplishing their
objective while Price’s conventional forces were preparing to return to Missouri.
As the guerrillas forces prepared to return to Missouri in the spring of 1864, Price
was battling Federal forces under the command of Major General Frederick Steele in the
Camden Expedition of the Red River Campaign (see Maps, Appendix A). In September
1863, Steele captured Little Rock, Arkansas. In the spring of 1864, General Nathaniel
Banks, commanding the Federal Department of the Gulf, moved his forces from New
Orleans up the Mississippi River toward the Red River Valley to threaten Kirby Smith’s
headquarters at Shreveport, Louisiana. Banks directed Steele to lead his force to Camden
and join his force moving up from New Orleans for an attack on Kirby Smith’s forces at
Opposing Banks’ campaign were the forces of General Edmund Kirby Smith’s
Trans-Mississippi Department. On 16 March 1864, Price assumed command of the
District of Arkansas under the Trans-Mississippi Department. The District of Arkansas
included Price’s Division of 7,000 cavalrymen and two infantry divisions commanded by
Brigadier Generals Monroe M. Parson and Thomas J. Churchill with a combined strength
of 5,000 soldiers. Major General Richard Taylor, the son of the former President Zachary
Taylor, commanded the District of Louisiana with 6,000 soldiers. Major General John B.
Magruder commanded the District of Texas and sent Major General John G. Walker’s
Division with 4,000 soldiers to support Kirby Smith. Kirby Smith’s intent was for Taylor
to defend against Banks’ advance in Louisiana and Price to delay Steele’s advance from
Little Rock in order to defeat both forces separately before their attack on Shreveport. He
consolidated the Parson’s, Churchill’s, and Walker’s infantry divisions under his control
to support Taylor’s effort against Banks coming up from New Orleans.1
Steele departed Little Rock on 23 March with 8500 soldiers. Price ordered
Brigadier General John S. Marmaduke’s brigade to oppose the Federal advance while
Brigadier General Joseph Shelby’s brigade attacked the flanks and the rear of the Federal
force. Steele successfully crossed the Little Missouri River at Elkin’s Ferry on 4 April.
Price moved forward to reinforce Marmaduke at Prairie D’ane with Brigadier General
James F. Fagan’s brigade who was soon joined by Brigadier General S. B. Maxey’s
Brigade at Washington, Arkansas, arriving from the Indian Territories with 1,000
Choctaws and Texans. Steele also received reinforcements when Brigadier General John
M. Thayer’s 5,000 soldiers arrived from Fort Smith on 11 April supporting Steele’s
advance on Prairie D’ane as he pushed the Confederates back toward Washington and
seized Camden. By 14 April, Kirby Smith had defeated Banks’ forces in Louisiana and
ordered Parson’s, Churchill’s, and Walker’s infantry divisions to move north to support
Price’s effort against Steele. After defeats at Poison Springs and Marks’ Mills and
realizing his precarious situation, Steele began his withdrawal from Camden. Price
caught up with Steele’s force at Jenkins’ Ferry on 30 April and attacked with Parson’s
and Churchill’s divisions. However, the Federal rear guard held off the attack and Steele
was able to retreat across the Saline River and return to Little Rock.2
Immediately following the success against Steele, Kirby Smith withdrew to the
Red River to inflict further damage on Banks’ force in Louisiana, but Banks had retreated
beyond his range. Kirby Smith then decided to concentrate his forces to defeat Steele in
Arkansas and invade Missouri, as Price had been urging since his return to the Trans-
Mississippi Department. On 19 May, he ordered Price to prepare for the coming
campaign. Kirby Smith sent Shelby’s Iron Brigade into northeastern Arkansas to gather
recruits and disrupt Federal lines of communications to Little Rock. Price also sent scouts
into Missouri to coordinate with guerrilla forces for their cooperation by disrupting Union
defenses and lines of communication and gather intelligence. During the summer, Kirby
Smith received orders to transfer his infantry east of the Mississippi River and to create a
diversion in his department to support Confederate efforts in Georgia and Alabama.
Without sufficient forces to carry out his initial plans, on 4 August Kirby Smith ordered
Price to conduct a raid into Missouri to seize St. Louis, and if forced to retreat, to
withdraw through the Missouri River Valley accumulating as many recruits, mules,
horses, cattle, and military supplies as possible.3
The winter of 1863-1864 had been relatively quiet in western Missouri due to the
effect of Order No. 11. The Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry, led by Jennison, had devastated
Jackson, Cass, Bates, and Vernon counties in September and October 1863, forcing the
largely pro-Confederate population into Lafayette and Johnson counties. The guerrilla
bands that did not go south with Quantrill, Anderson, and Todd were small and dispersed
throughout Jackson, Lafayette, and Johnson counties. With the increased Federal
presence, these guerrilla bands remained inactive to prevent detection by the scouting
Also in early 1864, the Department of Missouri reorganized. Major General
William S. Rosecrans assumed command of the department from Major General John M.
Schofield who went on to command XXIII Corps during the Atlanta campaign. Major
General Samuel R. Curtis took command of the newly formed Department of Kansas.
Brigadier General Ewing was reassigned to the District of St. Louis when his District of
the Border was abolished, and Brigadier General John McNeil assumed command of the
District of Rolla. Brigadier General Clinton Fisk assumed command of the District of
Northern Missouri and Brigadier General John S. Sanborn took command of the District
of Southwest Missouri. Brigadier General Egbert B. Brown assumed command of the
Federal forces in the District of Central Missouri, also locally known as the “Burnt
District.” These forces included the Second Colorado Cavalry, the First Missouri State
Militia Cavalry, and the local Enrolled Missouri Militia (EMM) garrisons. The Second
Colorado Cavalry replaced Kansas State Militia (KSM) forces that returned to Kansas
when the District of Kansas formed. The soldiers of the District of Central Missouri were
actively scouting the area along the Missouri-Kansas and had destroyed many guerrilla
camps, keeping the guerrillas at bay.5 The organizational changes were initiated in
attempts to provide better command and control of Federal forces operating against the
guerrillas. Each district commander received a mixture of regular forces for active
campaigning and militia forces to garrison major towns in their district.
Upon returning to Missouri in late April to early May 1864, the guerrillas that had
wintered in Texas found the region better prepared to counter their activities. A force of
approximately 100 guerrillas, possibly several small bands following Anderson, crossed
the Grand River near Dayton and attacked the First Missouri State Militia Cavalry
Detachment at Chapel Hill (see Maps, Appendix A). Three weeks later, Todd and
Quantrill with another 100 guerrillas attacked the garrison at Lamar, then crossed the
Osage River near Taberville, enroute to the Sni Hills (see Maps, Appendix A). Upon their
return to Jackson County, they dispersed their guerrilla bands into hiding upon finding
the area desolate and occupied by the Second Colorado Cavalry.6
Guerrilla activity began to intensify in anticipation of Price’s return to the state. In
early June, the guerrillas conducted several hit and run attacks, cut telegraph lines, and
intercepted mail service in Johnson County. The guerrillas also operated along the
Missouri River attacking steamboat traffic between Jefferson City and Kansas City. They
fired on the Prairie Rose at Waverly on 4 June, the Sunshine at Wellington on 5 June,
and the West Wind at Camden on 26 June. Responding to the increase in guerrilla activity
in western Missouri, Brown mounted an expedition with 3,000 soldiers from the Fourth
and Sixth Missouri Cavalry to sweep through central Missouri to take the initiative in the
fight against the guerrillas. The guerrillas ambushed one of these patrols near Kingsville
in western Johnson County on 11 June and two days later Anderson ambushed another
patrol escorting a wagon train near Lexington. By mid June, Rosecrans, in cooperation
with Curtis and the Department of Kansas, added elements of the Fifth, Eleventh, and
Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry and the Second Colorado Cavalry to the counter-guerrilla
effort. They patrolled the Sni River Valley south of the Missouri River until 20 June with
no success. Brown suggested one of the reasons for their failure to effectively counter
any guerrillas was the fact that most guerrilla bands were predominately dressed in
captured Union uniforms. Many patrols reported approaching what they thought to be
other patrols, only to be fired on before the guerrillas dispersed deeper into their
sanctuaries. To counter this ruse, Federal forces instituted the use of challenge and
passwords to some success, but often the guerrillas would learn and use the passwords to
prevent detection. Attempts to counter the guerrillas became so ineffective that Brown
ordered all river traffic suspended, and he shut down stage lines between Independence
and Kansas City.7
In an effort to counter the latest surge of guerrilla activity, Rosecrans issued Order
107 on 28 June 1864 forming the Provisional Enrolled Militia, or “Order 107 Militia,”
not to be confused with the PEMM.8 These new organizations were independent
companies formed by the county governments consisting of local men known for their
courage and willingness to protect their respective county chosen by local men who knew
them. An estimated 6,000 men served in the 62 Provisional companies formed under
Order 107.9
With the increased presence of Federal forces in Johnson and Lafayette Counties,
the guerrillas shifted their efforts back to the western border counties. On 6 July, Todd
organized 60 guerrillas and ambushed a detachment of the Second Colorado Cavalry near
Independence, killing the commander and seven soldiers. North of the Missouri River, a
band led by John “Coon” Thornton captured Platte City without firing a shot. The
company of the EMM garrisoning the town surrendered, some even joining the guerrillas.
With the surrender of Platte City, Fisk requested that the Second Colorado Cavalry move
north of the Missouri River to pursue Thornton’s band of guerrillas due to inability of the
EMM to suppress the guerrilla activity. On 14 July, the Second Colorado encountered
Thornton’s guerrillas at Camden Point, dispersing the band and killing Thornton. At the
same time, Jennison’s Fifteenth Kansas Cavalry cleared Platte City of guerrillas, leveling
most of the houses and leaving only 15 residents in the town when they finished.10
Todd took advantage of the window of opportunity that was created when the
Second Colorado moved north of the river. He raided Arrow Rock in Saline County on
20 July, stealing over 40 horses and $20,000 worth of property before returning to
sanctuary in the Sni Hills. During the raid, Dick Yeager, another leader of a guerrilla
band, was severely wounded and eventually killed by a Federal patrol that discovered
him recovering from his wounds at the house of a Southern sympathizer. Todd’s band
remained in eastern Jackson County along Sni-A-Bar Creek for the next two months,
occasionally raiding the Missouri Pacific Railroad being constructed between
Warrensburg and Kansas City or disrupting the stage lines through the area.11
July 1864 found Bill Anderson with approximately 20 guerrillas demonstrating
against the Federal garrison at Lexington. While near Lexington, he sent letters to
Captain Burris and Colonel McFerran of the Lexington garrison, General Brown, and two
Lexington newspaper editors. In these letters, he taunted the Federal garrison to come out
and fight, warned that he would avenge the death of a man held prisoner in Lexington,
and sent a warning to Missouri men to join the fight against the Federals or face the
consequences as Northern sympathizers. Hearing no response and lacking sufficient
superiority to attack the garrison, Anderson led his force across the Missouri River into
Carroll County on 11 July.12
Anderson spent the rest of summer running rampant north of the Missouri River.
Once across the river, Anderson’s men, masquerading as Federal soldiers, killed nine
civilians who claimed to be loyal citizens or militiamen. The band continued eastward
and by 15 July entered Huntsville, Missouri, Anderson’s former hometown. After
robbing the bank and stealing fresh horses, Anderson left Huntsville heading south
toward Rocheport.13
Local sympathizers welcomed Anderson’s men to Rocheport. The guerrillas spent
a week there attacking steamboats along the Missouri River. Anderson even referred to
Rocheport as “my capital.” Federal reports suggested that the Perche Hills of Boone
County were infested with guerrillas and Anderson’s band grew to approximately 100
men. On 23 July, Anderson left Rocheport moving northeast toward the North Missouri
Railroad in Randolph County. Anderson raided Renick, burning the train depot and
tearing down telegraph wires. The guerrillas were held back at Allen by the local militia
and a company of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry that arrived by train from Macon,
Missouri. Anderson ambushed the pursuing cavalry, dispersing the column while killing
two troopers. These men were scalped and a message threatening the same treatment to
men killed hunting bushwhackers was pinned to one of the corpses.14
After scattering the Illinois cavalry, Anderson’s men continued moving to the
northeast toward the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad in Shelby Country. On 27 July,
Anderson raided Shelbina, robbing the inhabitants, looting the stores, and burning the
depot and two rail cars. From Shelbina, Anderson turned east and burned the depot at
Lakenan before arriving at the Salt River where they destroyed the 150-foot railroad
trestle crossing the river, a water tank, and the blockhouse built to protect the bridge. For
the first time in the war, rail traffic was stopped on the only railroad to traverse
Anderson then split his forces and turned back to the southwest. Jim Anderson,
Bloody Bill’s brother, led most of the band back through Randolph County, while Bill
took ten men to link up with Fletch Taylor in Carroll County. Upon entering Carroll
Country, local militiamen detected Anderson and Taylor’s group and attacked them while
they were sleeping in a local farmhouse. During the attack, Anderson shot one of the
women who attempted to escape from the house. The militiamen, realizing they were out
gunned, retreated back through a cornfield. Anderson’s men sprang from the house,
quickly mounted, and chased the retreating soldiers, all of whom escaped except one. A
guerrilla caught up to the soldier, who had fallen from his horse, shot him, and then
decapitated him. Many guerrillas thought nothing of the events, but some questioned
Anderson’s shooting the women to which Anderson replied, “Well, it has to come to that
before long, anyway.”16 Such acts show the brutality to which many of the guerrillas had
resorted by the fourth year of the war. Anderson continued to loot, kill, and burn his way
through Carroll, Ray, and Clay Counties before being rejoined by his brother as they
entered Platte County. Anderson had become so notorious that Federal commanders
issued explicit orders to “use everything you can to destroy him.”17
Following the raid into Platte County, Anderson spent the first week in August
1864 in Clay County. Taylor crossed the Missouri River and linked up with John
Thrailkill’s band of guerrillas. They encountered a company of militia near
Independence, and a brief fight ensued. The guerrillas broke contact with the militia
company but not before Taylor was severely wounded, losing his right arm. With
pressure increasing in Clay County from the Sixth Missouri Cavalry and two EMM
companies, Anderson moved back toward the east into Ray County.18
As Anderson moved back to the east, he routed a militia company at
Fredericksburg on 12 August and continued toward the east. A column of 150 militiamen
picked up his trail through Ray County, pursuing the guerrillas to the Wakenda River
where they were ambushed by Anderson. During the ambush, many of the guerrillas were
wounded, including Jesse James who was taken to the home of a Confederate soldier
while he recovered from his wounds. Once again, Anderson continued eastward, leaving
dead and disfigured bodies in his wake.19
Anderson operated throughout Randolph, Howard, and Boone Counties during
the remainder of August 1864 fighting rear guard actions against pursuing cavalry
columns. They also attacked the steamboat Omaha near Glasgow and on 28 August,
ambushed a Fourth Missouri Cavalry patrol near Boonville mutilating several soldiers
killed during the attack. Anderson returned to “his capital” at Rocheport on 30 August
and seized the Buffington docked there, steaming up and down the river until the captain
and pilot of the boat were killed. They also attacked the Yellowstone and Mars as they
approached Rocheport traveling up stream, thus effectively shutting down river traffic
west of Jefferson City. Anderson’s men remained in Rocheport until 7 September when
they raided the North Missouri Railroad in northern Boone County where they cut
telegraph lines and captured four train cars of cavalry horses.20
Captain John Chestnut, one of the Confederate officers Price sent into the
Missouri River Valley to coordinate with the guerrillas, contacted Todd at Bone Hill on 8
September. He conveyed Price’s intent for Todd to gather his force and disrupt Federal
defenses, cut telegraph lines, and destroy railroads in preparation for the coming raid.
Todd quickly organized his men, linked up with Thrailkill’s band, and crossed the
Missouri River heading east. On 20 September, Todd entered Keytesville in Chariton
County forcing the Paw Paw Militia garrison to surrender. Todd continued east, linking
up with Dave Poole’s band of guerrillas and Quantrill with another six men near Fayette
in Howard County. On 23 September, Anderson attacked a wagon train and escort,
killing twelve soldiers and three teamsters. The next morning, Anderson arrived at the
camp, bringing the guerrilla strength to approximately 400 men.21
Anderson urged an immediate attack on the Federal garrison of Fayette in
retaliation for the death of five of his “tax collectors” who had been captured and killed
by the Ninth Missouri Cavalry. Todd agreed, but Quantrill advised against the attack
because the town was heavily defended. Anderson and Todd, not wanting to be
influenced by their former leader, decided not to heed his advice. Interestingly, Quantrill
accompanied the attackers. Upon entering the unsuspecting town, one of the guerrillas
fired at a black soldier alerting the garrison to the impending danger. The soldiers quickly
assembled in a blockhouse on a ridge above the town. Anderson’s men made the first
charge, with Todd making two additional assaults against the fortification suffering 13
killed and 30 wounded during the attack. Seeing the attacks falter, Quantrill left with Jim
Little, who was severely wounded, and did not rejoin the guerrillas during the raid.
Reeling from the defeat, the group retreated north toward Randolph County. The
next day, the Anderson threatened the garrison at Huntsville, but did not attack when the
commander refused to come out and fight. The group then east turned toward Monroe
County destroying telegraph lines from Renick to Paris and skirmishing with Federal
patrols as they moved east. Avoiding large garrisons along the way, the group headed
back to Boone County and camped three miles northwest of Centralia, a station along the
North Missouri Railroad.22 Their revenge for the defeat at Fayette was soon at hand.
On 27 September, Todd asked Anderson to go to Centralia to gather information
on Price’s whereabouts. Anderson agreed, not necessarily over concern about Price’s
progress but because Centralia was a train station along the North Missouri Railroad ripe
with potential plunder. Anderson led about 80 men into town and began going door to
door demanding breakfast and looting the stores. His men found a barrel of whiskey in
the warehouse at the train depot and many became intoxicated. While the guerrillas were
pillaging the town, the Columbia stage arrived from the south. Several of his men rode
out to rob the stagecoach. While the guerrillas were robbing the stagecoach, they detected
a train arriving from the east. The guerrillas left the stagecoach and gathered at the depot
quickly erecting a barricade of timbers to block the train.23
The guerrillas robbed the passengers and discovered over $10,000 in cash, St.
Louis newspapers reporting Price’s actions, and 25 soldiers on board. Anderson selected
Sergeant Thomas Goodman of the First Missouri Engineers, intending to exchange him
for Cave Wyatt who had been wounded and captured by the Federals during a recent
engagement. With that, Anderson received what he had come to Centralia to collect,
except revenge. Anderson then ordered “Little Archie” Clement, his vicious lieutenant, to
“parole” the soldiers and the guerrillas opened fire.24 They finished off the dying soldiers
by butt stroking them with rifles and hacking their bodies with sabers. The guerrillas also
forced the engineer of the train to run over some of the corpses they laid across the
railroad track. After finishing off the soldiers, Anderson had the engineer set fire to the
rail cars, tie down the train whistle, and put the locomotive into full throttle. He ordered
that the soldiers were not to be moved and with Goodman tied to a horse, the guerrillas
left the town heading south toward their camp on Young Creek.25
With the recent reports of increased guerrilla activity in Monroe County, Fisk
ordered Major Andrew Vern Emen “Ave” Johnson to track down the guerrillas near
Centralia and “exterminate” them. He organized a battalion with roughly 150 men of the
Thirty-ninth Missouri Volunteer Infantry for the mission. The Thirty-ninth Missouri had
been recruited only two weeks prior and was armed with Enfield rifles. The men lacked
sufficient training and were mounted on brood mares and plow horses pressed into
service from the local stock. They departed Paris on 26 September and trailed the
guerrillas to Centralia, arriving there early in the afternoon of 27 September shortly after
Anderson’s men had left the town. Upon discovering the dead soldiers and devastation in
the town, Johnson asked the survivors about the attackers. They reported that 80 men had
attacked the town and departed toward the south, but that many more guerrillas were
camped along Young Creek. Johnson left Captain Adam Theiss to guard the town with
30 soldiers and headed south with 120 soldiers toward the guerrilla camp on Young
Johnson made contact with less than a dozen guerrillas along the Columbia road a
few miles south of Centralia. He pursued the guerrillas off the road to the southeast
toward the ravines along Young Creek. Anderson, Todd, Thrailkill, Poole, Si Gordon,
and Tom Todd’s guerrillas, nearly 400 men, were mounted waiting in the wood line
along the ravines. As they came out of the wood line, Johnson’s men dismounted forming
a line of 90 men with 30 men moving back toward the road to secure the horses. After a
few minutes, Anderson ordered the charge. The soldiers fired one volley before the
guerrillas overran their position and continued through the formation to attack the
horseholders. With the advance unit defeated, the guerrillas returned to Centralia
overtaking the soldiers left to guard the town. The guerrillas thoroughly routed the
Thirty-ninth Missouri which lost all but 20 men with the loss of only 3 guerrillas killed
and another 10 wounded. Once again, the guerrillas desecrated the bodies of their victims
by scalping and dismembering the fallen soldiers.27
In response to the massacre at Centralia, Fisk ordered all available soldiers to “let
the rebels in that region to understand that there is something besides Bill Anderson
power in North Missouri.” Short after the raid, Fisk’s District of North Missouri
organized a large Federal force of 1,000 cavalry and a six gun battery to purse the
guerrillas and at one point closed within range to engage them with the cannons.
Realizing they may have “stirred up a hornet’s nest,” Anderson and Todd dispersed the
guerrillas into hiding in Howard County as they made their way south toward the
Missouri River to link up with Price. Moving at night to avoid detection, the guerrillas
arrived at Rocheport on 3 October and Anderson watched as a Federal patrol
“accidentally” set fire to the town. While Anderson’s men prepared to cross the Missouri
River near Rocheport on 7 October, Goodman escaped under the cover of darkness and
made his way toward Fayette where he reported the incident to the commander of the
Fayette garrison. Across the river, Anderson headed west toward Boonville.28
Todd’s group crossed the Missouri River about the same time as Anderson and
turned west toward Cooper County. He raided the garrison at Otterville on 9 October
killing 22 militiamen in garrison and destroying rail lines and a bridge over the Lamine
River. He continued west attacking Federal patrols and burning houses through Johnson
and Lafayette Counties, passing through Bone Hill in the Sni Hills, before circling back
west toward Boonville and Price’s advancing columns.29
While intended to disrupt the Federal defenses and prepare the way for Price’s
raid, the constant presence of guerrilla forces may have actually increased the Federal
preparations to defeat Price. Rosecrans was confronted with increased guerrilla activity,
reports of Price’s planned invasion, and concerns of a revolt by the Order of American
Knights. The Order of American Knights was a secret society based in Missouri, Illinois,
and Indiana established to provide support to the Confederacy.30 Boasting membership
between 10,000 and 60,000 men in northern Missouri, the organization was expected to
rise up in support of Price when he returned to the state. With the major campaigns east
of the Mississippi River drawing off much needed manpower, Rosecrans created the
Provisional Enrolled Militia companies to offset the deficiency. Rosecrans’ intent for
these forces was “to provide for local defense against bands of bushwhackers and other
disturbers of the public peace, and for the maintenance of law and order more effectually
than could be done by calling out the Enrolled Militia, as well as to engage all good
citizens in the work.”31 These additional forces provided Rosecrans with the ability to
mass against Price’s column while maintaining sufficient forces to continue pursuit
against the guerrillas gathering to support Price.32
1Albert Castel, General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West (Baton
Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1968), 153-173.
2Ibid, 173-183.
3Ibid, 196-203.
4Richard S. Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy: Guerilla Warfare in the
West, 1861-1865 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1958), 125-126.
5Wiley Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 1863-1865, vol. 2. (New York: The
Knickerbocker Press, 1899); reprint Ottawa, KS: Kansas Heritage Press, 1994, 364.
6Ibid, 366-368.
7Brownlee, 188-195.
8The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union
and Confederate Armies. (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901),
ser. 1, vol. 41, part 1, 663-664.
9Organization and Status of Missouri Troops In Service During the Civil War
(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902) as cited in Kirby Ross. Federal Militia
in Missouri. Online. Available at Internet. Accessed 21
February 2004, section 6.
10T. J. Stiles, Jesse James, Last Rebel of the Civil War. (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 2002), 83-109.
11Albert Castel, William Clark Quantrill, His Life and Times (Norman, OK:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1999), 178-179.
12Albert Castel and Thomas Goodrich, Bloody Bill Anderson, the Short, Savage
Life of a Civil War Guerilla (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1998), 41-44.
13Brownlee, 203-204.
14Castel, Anderson. 47.
15Ibid, 48.
16Ibid, 50.
17Official Records, ser. I, vol. XLI, part II, 480.
18Stiles, 113-114.
19Castel, Anderson, 54-56.
20Brownlee, 210-212.
21Edward E. Leslie, The Devil Knows How to Ride, The True Story of William
Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders (New York: Random House, 1996), 315-
22Ibid, 317-318.
23Castel, Anderson, 70-79.
24Ibid, 80-82.
25Leslie, 322-323.
26Stiles, 124-125 and Castel, Anderson, 67.
27Castel, Anderson, 89-95.
28Castel, Quantrill, 193-196.
29John N. Edwards, Noted Guerillas, or the Warfare of the Border. (St. Louis,
MO: Bryan, Brand & Company, 1877), 220.
30Richard J. Hinton, Rebel Invasion of Missouri and Kansas and the Campaign of
the Army of the Border Against General Sterling Price, in October and November 1864
(Chicago: Church, Goodman, and Donnelly, 1865), 15.
31Official Records, ser. 1, vol. 41, part 3, 725-726.
While Price made preparations for the expedition into Missouri, Confederate
infantry assigned to the Trans-Mississippi Department was transferred to the Western
Theater thereby changing the intent of Price’s mission in Missouri from an invasion to a
raid. With the reduction in forces available to Price for the operation, Price’s ability to
achieve his objectives changed. To be successful, Price would have to exploit the limited
window of opportunity created by the guerrilla activity by moving rapidly to seize critical
objectives, such as the arsenal at St. Louis and the state government at Jefferson City.
With the Federal forces dispersed throughout Missouri to contend with the guerrilla raids,
Rosecrans had little force to mass in the defense of St. Louis or Jefferson City. Only
Price’s slow movement provided him the opportunity to mass. As the Confederate forces
wasted valuable time in the attack on Fort Davidson and collecting plunder, Rosecrans
assembled the necessary forces to prevent Price from achieving any of his objectives with
the exception of collecting plunder which would later become an albatross to Price’s
withdrawal. As the raid progressed, Price lost more time in Boonville and during the raids
on Sedalia and Glasgow resulting in more booty of little military significance and not
worth the amount of time spent to acquire it. Also, the effectiveness of the guerrillas
decreased as they massed and moved in front of or parallel to the conventional forces,
doing little to prevent Federal forces from massing against Price as he moved toward
Price completed preparations for his raid by the end of August 1864. He
organized the cavalry of the District of Arkansas into the Army of Missouri comprised of
three divisions commanded by Brevet Major Generals Marmaduke, Shelby, and Fagan.
Marmaduke and Fagan’s divisions formed at Camden, Arkansas with Marmaduke’s
division composed of the cavalry of the Missouri State Guard and Fagan’s division
mostly comprised of veteran Arkansas regiments. Shelby’s division was composed of
southern Missouri partisans and recruits from northern Arkansas.1 Price departed Camden
on 28 August 1864, and the Missouri Raid commenced. Shelby’s division joined the
columns three weeks later at Pocahontas, Arkansas. With a combined force of
approximately 15,000 mounted soldiers and two dozen artillery pieces, Price entered
Missouri on 20 September 1864. As they crossed the border, Price’s divisions moved to
the northeast toward Frederickstown on three separate routes with Shelby to the west,
Fagan in the center, and Marmaduke to the east. As they advanced, Shelby made contact
with a detachment of the Federal Third Missouri Cavalry conducting reconnaissance
along the border. The Confederates skirmished with Federal patrols near Doniphan and
In preparation for the coming attack, Rosecrans worked to consolidate his force of
approximately 10,000 men to defend against Price. Sanborn mustered 2,000 men from his
district to defend Springfield while Brown and Fisk continued to conduct counterguerrilla
operations along the Missouri River. McNeil gathered his forces, another 2,000
men, to defend Rolla at the end of the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad. During
October, the strength of the various militias called to duty rose to over 24,000 soldiers
including almost 8,000 in the St. Louis District alone, relieving the MSM troops under
Sanborn, Brown, Fisk, and McNeil to consolidate against the threat posed by Price.
Rosecrans convinced Major General Henry Halleck, the Army Chief of Staff, to divert
Major General A. J. Smith’s division of 6,000 men, enroute to reinforce Sherman in
Georgia, to defend St. Louis. One regiment of the Smith’s Division accompanied Ewing
to reinforce Fort Davidson near Pilot Knob, bringing the outpost’s total force to 1200
On September 25, Price met with his division commanders at Frederickstown to
determine their course of action (see Maps, Appendix A). Learning of the reinforcements
arriving in St. Louis, Price decided to attack the fort at Pilot Knob to secure his flank and
seize badly needed arms and equipment stored there. Fagan’s and Marmaduke’s
Divisions moved west to Arcadia while Shelby’s Division continued north to isolate the
fort from reinforcements. Federal pickets established blocking positions in Shut-In Gap
checking Fagan’s advance. Price renewed the attack the following day pushing back the
Federal pickets and assaulting the fort, only to be repulsed. On the second night of the
battle, Ewing determined that his garrison could not withstand another assault and
evacuated the fort under the cover of darkness. He rigged the powder magazine to
explode and retreated north. His advance guard encountered and routed a patrol from
Shelby’s division moving south at Caledonia. Then Ewing changed directions and moved
toward the southwest branch of the Pacific Railroad at Harrison, today the town of
Leasburg. Ewing quickly established a defensive position along the railroad awaiting
reinforcements from Rolla. Though mounted, while Ewing’s men were moving by foot,
Marmaduke and Shelby failed to overtake the small force and broke contact without
assaulting the defensive position at Harrison, moving off to the northeast toward St.
Louis. Having been defeated by a small garrison at Fort Davidson, Price departed Pilot
Knob on 29 September with Fagan’s division toward St. Louis.4
Price’s attack at Pilot Knob needlessly delayed his movement forward allowing
Rosecrans additional time to secure the defenses at St. Louis and Jefferson City. The
attack also created casualties that could not easily be replaced. Coupled with Rosecrans’
activation of provisional militia due to increase of guerrilla activity, Federal forces were
then sufficient to defend against Price’s conventional attack while maintaining pressure
on the guerrillas who had consolidated into two major groups and were operating in
force. To counter Price’s 12,000-15,000 cavalrymen, Rosecrans had 24,000 men of the
various Enrolled Militias garrisoning towns and pursuing the guerrilla forces while
10,000 MSM reinforced with 6,000 infantry consolidated to defend against Price’s attack
and eventually pursue Price into the 15,000 soldiers from Curtis’ Department of Kansas
along the border. Additionally, Price only acquired meager amounts of food and unusable
cannons by captured the fort. What he acquired was not worth the amount of time and
casualties lost while engaging Ewing’s force that posed little threat to Price’s flank. The
initial battle in the raid delayed Price’s movement and provided no benefit to his force.
While the guerrillas were disrupting Federal communications along the Missouri
River, Price arrived in Franklin County with Fagan’s Division, and facing a greater
number of defenders near St. Louis, abandoned the main purpose of the raid and turned
his forces west toward Jefferson City. With Marmaduke and Shelby’s divisions arriving
after their pursuit of Ewing, Price consolidated his forces in Franklin County, crossed the
Meramec River, and headed west, destroying railroad bridges and depots in his wake. By
3 October, Price occupied Hermann and captured a supply train containing clothing and
400 Sharps rifles.5
As the Confederate forces moved west, they not only foraged for subsistence to
maintain their force, they also plundered many of the small towns along the way. Before
leaving Arkansas, Price had issued strict orders to prevent depredation of the areas they
“liberated.” Price appointed a provost marshal and created a provost guard to prevent
straggling and pillaging. However, the columns were dispersed along the line of march to
forage leaving little supervision or control over undisciplined troops that had been
recruited into the ranks, and pillaging and straggling persisted. By the time the army
arrived near Hermann, they had averaged only 15 miles a day and their wagon train had
swollen to almost 500 wagons of captured material eventually to become a hindrance to
their success.6
When Price turned west before St. Louis, Rosecrans discerned the threat against
Jefferson City and Kansas. He immediately directed his district commanders to
consolidate their available force at Jefferson City and notified Curtis of the potential
threat to Kansas. On 3 October, Brown and Fisk arrived in Jefferson City. While
Marmaduke and Shelby pressed Ewing toward Leasburg, Sanborn took his force from
Springfield to reinforce McNeil in Rolla. Learning of Price’s subsequent movement
toward the capital, Sanborn and McNeil linked up at Vienna on 4 October enroute to
Jefferson City. They crossed the Osage River arriving in Jefferson City only hours before
Shelby’s advance crossed the Osage further to the north. By 6 October, Fisk assumed
command of the combined force of 7200 men with eight guns to defend the capital.7
By 6 October, Shelby had advanced to within six miles of Jefferson City. Price
spent two days developing the situation, committing two divisions in preparation for the
attack, but based on reports of the Federal strength in Jefferson City, he did not order the
assault on the capitol, failing to achieve the second major objective of the raid. Having
forced a crossing of the Osage River, Shelby ordered the Iron Brigade into the attack. The
brigade pushed back Federal forces sent to regain the fords and pushed Sanborn’s pickets
back to the Moreau River just south of Jefferson City. As Shelby formed his division
south of the Moreau River, Sanborn’s brigade withdrew into the defenses of Jefferson
City. Two cavalry regiments of the MSM and a detachment of the EMM conducted
delaying operations at the ford sites along the Moreau River repulsing two attacks before
being dislodged by artillery. With Shelby across the Moreau, Fisk organized the Federal
defense to meet the coming assault, Brown’s brigade to his left, Sanborn’s brigade in the
center, and McNeil’s brigade, to the right. As Shelby’s division continued to push back
the Federal delaying forces, Fagan’s division arrived on his right flank and a Confederate
battery of artillery began suppressing the Federals in their entrenchments. Federal
artillery quickly returned fire forcing the Confederate battery to withdraw. While Fagan
prepared for an assault, Shelby moved his division to the northwest of town in front of
McNeil. By nightfall, the Army of Missouri was prepared to make an assault on Jefferson
However, having received information about the arrival of Sanborn and McNeil’s
force and estimates doubling the size of the defending force, Price met with his
subordinate commanders on the evening of 7 October. Still reeling from the defeat at
Pilot Knob and believing they faced superior forces, the commanders decided not to
make an assault on Jefferson City. Early on 8 October, Shelby and Fagan left a small
covering force in contact with the Federal defenders and withdrew to the southwest
toward Russellville enroute to Boonville, a town known for its Southern sympathies.9
Thomas C. Reynolds, the Confederate Governor of Missouri, accompanied
Price’s force during the raid hoping to be reinstated in the capital as they moved into
Missouri liberating the state from the Union. Many leaders in the Trans-Mississippi
Department feared Price’s political ambition and recommended that Reynolds
accompany the forces to establish the Confederate government in the capital and to
prevent Price from claiming the governorship. Throughout the campaign, Reynolds
criticized Price’s handling of the operation, and after returning to Texas, made every
effort to discredit Price based on the failure to reinstate him in Jefferson City.10 Even
though Price’s unnecessary attack at Fort Davidson coupled with the slow movement up
to Jefferson City allowed the Federal forces time to strengthen the defenses of the capital,
and although berated by Reynolds for his failure to attack Jefferson City, Price made the
right decision and bypassed Jefferson City because he lacked sufficient force to take the
After Price turned west reducing the threat to St. Louis, Rosecrans began to
organize a force to pursue the raiders through the Missouri River valley. Rosecrans
ordered Smith and his 4500 infantrymen to pursue Price toward the west. An additional
4500 infantrymen under Major General J. A. Mower joined Smith’s command at
Jefferson City. Earlier during the summer of 1864, Mower’s division had been sent into
northern Arkansas against Shelby, but arrived after Shelby joined Price and moved north
into Missouri. Mower loaded his men onto steamboats moving up the Mississippi River
to St. Louis. Arriving there after Price had already turned west, Mower’s division went
on to Jefferson City to join Smith in the pursuit, never quite catching up to Price’s
mounted soldiers. Additionally, Rosecrans sent Major General Alfred Pleasonton to
Jefferson City to organize those forces to join in the pursuit after Price advanced toward
Boonville. Pleasonton found 4100 mounted soldiers in Jefferson City and organized them
into three brigades led by Rosecrans’ district commanders, Sanborn, Brown, and McNeil.
He immediately sent Sanborn’s brigade in pursuit of Price’s column making contact with
the Confederate rear east of Russellville. The other two brigades soon joined the fight
against Price’s rear guard as they continued their march to Boonville.11
Upon learning of Price’s advance toward Jefferson City, General Curtis,
commanding the Department of Kansas, began to organize “The Army of the Border” for
the defense of Kansas. A large portion of his force was battling hostile Indians along the
border with the Indian Territory. Major General Blunt, commanding the District of the
Upper Arkansas in western Kansas, was leading an expedition from Fort Larned, Kansas
when he received orders to cease his current expedition and return to Olathe with all
available forces to block access into the Kansas River valley. Blunt arrived in Olathe on
10 October and relieved Major General George Sykes of command of the District of
South Kansas organizing the First Division of the Army of the Border with 7,000 soldiers
near Paola, Kansas. Curtis immediately urged Governor Thomas Carney to mobilize the
state militia, but not until Price had bypassed Jefferson City and continued west did
Carney authorize the mobilization on 9 October. Major General George Deitzler,
commander of the KSM, organized 8,000 state militiamen and formed the Second
Division at Olathe, Kansas.12 Private Sam Worthington, a member of Company A, 11th
Kansas Cavalry Regiment, echoed Curtis’ concern about Price’s advance when he wrote
to his father on 12 October 1864,
News of Price’s movement has just come in and we have been making orders for
Troops to come in from the West by forced marches. . . . I don’t see how we can
withstand the onward progress of Gen. Price – as there are not in the Dept. of
Missouri & Dept. of Kansas troops sufficient to whip him unless reinforcements
arrive from the east.13
Having fought a rear guard action since leaving Jefferson City, Price’s men
arrived in Boonville on 10 October where they were welcomed as heroes by the towns’
Southern sympathizing inhabitants. The Army of Missouri, even with the grand
reception, spent the next two days “liberating” Boonville. Brigadier General Jeff
Thompson, commanding the Iron Brigade of Shelby’s Division later commented,
I had only to try to control my own Brigade, to save their reputation from the
demoralization which was seizing the army. The plunder of Boonville nearly
completed this demoralization for many officers and men loaded themselves, their
horses and wagons with “their rights” and now wanted to turn southward and save
what they had.14
In addition to the loot acquired in Boonville, almost 1,500 local citizens joined the
formations. These conscripts and volunteers added to the ranks were mostly unarmed
farmers formed into a brigade under the command of Colonel Charles Tyler.
Anderson arrived in Boonville on 11 October. He encountered Price, who was
appalled at the sight of scalps adorning the bridles of his men’s horses and refused to
meet with Anderson until they were removed. Price questioned Anderson about his recent
activities and the disposition of Federal forces in the area. Anderson presented Price with
a pair of silver pistols, and Price exclaimed that if he had 50,000 more men like
Anderson, he could hold Missouri forever. He also issued orders for Anderson to
“proceed to the north side of the Missouri River and permanently destroy the North
Missouri Railroad, going as far east as practicable. He will report his operations at least
every two days.”15 The intent of the order was to prevent Federal forces from using the
railroad to maneuver forces along his flank to threaten his advance; however, Anderson’s
and Todd’s actions in northern Missouri during the summer, especially at Centralia, had
already brought rail traffic to a stand still. He also drafted orders for Quantrill to attack
the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad, but Quantrill never received the orders.16
With the railroads already rendered inoperable, Price could have chosen a more
suitable task for the guerrillas. Using the guerrillas to conduct hit and run attacks or
ambushes to delay Federal forces in pursuit of his conventional force may have provided
Price the opportunity to defeat Federal forces in detail in separate actions. However,
Pleasonton and Smith’s forces were able to maintain significant pressure on his rear
guard and flank, forcing Price to continue moving forward and denying him the ability to
develop the tactical situation in upcoming battles until he was overwhelmed and forced to
retreat to the south to save his army.
Anderson crossed the Missouri River and lingered along the north bank of the
river watching the advanced toward Glasgow. On 14 October, he sent 80 guerrillas east to
Montgomery County. The guerrillas raided Danville where they killed several militiamen
and civilians, looted the stores, and burned most of the homes and stores in the town.
They proceeded to the east and attacked Florence and High Hill, two stations along the
North Missouri Railroad, burning the depots before being dispersed by local militia and
heading back west.17
Price left Boonville on 12 October continuing his movement west along the
Missouri River stopping at Marshall on 14 October. He sent Brigadier General John
Clark’s Brigade of Marmaduke’s Division across the Missouri River at Arrow Rock to
attack the Federal garrison at Glasgow. Colonel Sidney Jackman’s Brigade of Shelby’s
Division moved north to support the attack from the west across the river. The combined
force defeated the garrison of 550 soldiers on 14 October and captured arms and
equipment stored there rejoining Price on 17 October. 18 While Clark and Jackman
attacked Glasgow, Price sent Thompson to raid Sedalia. With 1,000 men and a section of
artillery, Thompson made his way south to Sedalia, attacking the two redoubts defending
the town and routing the defenders. He gathered sustenance, arms, equipment, and some
horses before ‘verbally’ paroling the soldiers he had taken prisoner. Thompson returned
on 17 October with information that Federal infantry were near Sedalia preparing to cross
the Lamine River and cavalry were moving west toward Lexington.19 The raids on
Glasgow and Sedalia held the Army of Missouri in Marshall for three days while
pursuing Federal forces closed the gap between them. With his forces reunited, Price
continued his movement west toward Lexington. Shelby’s division led the advance of
Price’s army as they entered Lafayette County on 18 October where Todd and his band of
guerrillas joined their column and scouted their advance into Lexington.20
After Clark and Shelby departed Glasgow, Anderson led a small group of
guerrillas into town and went to the home of Benjamin Lewis, the most prominent man in
Glasgow. Anderson tortured and extorted $5,000 from Lewis. Other reports suggest that
Anderson and some of his band raped black female slaves during the raid. Quantrill also
took advantage of the destruction and led a small group into town, forcing W. F. Dunnica
to open the safe, robbing $21,000 from the bank in Glasgow. Quantrill left town and went
into hiding and did not participate in any further actions during the raid. Anderson united
with his men returning from the Danville raid and turned west into Chariton County.21
Having pressed against Price’s rear guard to the outskirts of Boonville, Sanborn
was repulsed by Marmaduke and Fagan’s Divisions and withdrew south of Saline Creek
to resupply his force. At California, Missouri, Sanborn was reinforced with 1500
cavalrymen from Colonel E. C. Catherwood’s brigade moving in advance of Smith’s
division. He continued screening the southern flank of the Price’s columns as they moved
west toward Marshall. Sanborn then split his force, sending a column west to outflank
Price along the Georgetown-Lexington road to Cook’s Store, now Concordia, while the
other column maintained contact with Price’s rear guard. It was Sanborn’s column, sent
toward Lexington, that Thompson detected during his raid to Sedalia.22 Pleasonton
arrived in Dunksburg with Colonel Edward Winslow’s cavalry brigade and assumed
command of the Provisional Cavalry Division on 19 October. Rosecrans also moved
forward accompanying Smith’s Infantry Division to Sedalia.23
Meanwhile, with the Army of the Border formed, Curtis ordered an advance into
Missouri toward Lexington to occupy better defensible terrain. Deitzler to the north
commanded Curtis’ left wing and Blunt to the south, his right. Deitzler’s Division,
organized as 12 separate militia regiments, was to move from encampments near
Shawnee, Kansas through Independence occupying Lexington in advance of the
Confederates. Brigadier General M. S. Grant later formed a brigade of two militia cavalry
regiments under Deitzler. Blunt’s Division, organized into four brigades, moved to
Hickman Mills, then through Warrensburg enroute to Lexington. His brigade
commanders were Colonels Charles Jennison, Thomas Moonlight, Charles Blair, and
James Ford. Brigadier General William Fishback commanded the militia regiments under
Colonel Blair’s Brigade and resented taking orders from a colonel.24
As the units began to move east, many of the militia units refused to cross the
state border stating they would defend Kansas but not fight for Missouri. Fishback used
this opportunity to defy orders and send Colonel J. S. Snoddy and the 6th Kansas State
Militia back to defend Kansas. Blunt personally halted the column, arrested Fishback and
Snoddy, and countermarched the column back to Hickman Mills. With the militia’s
refusal to cross the border, Blunt’s advance dwindled to Jennison and Moonlight’s
Brigades with 2,000 troopers and eight howitzers arriving in Lexington on 18 October.
Blunt requested that Curtis send the remainder of the division forward to reinforce his
position in Lexington as he attempted to hold the town until Smith’s infantry and
Pleasonton’s cavalry could flank Price’s column. Curtis could only compel some units of
the militia to venture as far east as Independence, while others moved up to the Big Blue
River, the rest of the militia remained concentrated on the border waiting for Price’s
arrival. Blunt was on his own to face Price’s advance. Curtis began to establish defensive
positions along the Big Blue while business operations were suspended and martial law
declared in Kansas City.25 The next five days would determine the fate of Price’s Army
of Missouri.
Having failed to seize the arms stored at St. Louis, take the capital, and return the
Confederate Governor to office, or to incite an uprising from the population, Price was
facing a decision to divert the raid towards Kansas or withdraw south toward Arkansas
with his immense wagon train filled with plunder. As his slow moving formation
continued toward the west, Federal forces were consolidating along the Kansas border to
block his advance, while another formation was in pursuit from Jefferson City. Price
dispatched Anderson’s guerrilla force to disrupt rail lines north of the Missouri River, a
task that had already been accomplished. Price may not have know the status of rail
traffic north of the Missouri River and hoped to prevent Federals forces from reinforcing
Kansas City from the north. Or, as many sources suggest, Price may have sent Anderson
as far east as possible to distance his force from the guerrillas. In either case, the guerrilla
force did nothing to prevent Rosecrans from massing Pleasonton’s cavalry and Smith’s
infantry in pursuit of Price. Anderson’s men seemed more content with traveling in the
wake of the Confederate army plundering the spoils that Price left behind as evident with
the raid into Glasgow following Shelby’s withdrawal. Todd’s guerrilla force was
absorbed by Shelby’s Division as they moved west into Lexington. Todd’s men were
probably the best choice for scouts in this part of Missouri, but were more vulnerable as
they operated in concert with the conventional force. Price failed to take advantage of the
opportunity to strike quickly while the Federal force was dispersed and then failed to
effectively redirect the effort of Anderson and Todd’s guerrilla forces to allow him to
escape defeat.
1 Richard J. Hinton, Rebel Invasion of Missouri and Kansas and the Campaign of
the Army of the Border Against General Sterling Price, in October and November 1864
(Chicago: Church, Goodman, and Donnelly, 1865), 12 and Howard N. Monnett, Action
Before Westport 1864 (Kansas City, MO: Westport Historical Society, 1964), 19-21.
2 Wiley Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 1863-1865, vol. 2. (New York: The
Knickerbocker Press, 1899); reprint (Ottawa, KS: Kansas Heritage Press, 1994), 390-391.
3 Hinton, 19-30 and Annual Report of the Adjutant General of Missouri.
(Jefferson City, MO: W. A. Curry, Public Printer, 1864).
4 Albert Castel, General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West (Baton
Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1968), 209-221.
5 Monnett, 25-26.
6 Castel, Price, 222-224.
7 Britton, 417-418.
8 Ibid, 418-421.
9 Ibid, 421-422.
10 Castel, Price, 206 & 256.
11 Monnett, 27-29.
12 Ibid, 35-49.
13 Samuel Worthington to father, 12 October 1864, Miscellaneous Collection,
Worthington Papers, Box 97, Kansas Center for Historical Research, Topeka, Kansas.
14 Castel, Price, 226-227.
15 The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union
and Confederate Armies (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901),
ser. 1, vol. 41, part 4, 354.
16 Castel, Price, 226-227.
17 Richard S. Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy: Guerilla Warfare in the
West, 1861-1865 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1958), 225.
18 Britton, 431-432.
19 Monnett, 31.
20 Albert Castel, William Clark Quantrill, His Life and Times (Norman, OK:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1999), 197.
21 Edward E. Leslie, The Devil Knows How to Ride, The True Story of William
Clarke Quantrill and His Confederate Raiders (New York: Random House, 1996), 333-
22 Monnett, 28-30.
23 Hinton, 114.
24 Monnett, 43-44.
25 Britton, 441-443.
As Price’s Raid reached a crescendo, the guerrilla bands did little to prevent the
Federal forces from massing against Price. One of the tenants of Compound Warfare is
that the guerrilla force shields the regular force from destruction, while the employment
or threat of employment of the regular force denies the major power from dispersing to
defeat the guerrillas. Shelby absorbed Todd’s men as they moved toward Independence,
and undoubtedly, the guerrillas provided excellent service as scouts for Price’s advance,
but they were not preventing the Federal force from massing to defeat Price. They were
actually making Rosecrans and Curtis’ job easier by massing the guerrillas and operating
with the regular force. While Todd led the advance, Anderson’s men were massed north
of the river, raiding garrisons along the river as they moved west and keeping pace with
Price’s advance south of the river. Once again, this force did little to prevent the Federals
from massing against Price. Had they been able to prevent or even delay Pleasonton’s
advance, the outcome of the raid may have been different.
As Price moved west toward Lexington, he learned of the Federal dispositions
with Blunt occupying Lexington while Pleasonton and A. J. Smith were arriving in
Sedalia. Approaching Lexington on 19 October, Price sent Shelby’s Division to flank
Blunt in Lexington, thus intercepting Rosecrans’ line of march to prevent Federal forces
from uniting against him along his axis of advance. The Army of the Missouri
approached Lexington along three routes, the Warrensburg Road to the south, the Sedalia
Road to the southeast, and the Dover Road to the east. The advancing Confederate
cavalry came into contact with Blunt’s pickets along all three routes, successfully
pushing them back with the exception of a 250-man detachment of the 11th Kansas
Cavalry Division under Captain H. E. Palmer along the Dover Road. As Shelby pressed
the pickets toward Lexington, Blunt established a line of defense to the southeast of
By late afternoon, Shelby had advanced up to Blunt’s line of defense and
continued to press the attack. Shelby brought his artillery into position, outranging
Blunt’s howitzers, to support the attack and began to flank the Federal line on both sides.
Realizing his precarious situation and with no knowledge of Rosecrans’ advance, Blunt
ordered a withdrawal toward Independence. Upon detecting the withdrawal, Thompson
immediately started his pursuit. Moonlight led the 11th Kansas Cavalry with four
howitzers to cover Blunt’s withdrawal checking Thompson’s advance several times
before nightfall suspended the attack. Blunt continued to fall back to the west reaching
the Little Blue River early in the morning of 20 October. His forces immediately crossed
the river and established defenses along the bluff on the west bank the river. Blunt sent a
request for reinforcements to Curtis, who had occupied defensive positions along the
Blue River (or “Big” Blue) east of Independence. Curtis directed Blunt to leave a
detachment to cover the bridge on the Lexington Road and fall back to his position along
the Blue River. Blunt continued to withdraw to Independence with Jennison’s Brigade
while Moonlight occupied the rear guard position along the Little Blue awaiting Price’s
Following the retreat of Blunt’s forces, Price encamped south of Lexington on the
night of 19 October before resuming the march toward Independence. Todd, scouting the
advance of Price’s column, brought captured soldiers to Price’s headquarters during the
movement toward the Little Blue River. The prisoners reported concentrations of Federal
forces at the Little Blue crossing, along the Big Blue River, and Kansas militia along the
state border. Learning the Federal dispositions, Price ordered the army to advance to the
Little Blue to seize river crossings sites before the Federals were reinforced and the
crossings became impassable. 3
Marmaduke’s Division led the advance to the Little Blue River. Clark’s Brigade
sent skirmishers forward on the morning of 21 October, gaining contact with Moonlight’s
picket one mile east of the bridge on the Lexington Road. As Clark pressed the attack
forcing the pickets back to the bridge, Moonlight ordered the bridge destroyed by setting
fire to a wagon of hay located on the span of the bridge. Clark quickly dispatched the
10th Missouri Cavalry to secure a ford north of the bridge and the 4th Missouri Cavalry
to a ford to the south while attempting to extinguish the fire. Clark moved several pieces
of artillery across the bridge before it collapsed and secured both fords with little
resistance. Freeman’s Brigade crossed the river close behind Clark. As Moonlight’s
defenders prepared to counter the rapid advance of Marmaduke’s Division, Blunt
returned from Independence with reinforcements. During the night, he had convinced
Curtis to allow him to return to the Little Blue crossing to delay the Confederate advance
and secured the attachment of a fourth brigade to his division led by Colonel James H.
Ford with the 2nd Colorado and 16th Kansas Cavalry Regiments, an additional 1,000
men and six field guns.4
Upon arriving at the bluff west of the bridge, Blunt quickly formed a battle line
and held back the Confederate advance until Shelby’s Division crossed the river
threatening the left flank of his line. Low on ammunition and pressed on both flanks,
Blunt began to fight a desperate delaying action toward Independence. He organized the
delay into two groups, one covering the other’s movement, first at Massey’s Farm two
miles from the river, then at Saunders’ Farm three miles further west before falling back
into Independence and establishing defensive positions on the edge of town.5
Shelby’s Division led the approach into Independence from the northeast with
Todd scouting the advance. As they moved forward, Todd silhouetted himself along a
ridgeline as he reconnoitered the approach into town when a Federal sniper shot and
killed him. David Poole assumed command of the guerrilla force, probably less than one
hundred men, and continued in the advance with Shelby’s Division.6
As Shelby’s Division attacked through the streets of Independence, Blunt
withdrew his forces to the west of town toward the Big Blue River. During the previous
three days, Curtis had established defenses from Byram’s Ford near Westport to the
Missouri River to control the fords and approaches along the Big Blue River. Deitzler’s
Kansas militia and the Blair’s Third Brigade of Blunt’s Division constructed breastworks
along the ridgeline to the west of the river and abatis in the fords to deny their use to
Price’s advancing columns. On the night of 21 October, Price encamped the Army of
Missouri in Independence across the river from Curtis’ Army of the Border.7
On the morning of 22 October, Curtis had the Army of the Border arrayed in
defensive positions along the Big Blue River with Deitzler commanding the left wing and
Blunt commanding the right. The left wing consisted of the Blair’s Third Brigade of
Blunt’s Division, attached to Deitzler’s command, and several separate KSM regiments
occupying positions from the Independence Road north to the Missouri River. The
remainder of Blunt’s Division occupied the right wing from the Independence Road south
to Byram’s Ford consisting of Jennison’s First Brigade, Moonlight’s Second Brigade,
Ford’s Fourth Brigade, and a Kansas Militia Cavalry brigade commanded by Brigadier
General M. S. Grant positioned several miles up river at Russell’s Ford near Indian
Creek. Blunt sent a force of six companies east on the Independence Road to gain contact
with Shelby’s Division to determine their disposition and delay their advance. They
skirmished Jackman’s Brigade for several hours, before Shelby withdrew that force and
concentrated his effort further south at Byram’s Ford.8
With Curtis’ force along the Big Blue River and Rosecrans’ force in pursuit, Price
faced three challenges: to defeat Curtis while preventing Rosecrans from closing on his
rear, to protect his large wagon train, and then turn to defeat Rosecrans once he had
defeated Curtis. By this time, Price probably had not formed a final decision on his
intention to continue the attack into Kansas as directed by Kirby Smith back in August, or
to turn south and cover his wagon train as he left Missouri. The events of the day would
help him determine the course of action. In any case, on the morning of 22 October, Price
needed to get across the Big Blue River. He sent Shelby’s Division forward to secure a
ford while Fagan’s Division brought the wagon train forward both under the cover of
Marmaduke’s Division as the rear guard against Pleasonton and Smith in pursuit.9
While pushing Jackman’s Brigade toward Independence, Shelby sent Thompson’s
Brigade south of Independence Road to locate the flank of the Federal position and
reconnoiter an alternate crossing site of the Big Blue River. Jackman maintained the
demonstration toward the Independence Road bridge until Fagan’s Division brought the
wagon train up through Independence and turned south on the road toward Little Sante
Fe, south of Westport. Jackman broke contact in the north and followed the wagon train
toward Sante Fe. Thompson’s Brigade was unsuccessful in finding a suitable river
crossing, and Shelby directed Jackman’s Brigade to assault Byram’s Ford.10
Jennison’s First Brigade prepared for their attack while occupying defensive
positions at Byram’s Ford. Byram’s Ford is located where the south fork of Independence
Road crosses the Blue River southeast of Westport. On the west bank of the ford, a
narrow lane crosses the river curving around a steep hill overlooking the river through a
growth of dense trees and underbrush. Jennison’s men occupied breastworks constructed
along the hill with five artillery pieces positioned along the road to cover the ford, which
hopefully had been rendered impassable by abatis. Jackman’s Brigade made several
attempts to force a crossing but was driven back each time as Thompson’s Brigade
continued to probe the river line.
Shelby sent Lieutenant Colonel Alonzo Slayback’s Missouri Cavalry Battalion
north of Byram’s Ford looking for a tenable crossing site. Slayback discovered Hinkle’s
Ford unguarded and quickly crossed the river. Once on the west back, Slayback attacked
south into Jennison’s exposed flank forcing his withdrawal from the river allowing
Jackman to assault across the river. Shelby cleared the ford and rushed Thompson’s
Brigade across the river in pursuit of Jennison’s retreating brigade.11
Upon hearing cannon fire at Byram’s Ford, Blunt dispatched Moonlight’s Second
Brigade to reinforce Jennison’s forces. By the time Moonlight approached the ford,
Slayback’s battalion had already turned the Federal flank and Jennison was in full retreat
toward Westport. Moonlight quickly moved to the west and joined Jennison three miles
southwest of Westport forming a line of battle and checked Thompson’s advance. At
nightfall, Thompson withdrew to the south, while Moonlight crossed into Kansas near
Shawnee Mission and Jennison moved north to Westport. With the defensive line of the
Blue River penetrated at Byram’s Ford, Curtis ordered his forces to withdraw from the
Blue River. Deitzler’s Division withdrew from their positions north of the Independence
Road into entrenchments south of Kansas City while Blunt’s Division delayed Shelby’s
attack. Ford’s Brigade withdrew into Westport followed by Jennison’s Brigade.12
During the fighting, Poole’s guerrillas murdered several Kansas militiamen
captured at Byram’s Ford, probably due to their association with their commander,
Jennison, who had been a prominent Jayhawker before the war. Price ordered the
guerrillas to leave the army for fear of retaliation on Confederate prisoners. Most
complied with Price’s order, except a few who joined Shelby’s ranks. The rest lingered in
the wake of army or made their way back toward Jackson County and the Sni Hills
While Slayback moved north of Byram’s Ford to cross the river, Shelby also sent
Colonel Frank Gordon and the 5th Missouri Cavalry to reconnoiter for a river crossing to
the south. Also finding a suitable crossing site, Gordon crossed the river and advanced
south toward Russell’s Ford encountering Grant’s Brigade as he withdrew from the river
to prevent being cut off by Thompson’s advance. Grant’s Brigade was ill prepared to
meet the advance and fell back, attempting to link up with Jennison. As Grant approached
Mockabee Farm on the Harrisonville Road, Jackman’s Brigade charged, decimating
Grant’s Brigade. Following the attack, Grant led the remnants of his force into Kansas up
to Olathe and into Kansas City the next day.14
While the Confederate forces moved toward Kansas City, Pleasonton continued
his pursuit, finally catching up to Price’s rear guard at Independence. McNeil’s Second
Brigade led the advance occupying Lexington at midnight on 19 October. McNeil
resumed the march west, arriving at the destroyed bridge on Independence Road over the
Little Blue River early on 22 October. While Pleasonton constructed a hasty bridge to
pass the artillery and wagon trains over the river, McNeil crossed the river and arrived at
Independence by late morning, attacking Price’s rear guard, Cabell’s and Slemons’
Brigades of Fagan’s Division. Pleasonton also committed Sanborn’s Third Brigade to
accompany McNeil’s troops in a mounted charge into the streets of Independence driving
Marmaduke and Fagan out the west side of town.15
While McNeil and Sanborn’s Brigades cleared the town, capturing two guns and
four hundred men, Pleasonton sent Brown’s First Brigade and Winslow’s Fourth Brigade
to continue the pursuit. Brown attacked down the Westport Road pushing the rear guard
back another two miles. With his ammunition expended, Brown broke off the attack and
returned to Independence while Winslow led his brigade against Clark’s Brigade of
Marmaduke’s Division down the Westport Road toward Byram’s Ford. Pressing the
attack well into the night, Winslow pushed Clark’s Brigade back to within three miles of
the ford before receiving word from Pleasonton to halt his advance until morning. After
midnight, Pleasonton sent McNeil’s Brigade south toward Little Sante Fe to flank
Cabell’s Brigade and Tyler’s “unarmed” Brigade covering the rear of the wagon train and
cut off their withdrawal to the south. He ordered Brown’s Brigade to relieve Winslow
and for Brown to be prepared to renew the attack at Byram’s Ford at daybreak. During
the night, McNeil stopped short of Little Sante Fe to feed his horses and rest.16
Also preparing for the next days’ battle, Rosecrans diverted A. J. Smith’s infantry
from Chapel Hill to Independence to be in position to support Curtis. Knowing little of
Curtis’ disposition except that Price had forced him back into Kansas City, Pleasonton
urged Rosecrans to send Smith to relieve Curtis resulting in Smith’s command never
making it to the battle. Trusting his commander in the field, Rosecrans issued the order.
Had Smith not been diverted, he may well have been in position to block the withdrawal
of Price’s wagon train.17
Upon breaking contact with Winslow’s Brigade, Marmaduke’s Division crossed
the Blue River at Byram’s Ford, joining the rest of the Army of the Missouri as they
prepared for the coming battle and assuming the positions Jennison’s Brigade had
vacated earlier that morning. Facing Blunt in Westport, Curtis in Kansas City, with
Pleasonton threatening his flank, and A. J. Smith’s location unknown, Price determined
that he did not have sufficient strength to continue the raid into Kansas and decided to
send the wagon train south and begin his withdrawal. Shelby’s and Fagan’s Divisions
were to attack Federal forces at Westport while Marmaduke’s Division held the flank
along the Blue River allowing the wagon train time to withdraw toward the Indian
Territory.18 The field was set for the decisive battle of Price’s Raid, the Battle of
At daybreak on 23 October, Blunt moved south through Westport into positions
along the tree line south of Brush Creek with Ford’s Fourth Brigade on the left,
Jennison’s First Brigade in the center, and Moonlight’s Second Brigade on the right at a
right angle to his advance along State Line Road. Once in position, Blunt dismounted his
force and advanced with the 1500 cavalrymen of First and Fourth Brigades into the field
south of Brush Creek to attack Shelby and Fagan’s Divisions between Westport and
Little Sante Fe. 19
Price also began moving at daybreak to attack Blunt’s forces occupying Westport.
Shelby’s Division took the lead with Thompson’s Brigade moving north along Wornall’s
Lane with regiments of Jackman’s Brigade on both flanks. Dobbin and Slemons’
Brigades of Fagan’s Division formed a second line of battle following Shelby in the
attack. Shelby attacked the Federal center south of Westport pushing them back across
Brush Creek while Moonlight’s Second Brigade withdrew to Shawnee Mission. An
intense artillery duel ensued as Blair’s Third Brigade came into position between
Moonlight’s men and battle line along the creek. Fearing he would be flanked, Blair
initiated a counterattack.20
Curtis sent the rest of the line into the attack to protect Blair’s flank. As he
initiated his attack, Blair sent a messenger to inform Curtis of his action. Not wanting to
create a gap in the battle line, Curtis ordered all units to attack forcing Shelby back across
the creek. Shelby’s force reached cover provided by the stone fences around the fields
just south of the creek and checked the Federal advance. As Curtis moved forward with
his escort, Company G, 11th Kansas Cavalry, and the 9th Wisconsin Battery, he
encountered a civilian, George Thoman, who was looking for his mare that Confederate
soldiers had confiscated. Thoman led Curtis through a defile bringing him to a position to
Shelby’s left rear flank. The six guns of the 9th Wisconsin Battery immediately began to
fire into Shelby’s flank causing the Confederates to fall back as Collin’s Missouri Battery
with two guns provided counterbattery fire to cover their withdrawal. Blunt ordered his
men to advance and secure positions along the stone fences just vacated by Shelby. He
held those positions until the artillery came forward to support his attack, about 40 guns
in all, then he steadily pushed the Confederates back toward the Wornall House.21
During the advance toward the Wornall House, McGhee’s Arkansas Cavalry of
Dobbin’s Brigade charged McLain’s Independent Colorado Battery. As Blunt pressed the
attack to the south, McLain’s Battery continually advanced to support the attack. Upon
arriving near the Wornall House, McGhee detected the battery emplacing and ordered a
charge. As McGhee threatened to overrun the battery, Jennison led two squadrons of the
2nd Colorado Cavalry into a wild melee, countercharging the advancing cavalry charge.
Jennison’s attack defeated the charge, thus saving McClain’s six guns and artillerymen
from destruction.22
Meanwhile, actions at Byram’s Ford made Shelby’s position near the Wornall
House untenable. Having sent Brown to relieve Winslow’s Brigade and renew the attack
on Byram’s Ford at daybreak, Pleasonton rode forward to determine why no attack was
in progress well into the morning. Upon riding up to Brown’s Brigade, he found the
troops unprepared for the attack. Arresting Brown for failing to commence the attack as
ordered, Pleasonton placed Colonel John Philips in command and ordered him to attack
at once with Winslow’s Brigade in support and Winslow in overall control of the
Winslow moved forward to the ford and immediately sent two regiments into a
mounted attack to force the river crossing suffering many casualties but securing the west
bank of the river. A separate element, the 4th Iowa Cavalry, dismounted and cross the
river 300 yards downstream. A third regiment crossed the ford and attempted two
mounted charges along the road being repelled both times by well-placed artillery firing
down onto the road leading up the hill from the ford. As the battle progressed, Winslow
continued to push regiments across the river until both brigades were available to launch
a dismounted attack that succeeded in dislodging Marmaduke’s Division from the rocky
ledge overlooking the ford and driving them back into the open prairie to the west of the
river. As the attack crested the hill, Winslow was wounded by a sharpshooter in the trees
and Lieutenant Colonel F. T. Benteen, later made famous at the Battle of the Little
Bighorn, assumed command. As Marmaduke’s Division withdrew into the prairie,
Pleasonton brought Sanborn’s Brigade across the river and pursued Marmaduke west to
the Harrisonville Road appearing on Shelby’s right rear flank.23
While the battle raged along Brush Creek and Byram’s Ford, McNeil continued
his advance toward Little Sante Fe. Coming upon the rear of the wagon train and unable
to hear the sounds of the battle still raging around Westport, McNeil believed that he
confronted the entire Confederate force on his own and cautiously skirmished with
Cabell’s Brigade. With the situation worsening along the Blue River, Price ordered
Shelby to delay the advance as long as possible and headed south to direct the withdrawal
of the wagon train. When Price arrived, he formed Tyler’s Brigade into battle lines to
give the impression of greater strength thus convincing McNeil to call off an attack on
the wagon train. Later in the afternoon, Cabell forced McNeil to withdraw by setting fire
to the prairie in front of McNeil’s advance and buying time to get the wagon train past
Little Sante Fe as the forces of Marmaduke’s and Fagan’s Divisions began to arrive.
McNeil was later court-martialed for failing to follow orders and allowing Price’s column
to escape.24
With Price’s order to buy time in order to move the wagon train further south, and
with the growing threat on his flank, Shelby sent Fagan’s Division to assist Marmaduke’s
withdrawal. As Marmaduke passed through Fagan’s position, Fagan opened fire with
Blocher’s Arkansas Battery halting Sanborn’s pursuit while Jackman’s Brigade joined
Fagan’s battle line and pressed the attack. As Sanborn withdrew toward Mockabee’s
Farm, Benteen led a charge, checking the advance of the Confederates attacking Sanborn.
Finally, Pleasonton arrived with Philips’ First Brigade and attacked Shelby’s flank as
Curtis continued his attack from the north. Shelby withdrew to a line of stone fences to
the south of the Wornall House and held the position until Marmaduke and Fagan’s
Divisions retreated past Little Sante Fe. Shelby had saved the day for the Army of
Missouri. That night, Shelby’s surgeon, J. H. Baker, wrote in his diary, “If our safety can
be attributed to any one man, Jo Shelby wears the laurel.”25
Shelby’s actions, coupled with McNeil’s failure to gain Price’s flank and
Rosecrans’ order diverting A. J. Smith’s infantry to reinforce Curtis, saved the
Confederate force from sure destruction, but the Southerners had not yet reached safety.
By nightfall on 23 October, Price’s army was defeated, in full retreat, and stretched out in
a disorganized column from south of Little Sante Fe to the north bank of the Marais des
Cygnes River. The morning of 24 October was spent reforming brigades before
continuing the retreat as Blunt and Pleasonton initiated the pursuit.26
On the morning of 25 October, Price resumed the retreat while lead elements of
the Federal pursuit attacked his rear at Trading Post, Kansas. As the retreating
Confederate army continued south along the Fort Scott Road, they entered Kansas taking
the liberty to burn and pillage along the way. Receiving reports that Federal cavalry was
moving to intercept him from the west, Price continued the retreat with Shelby’s Division
to the front and Marmaduke and Fagan’s Divisions in the rear. Cabell reported the action
at Trading Post, but Price either did not receive the report or chose to ignore it. With the
lead element of the army crossing the Little Osage River, Price ordered Shelby to attack
Fort Scott. As Shelby moved off to the west toward Fort Scott, a message arrived from
Marmaduke reporting contact with 3,000 cavalrymen at the Mine Creek crossing. Price
hurried to the rear to assess the situation.27
As the rear of the wagon train was crossing Mine Creek, the ford site jammed
with wagons and buggies and became impassable just as Pleasonton’s Division closed
with the Confederate rear. Fagan and Marmaduke deployed their brigades mounted in
three ranks to cover the rear of the formation. Philips’ Union Brigade extended beyond
the Confederate line to the west of the Fort Scott Road and advanced against Fagan’s
Division while Benteen’s Brigade struck Marmaduke’s Division on the east side of the
road. The charge forced the lead ranks to break and retreat toward the creek,
disorganizing the subsequent lines as they fell back. The Confederates checked the
pursuit long enough to cross the creek and continue south at the cost of over 300 hundred
killed or wounded and 900 soldiers, including Marmaduke and Cabell, captured.28 In a
letter to his father dated 27 October 1864, Worthington mentions the capture of
Marmaduke and the state of the Confederate forces as they retreated toward Arkansas.
“[I] joined the Command at West Point day before yesterday. . . . I got with the Seventh
Kansas and was in the Charges in which we took 6 pieces of artillery 300 prisoners and
General Marmaduke. . . . I was in several minor charges during the day. . . . The Rebs are
whipped completely.”29
Seeing the demoralizing retreat of Marmaduke and Fagan’s Divisions, Price
recalled Shelby from his attack on Fort Scott. Shelby established a blocking position one
mile south of the creek. Shelby’s Division held off McNeil and Benteen’s Brigades until
they began to envelop his flanks. Using Jackman’s Brigade to cover his movement,
Shelby led Thompson’s Brigade to the rear of the wagon train at the Marmaton River
crossing and prepared another line of battle. Bringing McNeil and Sanborn’s Brigades up
to the front, Pleasonton ordered a charge pushing Shelby’s Division and the reformed
regiments of the other two divisions across the Marmaton River. Once across the
Marmaton, Price ordered a large portion of the wagon train destroyed to allow the
column to move quicker fleeing toward Arkansas. As night approached, Pleasonton took
Philips and Sanborn’s Brigade to Fort Scott for provisions. Being met by Curtis’
advancing column, Curtis urged Pleasonton to turn around and continue the pursuit.
Pleasonton refused and continued toward Fort Scott. As Blunt arrived, seeing Pleasonton
heading toward Fort Scott, he too headed toward the fort, leaving Price to continue his
retreat toward Newtonia. On the morning of 26 October, Pleasonton broke off the pursuit
and headed north toward Warrensburg leaving the pursuit to Curtis with Blunt’s Division
and McNeil and Sanborn’s Brigades.30
On 28 October, Price halted the army south of Newtonia to rest and feed the men
and horses. Blunt, now leading the pursuit, came upon Price’s camp and immediately
attacked without waiting for the rest of the formation to join the fight. Price ordered a
retreat and sent Shelby to delay the Federal pursuit once again. Shelby counterattacked,
driving Blunt back and threatened to turn the Union flank. Sanborn arrived just in time to
deploy his brigade and check Shelby’s advance as night began to fall. Shelby broke off
the engagement and retreated south. The Army of Missouri crossed into Arkansas on 1
November, was driven back by Benteen’s Brigade in a skirmish at the Fayetteville
garrison on 4 November, and by 7 November crossed the Arkansas River. Price’s army
continued to move south and ended the retreat at Laynesport, Louisiana along the Red
River south of Shreveport on 2 December with no more than 3500 soldiers.31 Not only
was the raid a failure, but also the army was thoroughly defeated and all but destroyed.
Much like the guerrillas with Todd, Anderson’s band had done little to prevent
Federal forces from massing on Price’s columns. After leaving Glasgow, Anderson’s
men stayed north of the river encountering EMM detachments along their route as they
moved west. On 17 October, Anderson entered Carrollton forcing the EMM garrison of
160 men to surrender. They marched the prisoners south toward the Missouri River
killing six of them along the way before heading west. They spent the night of 19
October along the Crooked River where they were attacked and dispersed by an EMM
patrol. They continued west reuniting in Clay County at the James’ Farm near Liberty
and moved north raiding Haynesville before turning back toward the Missouri River. On
the night of 26 April, Anderson’s men encamped just west of Albany and the next
morning were harassing local residents by demanding breakfast. Feeling invincible,
Anderson swaggered around and even reveled in his own glory by addressing himself in
the mirror by saying, “Good morning, Captain Anderson, how are you this morning?
Damn well, thank you.”32 That was about to change.
With reports of guerrilla activity in Clay County, Brigadier General James Craig,
commanding the 4th Provisional Enrolled Missouri Militia headquartered at St. Joseph,
directed Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Cox, who had led the successful operation that killed
Coon Thornton in July, to seek out and destroy Anderson’s band. Early on 27 October, a
woman arrived at his headquarters in Richmond reporting the presence of a large
guerrilla force near Albany. Forming the three hundred men of 33rd and 51st Enrolled
Missouri Militia under his command, Cox set out for Albany. By midday, Cox reached
Albany, establishing a battle line with skirmishers deployed along the embankment of a
narrow lane to the southwest of the town. He sent a mounted detachment forward to gain
contact with the guerrillas, then to fall back to the battle line. Anderson, envisioning
another Centralia, took the bait and led the charge. Cox’s men opened fire on the
guerrillas, halting their advance except for two men who closed with the battle line. As
they passed through the battle line, both men fell from their horses. One crawled into the
bushes, later found dead from his wounds, while the other died instantly and lay
motionless on the ground. Upon searching the body, Cox’s men discovered they had
killed the notorious guerrilla leader, Bloody Bill Anderson.
Archie Clement took command of the band and for the next two weeks continued
their ruthless exploits before heading south toward Texas for the winter.33 Upon hearing
of these defeats, Quantrill led another 30 guerrillas to Kentucky in December 1865.
Edwin Terrill eventually tracked him down and shot him on 10 May 1865 near
Bloomfield, Kentucky. He died in a military prison hospital in Louisville on 6 June
By failing to prevent the defeat of the regular force, the guerrilla force sealed their
own fate as well. Federal forces were free to mass against Price, defeat his army, and
drive him from the state. With the worsening situation in the east, the surrender of the
Army of Virginia in April 1865, and facing increasing reports of mass desertions,
General Simon Buckner surrendered the Trans-Mississippi Department on 26 May 1865.
In June 1865, Price and Shelby led several hundred veterans of the Iron Brigade into
Mexico, receiving land from Emperor Maximilian to establish a colony, Carlota, for
Southern exiles.35 The guerrillas returned to Missouri in the spring of 1865 with no
Confederate regular force remaining west of the Mississippi River. Lacking the
employment or threat of employment of the regular force, they were left to fend for
The guerrillas returned to Missouri in early May 1865 and picked up where they
left off in November 1864; Clement, Jim Anderson, and Poole led a band of 150
guerrillas. On 7 May, Clement led 30 guerrillas into his hometown of Holden, pillaging
the stores and killing a man before joining the rest of the band as they sacked Kingsville,
killing eight more civilians and burning five houses before heading north into Lafayette
County. All available Federal cavalry was put into the field to pursue the guerrillas. On
12 May, Clement threatened to destroy Lexington unless the garrison of 180 men
surrendered. Lacking the strength to attack the garrison and learning of Lee’s surrender,
many of the guerrillas began to favor surrendering if they would be treated as prisoners of
war. Poole began to communicate with Major Berryman Davis the commander of the
garrison about terms of surrender. Davis reported the situation to Colonel Chester
Harding, the commander of the District of Central Missouri 36
Major General Grenville M. Dodge, Rosecrans’ replacement as Commander of
the Department of Missouri, directed Harding to notify the guerrillas that if they laid
down their arms the military would take no further action against them, but that the
military could not protect them from actions taken by the civil courts. On 21 May 1865,
Poole led 85 guerrillas into Lexington and surrendered to Harding. That evening, Harding
telegraphed Dodge to report, “Bushwhacking is stopped.” After his surrender, Poole
traveled throughout the Sni Hills sanctuary urging over 200 guerrillas to surrender. Of the
several hundred guerrillas who surrendered, most would return to peaceful lives, while
others like Frank and Jesse James and Cole and Jim Younger would continue to defy the
law, robbing banks and trains throughout the Reconstruction Period and into the 1880s.
Jesse James, referred to as the Last Rebel of the Civil War by T. J. Stiles, was killed on 3
April 1882 ending an era of extreme violence along the Kansas and Missouri border.37
The failure to prevent the destruction of Price’s army left the guerrilla force
exposed to the full strength of the Federal forces in Missouri. After a decade of fighting,
the land became desolate and the population dispersed leaving little room for sanctuary
for the guerrilla force. With no regular force threat, Dodge was able to concentrate his
efforts on destroying dispersed groups of guerrillas with local militia units. Sensing their
ultimate demise, many surrendered and returned to a peaceful civilian life while some
continued to resist Federal presence in Missouri. In either case, the guerrillas never
regained their former power in Missouri.
1Howard N. Monnett, Action Before Westport 1864 (Kansas City, MO: Westport
Historical Society, 1964), 50-52.
2Wiley Britton, The Civil War on the Border, 1863-1865, vol. 2. (New York: The
Knickerbocker Press, 1899); reprint (Ottawa, KS: Kansas Heritage Press, 1994), 443-444.
3Jay Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border, 1854-1865 (Boston: Little,
Brown and Company, 1955), 325-326.
4Monnett, 56-60.
5Ibid, 60-66.
6Richard S. Brownlee, Gray Ghosts of the Confederacy: Guerilla Warfare in the
West, 1861-1865 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1958), 226-227.
7Britton, 475.
8Ibid, 476-477.
9Monnett, 77.
10Ibid, 78-79.
11Ibid, 79-80.
12Britton, 479-480.
13Albert Castel, General Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West (Baton
Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1968), 231 and Edward E. Leslie, The
Devil Knows How to Ride, The True Story of William Clarke Quantrill and His
Confederate Raiders (New York: Random House, 1996), 335.
14Monnett, 79-84.
15Richard J. Hinton, Rebel Invasion of Missouri and Kansas and the Campaign of
the Army of the Border Against General Sterling Price, in October and November 1864
(Chicago: Church, Goodman, and Donnelly, 1865), 114-115.
16Monnett, 88-90.
17Ibid, 94.
18Castel, Price, 232.
19Britton, 483.
20Hinton, 152-159.
21Monnett, 103-105.
22Ibid, 105-108.
23Hinton, 169-173.
24Monnett, 117-121.
25Monnett, 116-117.
26Ibid, 127-129.
27Castel, Price, 238-240.
28Ibid, 240-242.
29Samuel Worthington to father, 27 October 1864, Miscellaneous Collection,
Worthington Papers, Box 97, Kansas Center for Historical Research, Topeka, Kansas.
30Britton, 496-506.
31Castel, Price, 245-252.
32T. J. Stiles, Jesse James, Last Rebel of the Civil War (New York: Alfred A.
Knopf, 2002), 133-136.
33Albert Castel and Thomas Goodrich, Bloody Bill Anderson, the Short, Savage
Life of a Civil War Guerilla (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1998), 123-132.
34Albert Castel, William Clark Quantrill, His Life and Times (Norman, OK:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1999), 202-213.
35Castel, Price, 269-273.
36Brownlee, 234-236.
37Ibid, 236-245.
At the time of the Civil War, guerrilla warfare was nothing new. The concept of
partisan warfare had been around for centuries. However, the trend of merging regular
and irregular forces, Dr. Huber’s theory of Compound Warfare, was becoming more
popular. Confederate leaders needed to only look back to the American Revolution and
the French Peninsular War in Spain to see the benefits of Compound Warfare. It is
difficult to assess their true feelings about guerrilla warfare, however, it appears that
Confederate leaders recognized its existence and used it out of necessity but preferred
more civilized norms of warfare. Their inability to coordinate the effort of their regular
and irregular forces, the lack of a powerful major ally, and the lack of a safe haven
coupled with the persistence and determination of the Federal government sealed the fate
of the Confederacy and marked its lack of success in Compound Warfare.
At the strategic level, one of contributing factors to the Confederacy’s failure to
establish a separate sovereign nation was the inability to successfully employ the
elements of Fortified Compound Warfare to exhaust the Union forces and defeat the will
of the Federal government. When eleven Southern states seceded from the Union in
1861, the Federal government was forced into action to suppress the rebellion. Quite
simply, the Federal army’s mission was to preserve the Union. Given that mission,
Federal forces were required to defeat Confederate forces to allow the Federal
government to exert control over the rebellious governments in the states that seceded
from the Union. To be successful, Confederate forces only had to prevent the destruction
of their conventional forces while protracting the conflict thereby forcing the Federal
government to capitulate before bringing the Southern states back into the Union. They
could win by not losing.
The secessionist states formed governments, organized military forces, and even
sought allies to assist their efforts to establish their sovereignty. Although the
Confederacy focused their efforts on conventional forces, guerrilla bands formed to resist
Federal forces predominately in the border states and especially along the Kansas and
Missouri border where bushwhacking became prevalent in seven years of fighting
between abolitionists and Missouri slave owners prior to the Civil War.1 Many in the
military and even Jefferson Davis did not favor guerrilla warfare and thought of it as
merely sanctioning banditry which may explain why the Confederates were not able to
fully exploit the advantage of a coordinated effort between the regular and irregular force.
Davis’ opinion of guerrilla warfare is clear in the message sent in December 1861 to W.
P. Harris, a Confederates States Congressman from Mississippi, when he wrote,
The Federal forces are not hereafter, as heretofore, to be commanded by pathfinders
and holiday soldiers, but by men of military education and experience in
war. The concept is therefore to be on a scale of very different proportions than
that of the partisan warfare witnessed during the past summer and fall. I have long
since learned to bear hasty censure, in the hope that justice, if tardy, is sure; and in
any event to find consolation in the assurance that all my ends have been my
As the Federal armies began to advance into the Confederacy in 1862, however, the
Confederate Congress passed the Partisan Ranger Act on 21 April 1862, giving the
President the authority to raise partisan organizations to operate against Federal forces. It
seems that desperate times called for desperate measures.3
At best, guerrilla forces were successful by forcing Federal forces to garrison
territory as they attempted to exert control over the border states early in the war and
eventually throughout the Southern states as they progressed deeper into the
Confederacy. The guerrillas effectively harassed and disrupted Federal control over some
contested areas, but there was never an apparent attempt to coordinate the efforts of the
guerrilla and regular forces to achieve their objectives. The mere presence of guerrilla
activity prevented Federal forces from massing all their available combat power to bring
about decisive victories against Confederate conventional forces which always seemed to
be able to live to fight another day, but this could not continue indefinitely. The
Confederacy needed to “fortify” their effort.
Fortified Compound Warfare expounds on the coordinated effort between the
regular and irregular forces by providing effects that prevent the destruction of the minor
power’s conventional force. These effects include a powerful major ally and a safe haven.
A powerful major ally diverts the attention of the major power while the safe haven
provides the minor power the ability to reconstitute forces and rest. The Confederate
government tried to entice British involvement to gain their military support and
international recognition, but the Britain declared their neutrality in May 1861 and
provided only token support and military observers thus denying the Confederacy a
powerful major ally. The interior areas of the Confederacy provided their conventional
forces safe haven early in the war until Federal forces seized control of the Mississippi
River in the summer of 1863 and Sherman advanced through Georgia in 1864. The
absence of a powerful major ally and a safe haven, coupled with the active campaigning
of the Confederate conventional force led to their defeat. After the defeat of the
conventional force, the guerrilla forces were left exposed to the full force of the Federal
army. In short, the Confederacy lacked coordination between the regular and irregular
forces, a powerful major ally, and a safe haven for their conventional force.4
At the operational level, Price’s Raid failed because Major General Sterling Price
also failed to adequately employ the elements of Fortified Compound Warfare in his
effort to secure Missouri for the Confederacy. In preparation for the raid, the guerrillas
were given the broad objective to disrupt Federal lines of communications and draw the
Federal forces north of the Missouri River. Their actions during the summer of 1864
largely accomplished those objectives, shutting down river and rail traffic across the
breadth of Missouri and preventing Curtis and Rosecrans from joining forces early in the
campaign. However, the wave of terror they brought to Missouri that summer may have
been too effective. To counter the growing threat of the guerrillas, Rosecrans established
additional militia forces to garrison major towns further freeing volunteer and other
militia forces to pursue the guerrillas. These forces were readily available and provided
the forces to mass against Price when he reached Jefferson City and served as the cadres
of Pleasonton’s Provisional Cavalry Division that conducted the pursuit against Price,
eventually driving him from the state.
Another contributing factor to Price’s failure was the tempo his forces set and the
needless effort they expended on minor objectives during the operation. Price’s problem
started when his mission changed from an invasion to a raid. When Price lost Churchill’s
and Parson’s infantry, he no longer had the combat power to invade Missouri. Even
Kirby Smith’s intent suggested he move quickly to seize critical objectives and that his
raid was to provide a diversion for Confederate efforts in Georgia. However, Price’s
tempo was much too slow and the constant changing of objectives consumed too much
time to take advantage of the limited window of opportunity created by the guerrillas’
efforts that summer. It seems Price did not appreciate the fact that his mission had
changed and so should his plan. He first lost valuable time attacking Fort Davidson. Had
Price not taken the time to attack the garrison, he may have been able to arrive at St.
Louis before Rosecrans was able to reinforce the arsenal. Once Price turned west, the
slow progress his force made through the valley allowed Federal forces to defend
Jefferson City and organize the defenses along the Kansas border. Price seemed to still
harbor notions of inciting an uprising, but he had not seized an adequate numbers of
weapons to arm even the small number of men he did recruit. By the time he arrived in
Lexington, he had failed to secure his objectives, he faced a numerically superior force to
his front with a numerically superior force closing on his rear guard, and he had too much
non-essential plunder in his wagon train. Price faced a predicament the guerrilla forces
may have able to prevent. As Price attacked Fort Davidson, Anderson and Todd raided
Centralia, devastating Johnson’s Federal patrol. Had the guerrilla force continued their
tempo of operations of the preceding month, their actions may have diverted Federal
forces to counter their actions. By operating in close proximity to the conventional force
with only a limited attack conducted at Danville, the guerrilla failed to protect Price’s
Much like President Davis, Price seems to have had little use for guerrilla forces.
While in Texas during the winter of 1863-1864, Price had attempted to absorb Quantrill’s
command into his force. Having failed in the attempt, Price suggested that the guerrillas
could disrupt Federal activities in Missouri and assist with his efforts to incite an uprising
to support his upcoming raid. When he met with Anderson at Boonville, Price directed
the guerrilla toward an insignificant objective that had already been accomplished.
Anderson’s men may have been more effective had they been directed to delay Federal
forces moving against Price’s rear guard and by employing hit and run attacks or
ambushes or to draw Federal forces away from their pursuit. Whether or not Anderson
would have complied is another issue. It appears that the site of Anderson’s men with
ghastly “war-trophies”, the scalps of Federal soldiers, adorning their horses appalled
Price and he appeased the guerrilla leader only long enough to issue him orders sending
him off in the opposite direction to distance the guerrillas from his force.
Todd’s men may have been better employed as well. While undoubtedly
providing excellent service as scouts leading Shelby’s Division toward Lexington, they
were operating too close to conventional forces to be effective as a guerrilla force and
suffered higher casualties as a result. They too could have been used to delay or divert
Federal forces massing against Price’s rear guard. By failing to exploit the window of
opportunity created by the guerrillas during the summer and by failing to coordinate their
effort to prevent them from massing on his conventional force, Price lost the advantage
Compound Warfare should have provided him.
Price had other factors weighing against him. Not only did he fail to employ the
basic elements of Compound Warfare, he also could not “fortify” his effort. To conduct
Fortified Compound Warfare he would need a powerful major ally and a safe haven.
While the Confederacy had no ally at the strategic level, Price also had no “ally” or the
equivalent of an ally at the operational level. None of the Confederacy’s major armies
were experiencing any success of their own nor could they provide any support to Price
in Missouri. In the Eastern Theater, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland
Campaign had pushed General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia into
Petersburg and Major General Philip Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign had
driven Lieutenant General Jubal Early from the valley. While in the Western Theater,
Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign forced General John B.
Hood’s Confederates deep into Georgia. Kirby Smith also failed to act as a valuable
supporting force due to Federal forces occupying Louisiana. A powerful major ally helps
fortify Compound Warfare by diverting resources away from major power to prevent
their use against the minor power’s conventional force. These operations not only failed
to divert forces from the Rosecrans in Missouri, but A. J. Smith’s infantry was diverted
from the Western Theater to counter Price’s advance into Missouri, while Price lost his
infantry that was diverted to support Hood in Georgia.
Early in the war, Confederate forces and guerrillas used northern Texas as a safe
haven due to the extended distances from Federal force concentrations. However, by
1864, the Federal government had reestablished control of the Mississippi River and had
already made an effort to threaten the Confederate sanctuary during Banks’ Red River
Campaign. Although a failure, the campaign reduced the feeling of sanctuary for the
Confederates. By the spring of 1865, having failed to fortify his effort, the conventional
forces surrendered leaving the guerrilla forces exposed to the weight of the Federal effort
in Missouri. Most quickly grasped their inevitable demise and surrendered. Only a few
die-hard guerrillas would continue to operate as outlaws during the Reconstruction Period
and into the early 1880s. The Federal government successfully defeated both the regular
and irregular force to overcome the combined effects of Compound Warfare. Although
unsuccessful in the end, Confederate guerrillas took their toll on Federal forces. With an
estimated strength of 3,000 to 4,000 guerrillas in Missouri, they were responsible for over
27,000 total casualties and tied down an estimated 60,000 soldiers in 1862, almost four
times the number of soldiers in Grant’s army invading Tennessee that same year.5
Compared to other examples of Compound Warfare, the situation in Missouri was
quite different than the French experience in the Peninsular War in Spain from 1808 to
1814, the U. S. experience in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1972, and the Soviet
experience during their occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. In Spain, the
French invaded Spain to impose the Continental System over the Spanish people; in
Vietnam, the United States intervened in a civil war in Vietnam to prevent the
Vietnamese Communists from reunifying the country under communist control; and in
Afghanistan, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan to support the communist government that
seized power by a coup in 1978. In all of these cases, the major power was occupying
foreign soil, the territory of the minor power unlike the situation in Missouri which was
still a sovereign state of the Union where the major power was conducting a
counterinsurgency operation. In the test of wills, the Federal effort to preserve the Union
was worth any cost far surpassing the threshold that the major powers were willing to
exert in Spain, Vietnam, or Afghanistan.
It becomes evident that General Price failed to secure Missouri for the
Confederacy because he failed to understand or properly employ the dynamics of
Compound Warfare. In Spain, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, the minor power defeated the
major power, but the conflicts were long and costly. They have many similarities, but the
most striking is that in each case, the minor power was defending their own soil while in
the example of Missouri, the major power was defending a sovereign state. Both
Clausewitz and Jomini recognized that conventional principles of war could not account
for a “people in arms.”6 It appears that not only do the effects of Compound Warfare
matter, but the sense of nationalism and will are equally as important to determine the
potential for success in planning further operations against opponents conducting
Compound Warfare.
1 Andrew J. Birtle, U.S. Army Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations
Doctrine 1860-1941 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1998), 23.
2 The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union
and Confederate Armies (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901),
ser. 1, vol. 8, part 1, 701.
3 Michael Fellman, Inside War: The Guerilla Conflict in Missouri During the
American Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 97-99.
4 Thomas M. Huber, ed., Compound Warfare: That Fatal Knot (Fort
Leavenworth, KS: U. S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 2002), 106.
5 Patrick Brophy, Bushwhackers of the Border: The Civil War Period in Western
Missouri (Nevada, MO: Vernon County Historical Society, 1980), 60.
6 Huber, 104.
Missouri Area of Operations
Missouri 1861
Fall 1863-Spring 1864
Red River Campaign
Anderson – 1864
Todd – 1864
Price’s Raid
Source: and Mine Creek Battlefield
Foundation, Price’s Invasion of Missouri: 1864 & The Battle of Mine Creek, Kansas:
October 25, 1864 (Pleasanton, Kansas: Mine Creek Battlefield Foundation, Inc.)
Major General Sterling Price
Major General James F. Fagan
CABELL’S BRIGADE – Brigadier General William L. Cabell
Gordon’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel Anderson Gordon
Gunter’s Arkansas Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas M. Gunter
Harrell’s Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel John M. Harrell
Hill’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel John F. Hill
Monroe’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel James C. Monroe
Morgan’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel Thomas J. Morgan
Witherspoon’s Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, Major J. L. Witherspoon
Hughey’s Arkansas Battery (2 guns), Captain William M. Hughey
DOBBIN’S BRIGADE – Colonel Archibald S. Dobbin
Dobbin’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel Archibald S. Dobbin
McGhee’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel James H. McGhee (wounded – 23 OCT 64)
Lieutenant Colonel Jesse S. Grider
Witt’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel A. R. Witt
Blocher’s Arkansas Battery (2 guns), Lieutenant J. V. Zimmerman
SLEMONS’ BRIGADE – Colonel William F. Slemons
2nd Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel William F. Slemons
Carlton’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel Charles H. Carlton
Crawford’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel William A. Crawford
Wright’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel John C. Wright
McCRAY’S BRIGADE – Colonel Thomas H. McCray
15th Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Timothy Reeves
45th Arkansas Cavalry (Mounted), Colonel Milton D. Baber
47th Arkansas Cavalry (Mounted), Colonel Lee Crandall
Anderson’s Arkansas Cavalry, Captain William L. Anderson
Lyle’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel Oliver P. Lyle
Rogan’s Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel James W. Rogan
Major General John S. Marmaduke
MARMADUKE’S BRIGADE – Brigadier General John B. Clark, Jr.
3rd Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Colton Greene
4th Missouri Cavalry, Colonel John Q. Burbridge
7th Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Solomon G. Kitchen
8th Missouri Cavalry, Colonel William L. Jeffers
10th Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Robert R. Lawther
14th Missouri Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel J. F. Davies
Hogan’s Engineer Company, Captain James T. Hogan
FREEMAN’S BRIGADE – Colonel Thomas R. Freeman
Ford’s Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Barney Ford
Freeman’s Missouri Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph R. Love
Fristoe’s Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Edward T. Fristoe
ARTILLERY – Major Joseph H. Pratt
Harris’ Missouri Battery (2 guns), Lieutenant T. J. Williams
Hynson’s Texas Battery (3 guns), Captain Henry C. Hynson
Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby
SHELBY’S IRON BRIGADE – Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson
5th Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Frank B. Gordon
11th Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Moses W. Smith
12th Missouri Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel William H. Erwin
Crisp’s Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel John T. Crisp
Elliott’s Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Benjamin F. Elliott
Johnson’s Cavalry Battalion, Major Rector Johnson
Slayback’s Missouri Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Alonzo Slayback
Collins’ Missouri Battery (2 guns), Captain Richard A. Collins
JACKMAN’S BRIGADE – Colonel Sidney D. Jackman
Hunter’s Missouri Cavalry, Colonel DeWitt C. Hunter
Jackman’s Missouri Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel C. H. Nichols
Schnable’s Missouri Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Schnable
Williams’ Missouri Cavalry Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel D. A. Williams
Collin’s Missouri Battery, I Section (2 guns), Lieutenant Jacob D. Connor
TYLER’S BRIGADE – Colonel Charles H. Tyler
Coffee’s Missouri Cavalry, Colonel J. T. Coffee
Perkin’s Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Caleb Perkins
Searcey’s Missouri Cavalry, Colonel James T. Searcey
Unorganized Recruits
46th Arkansas Infantry (Mounted), Colonel W. O. Coleman
Source: Westport Historical Society, ed., The Battle of Westport: October 21-23, 1864,
rev. 3d ed. (Kansas City, MO: Westport Historical Society, 1996).
Major General Samuel R. Curtis
Escort Company G, 11th Kansas Cavalry and Two-Gun Battery, Lieutenant Edward Gill
Chief of Artillery, Major Robert H. Hunt
Major General James G. Blunt
FIRST BRIGADE – Colonel Charles R. Jennison, 15th Kansas Cavalry
3rd Wisconsin Cavalry (Detachment), Captain Robert Carpenter
15th Kansas Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel George H. Hoyt
Foster’s Missouri Cavalry Battalion, Captain George S. Grover
Battery (5 guns) manned by 15th Kansas Cavalry, Lieutenant Henry L. Barker
SECOND BRIGADE – Colonel Thomas Moonlight, 11th Kansas Cavalry
11th Kansas Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Preston B. Plumb
L and M Company, 5th Kansas Cavalry, Captain James H. Young
A and D Company, 16th Kansas Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Walker
Battery (4 guns) manned by E Company, 11th Kansas Cavalry
THIRD BRIGADE – Colonel Charles W. Blair, 14th Kansas Cavalry
4th Kansas Militia, Colonel W. D. McCain
5th Kansas Militia, Colonel G. A. Colton
6th Kansas Militia, Colonel James D. Snoddy (Arrested 16 OCT 1864)
Colonel James Montgomery
10th Kansas Militia, Colonel William Pennock
19th Kansas Militia, Colonel A. C. Hogan
24th Kansas Militia Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel George Eaves
Company E, 14th Kansas Cavalry, Lieutenant William B. Clark
2nd Kansas State Artillery (2 guns), Lieutenant Daniel C. Knowles
9th Wisconsin Battery (6 guns), Captain James H. Dodge
FOURTH BRIGADE – Colonel James H. Ford, 2nd Colorado Cavalry
2nd Colorado Cavalry, Major J. Nelson Smith (Killed 21 OCT 1864)
Major J. H. Pritchard
16th Kansas Cavalry (Detachment), Major James Ketner
McLain’s Independent Colorado Battery (6 guns), Captain W. D. McLain
Major General George W. Deitzler
Brigadier General M. S. Grant
Brigadier General William H. M. Fishback
1st Kansas Militia, Colonel Charles H. Robinson
2nd Kansas Militia, Colonel George W. Veale
2nd Kansas Colored Militia, Captain James L. Rafferty
Captain Richard J. Hinton
7th Kansas Militia, Colonel Peter McFarland
9th Kansas Militia, Colonel Frank M. Tracy
12th Kansas Militia, Colonel L. S. Treat
13th Kansas Militia, Colonel Alexander S. Johnson
14th Kansas Militia, Colonel William Gordon
18th Kansas Militia, Colonel Matthew Quigg
20th Kansas Militia, Colonel J. B. Hubbell
21st Kansas Militia, Colonel Sandy Lowe
22nd Kansas Militia, Colonel William Weer
Independent Colored Battery (6 guns), Captain H. Ford Douglas
Zesch’s Battery L, Kansas Militia Light Artillery (2 guns), Captain Gustavus
Topeka Battery, 2nd Kansas Militia (1 gun), Captain Ross Burnes
Kansas City Home Guards, Colonel Kersey Coates
Source: Westport Historical Society, ed., The Battle of Westport: October 21-23, 1864,
rev. 3d ed. (Kansas City, MO: Westport Historical Society, 1996).
Major General William S. Rosecrans
Major General Alfred S. Pleasonton
FIRST BRIGADE – Brigadier General Egbert B. Brown (Arrested 23 OCT 1864)
Colonel John F. Philips, 7th Missouri Cavalry
1st Iowa Cavalry (Detachment), Major John McDermott
1st Missouri Militia Cavalry, Colonel James McFerran (Arrested 23 OCT 1864)
Lieutenant Colonel Bazel Lazear
4th Missouri Militia Cavalry, Major George W. Kelly
7th Missouri Militia Cavalry, Colonel John F. Philips
Lieutenant Colonel Daniel M. Draper
SECOND BRIGADE – Brigadier General John McNeil
2nd Missouri Cavalry (Detachment), Captain George M. Houston
3rd Missouri Militia Cavalry (Detachment), Lieutenant Colonel Henry M.
5th Missouri Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Eppstein
7th Kansas Cavalry, Major Francis Malone
9th Missouri Militia Cavalry (Detachment), Lieutenant Colonel Daniel M. Draper
13th Missouri Cavalry, Colonel Edwin C. Catherwood
17th Illinois Cavalry, Colonel John C. Beveridge
THIRD BRIGADE – Brigadier General John B. Sanborn
2nd Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel John E. Phelps
6th Missouri Militia Cavalry (Detachment), Major William Plumb
6th Enrolled Missouri Cavalry (Detachment), Lieutenant Colonel John F.
7th Enrolled Missouri Cavalry (Detachment), Major W. B. Mitchell
8th Missouri Militia Cavalry, Colonel Joseph J. Gravely
FOURTH BRIGADE – Colonel Edward F. Winslow, 4th Iowa Cavalry
Lieutenant Colonel Frederick W. Benteen, 10th Missouri Cavalry
3rd Iowa Cavalry, Major Benjamin S. Jones
4th Iowa Cavalry, Major Abial R. Pierce
4th Missouri Cavalry (Detachment), Captain George D. Knispel
7th Indiana Cavalry (Detachment), Major S. W. Simonson
10th Missouri Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick W. Benteen
Major William H. Lusk
ARTILLERY – Colonel Nelson Cole, 2nd Missouri Light Artillery
Battery H, 2nd Missouri Light Artillery (2 guns), Captain William C. F.
Montgomery and (2 guns), Lieutenant Philip Smiley
Battery L, 2nd Missouri Light Artillery (4 guns), Captain Charles H. Thurber
Battery (2 guns), 5th Missouri Militia Cavalry, Lieutenant Adam Hillerich
2nd New Jersey Cavalry (Detachment), Captain Michael Gallagher
Company, 19th Pennsylvania Cavalry
Major General A. J. Smith
Colonel Joseph J. Woods
SECOND BRIGADE – Colonel Lucius F. Hubbard, 5th Minnesota Infantry
5th Minnesota Infantry
7th Minnesota Infantry
8th Wisconsin Infantry
9th Minnesota Infantry
10th Minnesota Infantry
12th Iowa Infantry
47th Illinois Infantry
Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery
THIRD BRIGADE – Colonel Sylvester G. Hill, 35th Iowa Infantry
33rd Missouri Infantry
35th Iowa Infantry
Colonel David Moore
FIRST BRIGADE – Colonel T. J. Kinney, 119th Illinois Infantry
58th Illinois Infantry
89th Indiana Infantry
119th Illinois Infantry
SECOND BRIGADE – Colonel James I. Gilbert, 27th Iowa Infantry
14th Iowa Infantry
24th Missouri Infantry
27th Iowa Infantry
32nd Iowa Infantry
THIRD BRIGADE – Colonel Edward H. Wolfe, 52nd Indiana Infantry
49th Illinois Infantry
52nd Indiana Infantry
117th Illinois Infantry
178th New York Infantry
3rd Indiana Infantry
9th Indiana Infantry
Source: Westport Historical Society, ed., The Battle of Westport: October 21-23, 1864,
rev. 3d ed. (Kansas City, MO: Westport Historical Society, 1996).
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1. Certification Date: 18 June 2004
2. Thesis Author: MAJ Dale Davis
3. Thesis Title: Guerrilla Operations in the Civil War: Assessing Compound Warfare
During Price’s Raid
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