On April 14-15, 1862 Union troops of the 1st Iowa Volunteer Cavalry destroyed the buildings in Montevallo, Vernon County after a deadly battle with Missouri guerrillas. The following “After Action” report describes the battle and why the Union Commanding Officer believed it was necessary to destroy Montevallo.
Jefferson City, Mo., April 24,1862.
Colonel: In the absence, per order, of the Brigadier General Commanding, I have the honor to report as follows:
On the morning of April 13th, Lieut. Col. C.E. Moss, 1st Iowa Cavalry, with two companies of the 1st Iowa Cav, D & K, 100 strong and [Mo.] State Militia 150 strong moved from Osceola for Montevallo, Vernon county, for the purpose of breaking up GUERRILLAS, 300 strong, supposed to have collected at a point on Cedar and Horse Creeks 12 miles from Montevallo.
After crossing the Sac river, 15 miles above its confluence with the Osage, the advance guard skirmished with JAYHAWKERS, who fired upon them from a house, wounding Pvt. John Bander , Co. K, 1st Iowa Cav. Loss of rebels, 1 killed and 4 wounded.
Lieut. Col. Moss reached Montevallo at 7 p.m. [April 14, 1862] and quartered his men in and about the yard of the hotel, giving special orders to sleep upon their arms close together, and prepared for any attack which might be made. Guards were stationed and the command retired for the night, sleeping mostly in a log house attached to the hotel, the front kitchen and the stable loft.
About 4:30 o’clock in the morning [April 15, 1862] the detachment was aroused by an approaching body of men, said to be 50 strong, who DEMANDED an immediate and UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER, accompanied with a threat to burn the houses over their heads in case of refusal. This was answered by a shot, which opened the engagement. Shots from the upper story of the house told with marked effect upon the attacking party, who were repulsed and took shelter behind a store 50 yards distant. Col. Moss then ordered the men to fall into line outside and charge upon the enemy, who thereupon dispersed precipitately [very quickly].
Several rebels were killed in this contest and 7 wounded, 3 mortally. Among the latter was the NOTORIOUS WILD IRISHMAN, alias Daniel Henly, leader of a desperate gang, the TERROR of Saint Clair, Cedar and Vernon counties. Our loss was 2 killed and 4 wounded. The conduct of our troops on this occasion was deserving of high praise. Exposed to a murderous fire, not a man flinched. Lieut. Barnes and the “Citizen Guide”, Andrew J. Pugh, are especially mentioned for their cool gallantry and determined courage.
Being advised that a body of 60 men, besides two companies [Approx. 200 Guerrillas] were preparing to attack the command that evening at Montevallo, col. Moss ordered the hotel where the former attack had been organized and all intervening old buildings and brush BURNED as a measure of safety. The buildings burned were of little or no value, and were used by the GUERRILLAS for DEFENSES. Tuesday the command moved into Cedar County.
I hope to soon report as DEAD the balance of the WILD IRISHMEN!
Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
Lucien J. Barnes,
Captain and Assistant Adjutant-General.