The Civil War was slightly more than a year old & the “Union Hounds” in Missouri where constantly hunting the Confederate Foxes & the chase was on! The hit & run tactics of the Confederate guerrillas (Bushwhackers, if you are from Kansas or are of the “Northern Persuasion”) were more often than not successful early in the war & they were a very elusive force that ld constantly plagued the Union forces in Kansas & Missouri throughout the entire war. The following are two brief after action reports of “Union Hounds on the Hunt”! both reports are located on pages 130 & 134 in Volume 13 of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion.
Independence, Mo., June 23, 1862.
Sir: In compliance with your orders, I left this post with 30 men at 9:30 a.m. & proceeded to the farm of J. R. Lowe. Before arriving there I saw suspicious-looking persons, whom I supposed to be pickets. At Lowe’s farm I dismounted my men, leaving a sufficient guard with my horses. I proceeded to the bushes with the residue of my men; found a camp, two bridles, two blankets & a lariat rope. From appearances I thought the guerrillas had scattered in various directions through the woods. I deployed my men as skirmishers [a line or squad of men as on patrol]. Taking 4 men with me I proceeded along by-paths, [by splitting his command into small groups he was asking for trouble & he would find it!]
Discovering a picket [guard], we fired on him, causing him to drop his overcoat. Almost INSTANTLY WE WERE FIRED UPON BY LARGE NUMBERS IN THE BUSHES JUST AHEAD OF US, [Sounds like an excellent ambush by the “Foxes”]! After [the enemy] fired a few rounds [shots] they advanced on us! We retreated to where our horses were hitched & when our men assembled I found there was one missing. After searching for him for some time without finding him I concluded that he was killed & having received a wound in one of my legs, we returned to camp were we arrived at 7 p.m. I think we killed two of the VILLIANS – one certain.
Capt., Comdg. Co. B, 7th Cav., Mo. Vol.
Hdqrs. 1st Battalion 1st Missouri Cavalry,
Warrensburg, Mo., June 30, 1862.
Major: I have the honor to report to you that I have sent 100 men, on the 28th, at 4 o’clock a.m. under the command of Capt. Kehoe, of company C & 2nd Lieut. A. Gourney, of co. d, west & north –west from these headquarters , with instructions to divide the command into three parties , to go toward Black Water & surrounding country to HUNT these BUSHWHACKERS (the country is full of them) & to SHOOT EVERY ONE OF THEM HE SHOULD MEET UNDER ARMS ON THE SPOT.
About 6 o’clock the same morning Captain Kehoe left, 2 men came to me & reported that 3 BUSHWHACKERS were seen on the evening of the 27th near their places, armed & this morning, the 28th about 5 o’clock, the brother of one of the Union men was shot by a certain Thomas Colburn, a NOTORIOUS HORSE-THEIF & JAYHAWKER. I at once dispatched 3 privates to inform Capt. Kehoe of this though before they could reach the captain this same HORSE-THEIF had fired upon a party of Captain Kehoe’s command without success. The party [of Union Hounds] dismounted & chased them through the brush & [caught the Foxes] & killed them all 3. Their names are Thomas Colburn, Haux & the other one’s name I could not learn.
On the morning of the 29th, Capt. Kehoe encountered another party of BUSHWHACKERS and killed 2 more, took 2 men prisoners, captured 3 horses, 2 SHOT-GUNS & 1 pistol. The captain returned on the evening of the 29th.
Major, 1st Mo. Cav., Commanding Post.
P.S. I have since learned the names of the last two killed – Olford & Greenwood. C.B.
One Hunt was successful & one was not. However, the hunts of the “Foxes & Hounds” were deadly for both sides throughout the war & the chase from both perspectives will be addressed in future columns as the accounts of the hunts are discovered and of course the War Went on!