MARCH 22, 1862.--Skirmish
at Little Santa Fe, Mo.
Report of Col. Robert B. Mitchell, Second Kansas Cavalry.
HDQRS. SECOND REGIMENT KANSAS VOLUNTEERS,
Camp Blair, March 24, 1862.
MAJOR: I have the honor to report that on the night of the 22d, in accordance with a request from Major Banzhaf commanding First Battalion Missouri Cavalry, and also in pursuance of a plan that I had been maturing for some time, I left camp with a detachment detailed from all the companies in this command, the detachment about 300 in number, with Majors Fisk and Pomeroy.
Quantrill, with a part of his gang, had burned the bridge between Kansas City and Independence, and it was contemplated by Major Banzhaf to march from Kansas City, and in conjunction with Colonel Weer, Fourth Kansas, to surround and entrap Quantrill.
I left camp about 6.30 p.m. of the 22d instant, reached Little Santa Fe about 10 o'clock that night, and sent Major Pomeroy about 3 miles from the town, with instructions to arrest one David Tate, whom I had reason to believe was connected with Quantrill. Major Pomeroy had with him a detachment of Companies D and E, under command of Captain Moore and Lieutenant Stover. When Major Pomeroy reached the house he demanded entrance, and a gun was immediately fired through the door. He then called upon them to surrender, and to send out their women and children if they had any in the house. After waiting some time, while shots were fired from the house, he ordered a volley to be fired into the house. The cries of women were then heard, when he ordered the men to cease firing. The women and children then came out and firing was resumed on both sides. Two of the men then came out of one of the windows and surrendered. They stated to Major Pomeroy that Quantrill was in the house with 26 men. Major Pomeroy then threatened to fire the house, and upon their continued refusal to surrender he ordered the house to be fired, and an attempt was made to fire it, but without success. Major Pomeroy and Private Wills, of Company D, were at this time shot. Major Pomeroy becoming disabled, Captain Moore took command, and sent back to me requesting re-enforcements, so as not to let any of the men escape. Captain Moore having threatened, in case of the enemy not surrendering, to set fire to the house and they still refusing so to do, he ordered the house to be again set on fire, and this time the flames rapidly enveloped the house. The men in the house who were not wounded then burst out the weather-boarding at the back of the house and ran for the timber immediately in the rear. Two were shot down as they ran--1 killed instantly and I mortally wounded, who died about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The others escaped, and though the woods were carefully scoured, no traces of them were found. While the firing was taking place several men were seen to fall in the house, and the prisoners stated when they were first taken that there were 4 or 5 wounded. Five bodies could be distinctly seen in the flames at the time I reached the spot with that part of the command which was left behind. I caused all the horses and horse equipments of the enemy to be gathered together and guarded and remained at the house until 6.30 o'clock in the morning, when I started for the house of one Wyatt. As we neared the house 6 or 7 men were seen to break from it into the brush immediately adjoining the premises. I immediately dismounted some of my men and sent them into the brush, but succeeded in capturing only 2.
The command being without provisions, and being satisfied that Quantrill and those of his gang who had been in the locality had undoubtedly fled, I returned to the Tare House and started back to camp, leaving Captain Moore's command, with I wounded. We reached camp about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. I had previously sent Lieutenant Aduddell with 15 men to camp to procure conveyance for the wounded and to take the stock and other property found at Tate's. He passed me on the way back to Tate's, and arrived with Captain Moore's command and the wounded last night at 8 o'clock.
Our loss was as follows: Major Pomeroy, severely wounded with a Minie ball in the right thigh near the femoral artery; Private William Wills, of Company D, since died, with a Minie ball in the right arm near the shoulder, and also with buck-shot in the groin and abdomen. We also lost 2 horses in the fight. The jayhawkers' loss was 5 killed or wounded and burned up in the house, 2 killed outside, and 6 prisoners. We took 25 horses, some of which have already been identified as belonging to parties in this State, from whom they were stolen, and about 20 sets of horse equipments. The 2 men killed outside of the house were named Rollen (brothers). The names of those killed and burned up in the house I am unable to ascertain.
I send to the fort the following-named prisoners. (Names omitted, 8 in all*)
I desire to express my gratitude to Major Pomeroy, who after he was wounded still cheered on his men; to Captain Moore, Lieutenant Stover, and the men of their immediate command, for their gallantry and good behavior.
I have the honor to be, major, your very obedient servant,
ROBT. B. MITCHELL,
Colonel Second Regiment Kansas Volunteer Cavalry.
Maj. W. E. BLAIR,
Comdg. Leavenworth, Kans.
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