9-11,1862.--Skirmishes at Lotspeich Farm, on Sugar Creek, near Wadesburg; at
Sears' House, near Pleasant Hill; and at Big Creek Bluffs, near Pleasant Hill,
No. 1. -- Report of Maj. James O. Cower, First Iowa Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS CLINTON, HENRY COUNTY, Mo.,
July 13, 1862.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, on Tuesday, the 8th instant, I received information that a band of guerrillas, numbering some 200 men, commanded by one Quantrill, was in camp on Sugar Creek, near Wadesburg, Cass County, Missouri, whereupon I sent Lieut. R. M. Reynolds, of Company A, First Iowa Cavalry, with Lieutenants Bishop, Foster, and Whisenand, and 90 enlisted men of Companies A, G, and H, First Iowa Cavalry, in search of them.
The detachment marched at 11 p.m., 8th instant, with orders to reach and attack Quantrill's camp, if possible, at daylight on the 9th instant. Quantrill's camp was discovered at about 6 a.m., 9th instant, and the advance guard, under Lieutenant Bishop, of Company A, First Iowa Cavalry, was very gallantly led to the attack, but, not being supported by the main column as soon as expected, retired without loss, though receiving several volleys. Lieutenant Reynolds, charged them with his command, but finding the ground unfavorable and their position very strong, retired with a loss of 3 men wounded, 1 fatally, and since dead. Quantrill lost 1 man killed and several wounded.
Upon the return of the detachment I immediately sent dispatches to Butler and Warrensburg for details to meet them at Lotspeich farm, Cass County, Missouri, about 1 mile west of their camp. I marched, with 4 commissioned officers and 75 enlisted men of Companies A and G, First Iowa Cavalry, at 5 o'clock on the morning of the 10th instant, reaching the Lotspeich farm at 11 a.m., finding a detachment of 65 men, First Iowa Cavalry, from Butler, Mo., under command of Capt. William H. Aunkeny, with Lieutenants Dinsmore and Mcintyre, and also a detachment of 65 enlisted men of the Seventh Missouri Cavalry, fresh Harrisonville, under command of Captain Martin.
Shortly afterward my command was increased by Lieutenant White and 60 enlisted men of the First Missouri Cavalry, from Warrensburg, under command of Capt. M. Kehoe. Upon inquiry I ascertained that Quantrill and his men (estimated at 250) had left their camp on Sugar Creek about 4 p.m. on the 9th instant. At 2 p.m. 10th instant I received word from Captain Kehoe that he had found their trail and was pursuing. After striking the trail I pressed forward with my command in a northeasterly direction, passing east of Rose Hill, Johnson County, and thence passing up Big Creek Bottom in a northwesterly direction, overtaking Captain Kehoe at 7 p.m. 10 instant at the farm of Mr. Hornsby, at which place Quantrill and his men had taken dinner. Having marched 50 miles during the day I went into camp, distributing my command at farm-houses for subsistence and forage, some of the details having marched without rations.
Captain Kehoe marched without my knowledge in the morning, and in direct disregard of his orders, meeting Quantrill and his band 3 miles west of Pleasant Hill, at Sears' farm, Cass County, Missouri, about 10 o'clock a.m. 11th instant, and was repulsed, with loss of 6 men killed and 9 wounded. His entire advance guard was killed, except Lieutenant White, commanding, and himself (Captain Kehoe), wounded in the engagement. Captain Kehoe not being able to hold his position at Sears' farm, it was impossible to ascertain Quantrill's loss, but it is reported heavy. Had it not been for this attack by Captain Kehoe I feel confident that we would have secured Quantrill and his entire band.
On crossing the road from Pleasant Hill to Independence I sent Lieutenant Mcintyre, of Company L, First Iowa Cavalry, with 50 men, through the timber, on the Independence road, with instructions to march up on the open ground on the west side of the timber. Pressing forward with the rest of my command on their trail, passing where they had encamped at night, reaching the farm of Mr. Sears (where Captain Kehoe was repulsed) at 11 o'clock a.m. 11th instant, I found a portion of Quantrill's band, who fled down a wood road into the Big Creek timber. My advance guard, under command of Lieut. John McDermott, of Company G, First Iowa Cavalry, pressing them closely, and the head of column close upon them, came upon Quantrill's main force, lying in the cliffs of the ravines, about half a mile from Sears' house. Their position was very strong indeed, but the vigorous and determined attack on the part of both officers and men routed them completely and punished them severely. Under the great disadvantage of position our loss was much less than could be expected, being but 3 men killed and 10 men wounded. The loss of the enemy known in this skirmish alone was 14 killed and 15 to 20 wounded, and in the three skirmishes Quantrill's loss could not have been less than 18 killed and 25 or 30 wounded. Quantrill himself is reported wounded in the thigh. Quantrill's men were completely routed and disbanded, fleeing in small squads in all directions. Out of the 4 commissioned officers in the command with me from this post 3 were wounded, and the action of the men was highly commendable and entirely satisfactory. The details from Butler and Harrisonville, though not suffering so much on account of their position, did their duty with honor to the Government and themselves. Especial mention is due to the following officers and non-commissioned officers wounded in the last skirmish: First Lieut. David A. Kerr, adjutant, Post Clinton; First Lieut. R. M. Reynolds, Company A, First Iowa Cavalry; Second Lieut. E. S. Foster, Company G, First Iowa Cavalry; First Lieut. John McDermott, commanding advance guard and leading it with much credit to himself, not wounded; Joseph T. Foster, sergeant-major, Post Clinton; Quartermaster-Sergeant H. L. Dashiel, provost-marshal. I have as yet no report of skirmish near Lotspeich farm on the 9th instant, as also none of skirmish at Sears' house on the 11th instant, but am informed that Captain Kehoe and his men, First Missouri Cavalry, met them with commendable resolution. Particular mention is due to Dr. C. H. Lothrop, additional assistant surgeon First Iowa Cavalry, for very prompt and efficient services rendered on the ground, paying attention to and relieving the wounded in the thickest of the conflict. Not having as yet received accounts from detachments or companies of the loss or capture of property, I am unable to report upon it. Loss in the three skirmishes, 11 killed and 21 wounded.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAMES O. GOWER,
Major First Iowa Cavalry,
CoL FITZ HENRY WARREN,
Commanding Sub-District, Butler, Bates County, Mo.
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