1862.—-Skirmish on Coon Creek, near Lamar, Mo.
Report of Brig. Gen. James G. Blunt, U. S. Army.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF KANSAS,
In the Field, Fort Scott, Kans., August 26, 1862.
SIR: Your dispatch, dated Saint Louis, the 23d instant, via Springfield, is just received. I have about 4,000 troops and thirty pieces of artillery in the field here. In addition to this force I have three Indian regiments that are now south of this point, in the Indian Territory. I also expect that my available three in the field will soon be augmented by the addition of new regiments, now being organized. I shall be ready to co-operate with General Brown or other Missouri troops at any time, either on the defensive or aggressive.
In my chase after Coffee's, Cockrell's, Hunter's, Tracy's, and Jackman's forces my advance followed them as far south as Carthage, the main column halting at Montevallo. The rebels being determined to make good their retreat, and our stock being so used up, I could pursue them no farther. They kept the two pieces of artillery (taken from Major Foster) all the time in the advance, but so hard were they pursued that we passed many of their horses lying dead by the road-side, the men taking to the brush when they could not obtain other horses to mount. The road was strewn with hats and caps, which the rebels had dropped from their heads while sleeping in the saddle.
About 300 of my advance of cavalry, while returning from Carthage to this place, by easy marches, on the 24th instant, suddenly encountered, 8 miles south of Lamar, the forces of Quantrill, Hays, and one Colonel Shelby, from Lexington, with a force estimated at from 800 to 1,200. After a short skirmish our troops were compelled to retire, with the loss of 5 men killed and 15 wounded. On learning of the affair I immediately sent out re-enforcements, but the rebels had moved rapidly south.
It now appears that all of the organized rebel forces south of the Missouri River have gone to Arkansas. I would therefore suggest that all of the troops in Missouri, except a few to garrison important points, be moved south in mass, the line of march extending across the State east and west, and that they leave no rebels in their rear, but, instead, peace and security to loyal citizens, thus driving them all in front of you to the Arkansas line. You will then be ready to co-operate with my forces on the west and General Curtis' on the east, and we can make a campaign through Arkansas and Texas that will force them either to make a stand and fight or jump into the Gulf of Mexico. Both of those States are rich in supplies to subsist an army, and should be appropriated for the subsistence of our forces as well as those of rebels. I trust you will consider the suggestion I have made and write me your opinion in the matter.
I have the honor, general, to be your obedient servant,
JAS. G. BLUNT,
Brig. Gen. JOHN H. SCHOFIELD,
Commanding Missouri Troops.
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