MAY 4, 1863.--Operations
about Lexington, Mo.
Report of Lieut. Col. Walter King, Fourth Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS, Lexington, May 5, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that Captain Morris returned last evening from the Wellington neighborhood, bringing 27 prisoners, and having in other respects carried out orders (copy sent you yesterday). Another officer goes into that section to-day with similar orders. On last night the same four thieves visited Wellington, and robbed the post-office and cut the telegraph wire.
As I finished the foregoing sentence, your letter of the 3d was handed me.
I have no information or belief that the party in Wellington exceeded 4 or 6. I do not think that there were any guerrillas outside the town. The 4 or 5 who were at the boat would have robbed it, but were restrained by the earnest representations of one Chancellor, a resident, who told them what certain fate would overtake the people of that place if they did harm to that boat. They accordingly desisted by sending one man up the stairway for a can of whisky and some cigars, &c., which I expect was in the way of a treat for their desisting. "Fifty or sixty" are liable to come there at any time from Quantrill's old grounds, on the Blue; but there are no reasons to believe other than I have now stated. I have talked with 4 or 5 men who saw the party that night, and some as late as an hour after sunrise next day. There were 4 of them. They went into the Upper Missouri Bottom that night; were seen with cigars and lemons about daybreak at Toteres, above Wellington, and an hour by sun they were seen on the Lone Jack road, going south. I have sent farther out to arrest other parties.
The result of my order yesterday, closing out all men in the city who are not friendly to the Government, and the subsequent meeting, I look to as the inception of a genuine reformation in this county. After the publication of the order, about 80 residents rushed to Ryland's office to sign the resolutions. But in the meeting they were excluded from participation in the meeting, and they are under arrest and their business closed, as yet. I stated in the meeting that in each case of those signing yesterday there would be special inquiry as to the motives of their signing up late. The meeting went off in fine spirit, and I assure you of my belief that much good will come of the movement. The resolutions were adopted by acclamation before the house crowded throughout.
An hour has elapsed since penning the foregoing paragraph, spent in interview with "John De Courcy," my most trusted spy, who reached here, and I gather the following: Quantrill is here; he came from Price to conscript; he came with 40 men; he has joined Reid's, Jarrett's, Todd's, Younger's, and Clifton's gangs to his own, which give him from 125 to 150 men; he disbanded his force on Sunday night, with orders to rendezvous on Thursday night on the Big Sni, precise place not definitely learned; has orders from Price to stop bushwhacking and horse stealing. Price is to invade Southeast Missouri, and Quantrill is to annoy Kansas and Western Missouri; intends to conscript all of military age; has secret notice among Southern men to come to his camp and get property taken by mistake; came here to stay, and not to take away any recruits; seems to be rather elevated in his purposes by his six or eight months' experience with the regular forces; proposes that he will not assail McF.'s men unless assaulted, but that he neither will give or expect quarter of K.'s or P.'s men.
I shall send a man into Quantrill's camp.
"De Courcy" informs me that one of the men (Wise) I have here, taken yesterday at Wellington, is an arrant guerrilla. I put him in irons to-day. Mail hour is past some minutes. I'll write to-morrow.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Lieu tenant. Colonel.
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