June 11, 1864, Mound
Prairie Church, La Fayette County, Mo.,
Major Henry Neill to Colonel James McFerran
HEADQUARTERS, MOUND PRAIRIE CHURCH,
La Fayette County, Mo., June 11, 1864.
[Col. JAMES MCFERRAN :]
COLONEL: I took up camp here Monday evening. Find water very scarce. Will have to move a mile or so in some direction on that account. I hope to get your permission by Captain Meredith when he returns. On Tuesday, 10 o'clock, I reached Captain Burris' camp, south of the Hutchens' house; delivered to him a copy of the order placing me in command of the county; had no order relieving him of his command in the western portion of La Fayette County. He, of course, considers it proper to make a tri-monthly report, as yet in command. When I left here I took a part of Company M, Seventh Regiment Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, under Lieutenant Berry, and left in camp the remainder, under Lieutenant McElheny, at Mound Prairie.
I took with me Captain Meredith and near 50 men; also Lieutenant Berry, with his 33 men from Burris' camp, and scouted down the Snibar through the border settlement to Livingston, but found no enemy, and ordered the remainder of Captain Meredith's, with camp and garrison equipage, to move to Mound Prairie Church and take up camp. Since Tuesday we have scouted the country in the most thorough manner. On Thursday morning I ordered Captain Burris, with 40 men, at daylight to be in Napoleon: Lieutenant Mullins, with 40 men, to be at Wellington. I was, with 70 men, at Dover, Berlin, and Baltimore Landing, and Lieutenant Kessinger at the crossings near George Hinxes', northwest of the mounds, between the Columbus and Warrensburg roads, with 25 men of Company G. Lieutenant Groomer, same company, with 20 men, to be on Tabo, between George Young's and Mrs. Neill's, on the Lexington and Sedalia roads. Lieutenant Teel on the Sedalia road, north of the Davis bridge, with 15 men. A sergeant of Company M, Seventh Regiment, Missouri State Militia, near Fedal's shop, with 15 men.
At one hour by sun Burris was to begin to scout from Napoleon and Wellington up the Snibar and its tributaries, through the Greenton Valley, to his camp, south of Hutchens' farm. I was to scout up Tabo and Cottonwood Creeks to this place. We took no road, but took the brush and woods, and thoroughly scoured the whole country. We found no enemy except 5 men, whom we ran into Groomer. We all met here last night, except Kessinger and Groomer, who went back to Lexington. We have thoroughly scouted the country. They have left here and are out south and west of Chapel Hill, in the Basin Knob country. No mistake about it. Lieutenant Mullins, who came down Davis' Creek, reports them as being over there. La Fayette County has never had a more thorough scrubbing since the war. Every officer has done his utmost to get information of the number in the country. We are all of opinion, from what we can gather, that the numbers are greatly exaggerated. That Quantrill and Pickler are here there, is no doubt, but 300 men from the Osage to the Missouri River, embracing the Central Division, will cover all they have. Our estimate will of course be based upon what Echolls' men tell us.
We find everybody, old and young, greatly alarmed. The guerrillas treat all as enemies and have no respect for any. Their conduct toward the people has a good effect upon the temper and spirit of the soldiers under my command. As soon as I can rest a little I want to scout farther south, say Monday morning. If you would send a co-operating force up Black Water, on the south side, let me go up on the north, Burris move by Chapel Hill toward Basin Knob, Colonel Ford co-operating from the west. I think we can kill some of them. They are there and in the Lone Jack country, no mistake. I sent Burris and Mullins back to their camp last night. I am requiring more activity in all. Captain Ballinger's company in front of Lexington. He can be in no danger while we scout all around him.
I am, colonel, your friend and servant,
Major First Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, Comdg.
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