September 27, 1864
(August 29-December 2, 1864.--Price's Missouri Expedition.)
No. 42.--Reports of Brig. Gen. Clinton B. Fisk, U. S. Army, commanding District of North Missouri.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF NORTH MISSOURI,
Glasgow, Mo., September 27, 1864.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that on Monday, the 19th instant, I left Saint Joseph with Companies B and M; Ninth Cavalry Missouri State Militia; Companies C and D, Seventeenth Illinois Cavalry, and a section of mountain howitzers, Company C, Second Missouri Artillery. I moved to Macon by railroad, and on the morning of the 21st marched from Macon, my force having been augmented by Companies C and E, Ninth Cavalry Missouri State Militia. I camped near Huntsville on the night of the 21st and moved thence to Roanoke, where I divided the command, sending a portion direct to Fayette under Lieutenant-Colonel Draper, Ninth Cavalry Missouri State Militia, and marched with the balance of the command to this post. I had in the meantime ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews, Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia, to move his entire command from Sturgeon to Rocheport, and there establish his headquarters, and directed Lieutenant-Colonel Stauber, Forty-second Missouri Volunteer Infantry, to move from Macon to Sturgeon with three companies. I also ordered General Douglass to move from Mexico toward Rocheport, with 200 of the First Iowa Cavalry Volunteers. The best information I could obtain indicated that the guerrillas, under Perkins, Quantrill, Thrailkill, Todd, Anderson, Holtzclaw, Davis, and others, were concentrating in the Perche Hills on or about the line separating Howard and Boone Counties. I made dispositions accordingly and as secretly as possible, and moved upon the haunts of the villains from Fayette, Glasgow, Sturgeon, and Mexico. The guerrillas were routed from their camps and found to be about 400 strong, under Quantrill and Perkins. On Friday evening, the 23d instant, a portion of the train of the Third Cavalry Missouri State Militia was surprised by the guerrillas ten miles northeasterly from Rocheport, and twelve men were brutally murdered after they had surrendered. Some of our dead were thrown upon the burning wagons which the fiends destroyed and their bodies were partially consumed. Our troops made but a slight resistance and fled panic-stricken from the field. They were outnumbered by the bushwhackers four to one. Perkins, the guerrilla chief, is reported severely wounded at this engagement. His pocket-book and papers were found scattered on the ground of the massacre. Had Lieutenant-Colonel Matthews moved his command together we should have been spared this disaster; although General Douglass reports to me that the colonel ought not to be censured for his action in the premises. The guerrillas immediately scattered in every direction. Major Leonard, Ninth Cavalry Missouri State Militia, who was moving from Fayette to Roche-port, came upon a gang of these guerrillas, and killed 6 of them, capturing 32 horses and 30 revolvers. Our only casualty was 1 wounded. Among the dead bushwhackers was a Captain Bissett, recently a terror in Platte and Clay Counties.
On Saturday morning the guerrillas from different points concentrated upon Fayette and charged into the town at 10.30 a.m., yelling like demons, their advance being clad in Federal uniform. They were properly welcomed by the small force in garrison and most handsomely whipped after three unsuccessful attempts to dislodge our troops. Thirteen of the villains were killed outright and -- so severely wounded that they died on Saturday night. One rebel captain, name not known, was among the dead. Their wounded numbered 30, judging from the carriages stolen to remove them. We are daily learning of the death of some one of the wounded. Our loss was 1 killed and 2 wounded. I had on the same day ordered Major King, Thirteenth Cavalry Missouri Volunteers, from this post to Fayette, with 200 well-appointed men. He arrived at Fayette two hours after the discomfited rascals had left in the direction of Roanoke, and pushed on after them without delay. On Sunday, the 25th instant, the brigands sat down in the front of Huntsville, and in the name of Colonel Perkins and the Southern Confederacy demanded a surrender. The militia stationed at Huntsville, under Lieutenant-Colonel Denny, showed fight, and, Major King being close after the villains, they moved toward Renick, tearing down the telegraph wires by the mile. Major King pursued them as rapidly as possible with his jaded horses, and at last advices, 1.30 p.m. Monday, the 26th, was very near them at Middle Grove, in Monroe County. Several stragglers from the guerrillas have been captured and summarily mustered out. Lieutenant-Colonel Draper, with a detachment of the Ninth Cavalry Missouri State Militia, moved from Fayette toward Renick on the 26th instant, General Douglass, with the Iowa troops, toward Sturgeon, scouting through the Perche Hills, and will unite or co-operate with Major King. In several small skirmishes with the bushwhackers on Saturday and Sunday our troops were successful in killing the buskwhackers. No better region than this could be selected for guerrilla warfare. The topography of the country and the hearts and consciences of the people are adapted to the hellish work. There is scarcely a family but what has its representative in either Price's invading force or in the corps de bush. Men and women of wealth and position give their entire influence and aid to the knights of the bush. The hand of the Government must be laid heavily upon them. I shall remain in this section and on the North Missouri Railroad until affairs are in a better condition.
I expect a full report of the Keytesville disaster to-day. Cowardice and treason combined caused the loss of Keytesville and the brutal murder of Mr. Carman, one of the best of citizens, and of William Young, an aged loyalist, serving faithfully as a Federal scout himself and had three sons in the Union army. The fiends murder none but radical Union men, while conservatives of undoubted loyalty are spared in property and person. The radicals are hunted from their homes, and their substance appropriated and destroyed. Our troops being chiefly from the radical portion of the community, it is with great difficulty they are restrained from depredations upon the class favored by the bushwhackers. I will promptly and vigorously urge the people to a response to your admirable General Orders, No. 176. You have struck the keynote. Let the masses rise up in their strength and give an exhibition of their devotion to loyalty and the Union, and Price will never again invade Missouri with his thieving horde. I am placing every county court-house in as safe condition as possible, but there are so many towns to protect, so many railway bridges, stations, and trains constantly exposed to attack, capture, and destruction by the fiends, that we must expect serious trouble in that direction. I will keep you posted daily of movements in the district.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CLINTON B. FISK,
Maj. Gen. W. S. ROSECRANS,
Commanding Dept. of the Missouri, Saint Louis, Mo.
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