September 25 and 29, 1864
(August 29-December 2, 1864.--Price's Missouri Expedition.)
No. 49.--Reports of Lieut. Col. Daniel M. Draper, Ninth Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
FAYETTE, September 25, 1864.
GENERAL: We heard yesterday about noon that this place had been captured by 600 bushwhackers under Quantrill, but our horses had just come in from running these same scoundrels. From the direction they took I had no idea that they contemplated an attack upon this place, so I went back to Rocheport, after following the trail until it ran out from the scattering of the rebels. The fight here was a most gallant one on the part of the Ninth. I understood your instructions to me were to take what men of Major Leonard's could be spared and move on to Rocheport. I acted accordingly. I do not know whether or not you have had a detailed report of the fight here. The advance guard of the rebels were all dressed in Federal uniform and were consequently not suspected until they began firing. The provost guard immediately took post in the court-house and fought the whole command of villains until they left for camp. This gave the men time to rally on camp, which was near the college building. They then went into that and fought them until they got sick of it and left in a hurry, leaving 5 dead on the ground. They probably carried off some dead and many wounded, as they pressed wagons, buggies, and carriages on the road as far as we could hear from them.
I congratulate myself on having command of such men as are in my regiment, and hope that I may soon have them all together. General Douglass is giving you such information as he has, so it is not necessary for me to repeat. I differ with him as to the number of them. He thinks the principal force is below yet; I do not. I think they were all here.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
DAN. M. DRAPER,
STURGEON, September 29, 1864.
After leaving Centralia on Tuesday the guerrillas fell back about two miles to the timber, keeping pickets in view of the town. Major Johnston was then following their trail with 150 men. He went to where they were, and when he came in sight dismounted his men and formed them in line, each man holding his own horse. The guerrillas were moving toward him, but checked up at this, but soon came on a charge. When 150 yards distant the major ordered his men to fire, which they did, bringing the enemy to a halt. After the volley they came on, and when within 100 yards the men began to break, many of them not firing the second shot, and none of them more than that. It then became a scene of murder and outrage at which the heart sickens. Most of them were beaten over the head, seventeen of them were scalped, and one man had his privates cut off and placed in his mouth. Every man was shot in the head. One man had his nose cut off. One hundred and fifty dead bodies have been found, including the twenty-four taken from the train. I moved down to Centralia yesterday, and knowing that Douglass and Major King were somewhere in the country toward which Anderson is supposed to have taken, I did not follow. I endeavored in every way to find out their whereabouts, but have not been able to hear of them since they went into that country. Anderson was at least thirty hours ahead of me when I got to Centralia, and I knew he must turn back or cross the river before I could get to him. I came back here, after ordering the citizens to bury the eighty-five bodies left at Centralia, as this was the best point at which to get information from the country. Colonel Stauber sent out scouts this afternoon, which have not yet returned, to ascertain the cause of firing heard by citizens of the country south of this. The party has orders not to fight, but get information. As soon as it returns I will give results.
DAN. M. DRAPER,
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