August 25, 1864, Saint
Statement of George Williams
Statement of George Williams.
SAINT LOUIS, August 25, 1864.
I left Saint Louis on Saturday morning, August 13, for the northern part of the State on a scouting expedition, under the direction of the provost-marshal-general. I was to act as a bushwhacker and obtain all the information possible. Arriving at Huntsville, I pressed the first horse I could find, which belonged to a man named Herther, the post commander sanctioning that proceeding, as he knew what my business was. On Sunday morning I was at Roanoke, which place I left for Chariton County. There I saw some men who were formed into companies ready to go out as soon as they could get arms. If they had arms they would have been out before this. Captain Price, who came down here the other day and was put in prison, was to command the company. He lives in Chariton County. I had some conversation with Con. Hurtt. I had been acquainted with him previously to this. He came up and shook hands with me and said he was for the brush now. He then asked me if I was a bushwhacker. I said yes; he said he was for it and was waiting for me to get back. He had sent word into Roanoke that he was a bushwhacker, his friends residing there. He wanted to go with me, but I could not take him with me from prudential motives. His brother told me he was in the company but he wanted to be with me. I learned that there were twenty-five men sworn in the company. That night I went and stopped with this Hurtt, Lon Hurtt they call him, and he wanted to go with me, but I told him he had better wait awhile, that I had no arms for him at the time. I then saw Joe Price, and he told me to wait and do nothing to put myself in any danger till he got back (he was then coming to Saint Louis); when he did get back we were to raise hell there in that county. I talked with a good many more and they spoke in the same way. The names of some of the men in this company are, Joe Price, Con. Hurtt, Lon Hurtt (brothers), Barton Fillport, David Fillport, -- Fillport (brothers), Price, brother of Joe.
I went from there and got in with some bushwhackers in Randolph County. I went around with them a little and found out that they were going to make a raid on the railroad, intending to stop the passenger train. I wrote to Huntsville and put the captain commanding the post on his guard there. This letter as opened by the postmaster and its contents communicated by him to the bushwhackers. I know the postmaster exposed me because there was nobody else who knew about it but myself. I was in the Federal camp, and they even knew that, and last Monday got after me. They had all the confidence in the world in me until the postmaster let it out. His name is Joseph Reiter, and he is the postmaster at Roanoke. He went to Quinn and told him about it. He said the letter was open, but I know better--it was sealed, just as tight as letter could be sealed. The bushwhackers immediately got after me at Roanoke, and watched the town all night, thinking I would come there. The men who watched were under Lieutenant Jackson. Reiter did not expose me till I had seen a good many bushwhackers. I had been there a week and had seen some of Anderson's, Holtzclaw's, Todd's, Pitney's, and Perkins' men, and I talked with them all. Their conversation seemed to be all about the same; they were "going to make that county hotter than hell," and intend, they say, "to hold it, by God, to a certainty." I went into the Federal camp the night they were camped at Roanoke. There was a major there with 250 men. I told him of the whereabouts of Anderson and the different parties of men, but never effected anything. I told him at the time that he was moving too slow to ever think about catching Anderson. This major's name is McDermott, of the First Iowa, I believe. On Sunday night last I saw some of Lieutenant Jackson's men. There were four of them dismounted. They entered Jacksonville and the militia came upon them. The militia shot at me, supposing that I was a bushwhacker, but they only wounded my horse. They say Shelby will be to the Missouri River by two weeks. They also say part of Quantrill's men are now crossing the Missouri going into the northern district. They say they are going to have Huntsville, when they will burn everything and kill all the people in it. Anderson is trying to get Perkins to combine his forces with him, and then they will attack Huntsville. All those forces up there are Perkins' command, with the exception of Anderson, and he is independent of all.
The postmaster at Roanoke is trying to get on the right side of the bushwhackers, as he thinks they will soon control things up there, and he thinks he is all right with the Union people. He deceived me up there and I can do nothing, though I had the entire confidence of the rebels before that. I am confident that the citizens will all turn out as bushwhackers if this thing is not put down within two weeks. They are all into it. If I had had the men I could have had Anderson and Holtzclaw both. I was four miles from Anderson's camp one morning and ate breakfast with some of his men. I did not want to go into it because he would have wanted me to remain there. Anderson came within a mile or two of Huntsville and camped there all night with sixty men, and tore down the telegraph wire last Tuesday right in sight of 100 Federal soldiers. I surrendered to the commander of the post at Huntsville as a bushwhacker and was by him placed under guard, put aboard the train, and sent to St. Louis, where I arrived last night.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 26th day of August, 1864.
I. C. DODGE,
Lieutenant and Assistant Provost-Marshal-General.
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