One of the coolest and most extraordinary exploits of the war is thus described in a letter by Brigadier General E. B. Brown, dated Springfield, Mo. After a preliminary description of an engagement with the rebels, eighteen miles from Newtonia, General Brown proceeds:
“The General (Schofield) sent Lieutenant Blodgett, attended by an orderly, with orders to Colonel Hall, Fourth Missouri cavalry, to move to the left, and attack in that direction. The route Of the Lieutenant was across a point of woods, in which, while passing, he suddenly found himself facing about forty rebels drawn up in irregular line. Without a moment's hesitation, he and the orderly drew their pistols and charged.
“At the same time, tempering bravery with mercy, and not feeling any desire to shed blood needlessly, he drew out his handkerchief, and waved it in token of his willingness to surround and capture the whole rebel force rather than shoot them down.
“The cool impudence of the act nonplused the foe, and perhaps thinking there was a large force in the rear, eight of them threw down their arms and surrendered, and the balance ‘skedaddled.' It is difficult to say which I admired most in the Lieutenant, his bravery in making the charge against such odds, when to have hesitated a moment was certain death, or his presence of mind and coolness in offering them their lives. The Orderly, too, deserves more than a passing notice. His name is Peter Basnett, and he was at one time Sheriff of Brown County, Wis. The Lieutenant and Orderly were well matched —both quiet and determined men. I am glad of having an opportunity of bearing testimony to the bravery and soldierly conduct of Lieutenant Wells H. Blodgett. I hope the Governor will reward him as he deserves."
Blodgett earned the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism September 30, 1862 at Newtonia, Missouri; he died May 08, 1929 at the age of 90.
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