A couple of boys, of the Twenty-sixth Indiana regiment, Marshall Storey and William Waters, were sent with despatches to Independence, Mo., distant from Sedalia ninety miles. They were dressed as citizens, without arms or papers that would detect them if captured or examined. The despatches were snugly secreted in their hats and boots. Their route was directly through the country infested by the hands of jayhawkers under the famous guerrilla chief Quantrell. The boys made their way without molestation, until within about twenty miles of Independence, when, passing through the brush, they were halted by five shot-gun armed rebels, who ordered them off their horses and demanded their business. The boys said they were hunting for a horse which had been stolen by some home-guards, and, as they had learned, taken through that part of the country. They protested that they were secesh of the right stripe, and lived six miles north of Booneville. They were, however, searched. Finding nothing but a few fishing-hooks, which Marsh had in his vest-pocket, and which the rebels appropriated, they were allowed to go on their way. The boys, thinking all safe now, pushed on; but in crossing a neck of woods about five miles farther on, they were again called to a halt by a band of seven men, armed in the regular jayhawking style, who were some fifty yards from them. Marsh, whose wit is ready on all occasions, whispered to his companion that he would “play crazy.” Waters should be his brother, taking him home from St. Louis. Marsh has a peculiar way of drawing one eye down, which makes him look rather comical. This, with the slobber running down his dusty, whiskers, and his long hair hanging over his forehead, enabled him to play the game successfully. As soon as they came near, he jumped off his horse and ran towards them, and Waters yelled out: “Don't mind him; he's crazy; he don't know what he's doing.” Marsh looked very foolishly at their clothes, guns, horses, &c. He became particularly fond of a pretty black pony, which he concluded he must have instead of the poor old horse he had been riding, and even got on the pony and started off. This tickled all the rebels except the owner of the pony, who caught him and jerked him off. Marsh, to carry on the joke, gathered a stick of wood and made fight. This caused the others to yell with laughter. Waters came to his rescue, and told them not to provoke him, as it made him worse. In the mean time, Waters had been searched from head to foot, but with no better success than rewarded the first hand. Waters tried to get Marsh on his horse; but no, he must have the pony which he almost fought for. Finally, one of the band came forward and assisted Waters. Marsh very reluctantly left pony and rebels. As soon as they were out of sight, they put spurs to their nags, and reached Independence, after a ride, including the two stops, of four hours.
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