AUGUST 6-9, 1863.--Scout
from Lexington to vicinity of Hopewell, Mo.
Report of Col. James McFerran, First Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
LEXINGTON, MO., August 10, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to state that, pursuant to your directions by telegraph of the 6th instant, I left this post at 10 p.m. on the night of the 6th instant, with all the available force at this post, being 150 men and three pieces of light artillery, to make the point suggested. We took up the line of march for Wellington. The night was very dark, and the rain descended in torrents. We continued our march, and were delayed in crossing the Big Sni, east of Wellington. We, however, passed through Wellington before daylight, and continued our march to Texas Prairie, About 11 o'clock we reached Eagin's Point, and there saw a small band of bushwhackers, who fled at our approach. While reconnoitering, to ascertain the point described in your telegram, another band of about 30 came in sight, going in the direction of Eagin's Point. As soon as they saw our force, they fled in an easterly direction. I sent out scouting parties, with a view of ascertaining the position of the enemy, and ascertained that there were but few in the immediate vicinity of Eagin's Point, which is about 3 miles northeast of Lick Skillet. I was unable to find the Seacock place, where Kogin lives. I could find no person who knew where the place was. Night coming on, we encamped at Colonel Elliot's place. The next morning we took up the line of march in the direction of Round Prairie. The rains enabled us to track any force that might be in the vicinity. We, however, failed to see any sign of a camp, and, after going nearly to Round Prairie, we turned east to Chapel Hill, then to Hopewell. Here we ascertained that the guerrillas were not concentrated but were on Davis Creek, on the waters of the Sni, and in Greenton Valley. One of our reconnoitering parties killed 2 of the guerrillas, and, night coming on, we encamped in the vicinity of Hopewell.
The next morning I divided our force into three parties. Sent one down the Sni, one down Davis Creek, and came, with the artillery, through Greenton Valley, reaching here on the evening of the 9th. The expedition determined clearly to my mind that the guerrillas had not concentrated. I am very much inclined to think that our appearance in Texas Prairie on the 7th, and the heavy rain-storm of the night of the 6th, prevented their concentration.
At 10 o'clock of the 7th, as we came east, we found that the guerrillas had gone east. On the night of the 7th, our men chased numerous small bands on the Sni and Davis Creek, but were unable to overtake them. I directed some seven families of the most influential rebels, who have been feeding and harboring guerrillas, to report at Lexington, within ten days, with their families and effects, prepared to leave the country. The women gave more aid and comfort than the men to the guerrillas. I learned that the guerrillas had notified some Union families to leave, and I did not know of a better plan than to retaliate, to afford protection to the loyal men. I hope this move will meet your approval, because it will be impossible to rid the country and protect the loyal people while these notorious and influential families remain to feed and comfort them.
The two companies that came from the south, as it is said, to escort Quantrill out, commanded by Blunt and Graves, were on the Sni, west of Hopewell, on the night of the 7th, and, from the best information I could get, l supposed they had gone east from there. Diligent search failed to find them on the Sni on the 8th and 9th. Graves was killed on the evening of the 7th, west of Hopewell, on the Sni, by his own men.
I will keep up constant scouting, and if 1 can learn anything in relation to concentration, advise you at once by telegraph.
While absent, the post being in charge of a few men, mostly Provisional Militia, 2 prisoners, named Carlisle and Porter, made their escape.
I have the honor to be, general, your humble servant,
Colonel First Missouri State Militia Cavalry, Commanding Post.
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