Rural Missouri - August 2012 - (Page 26)

Battles of Independence & Lone Jack ~ 1862 The spirit of the rebellion intensifies on the western front Bloody August O border as if that section of the state would return to Confederate control. What had gone wrong? Some of what went wrong was self-inflicted. Hamilton Gamble, the provisional Unionist govern April 8, 1862, following the disastrous nor, had wanted to rid Missouri of Free State and Confederate defeat at the Battle of Pea German-American soldiers and replace them with a Ridge a month earlier, Sterling Price, now a homegrown militia more sympathetic to the loyal Confederate major general, led some 8,000 but wavering slave-holding SouthernMissourians across the Mississippi River ers who both he and Lincoln wanted to assist in the attempt to salvage the to keep in the Union column. But by flagging Confederate war effort in the June, he had only 17,360 soldiers. West. Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck, comWorse still, Federal commanders manding the Federal Department of radicalized the guerrilla war by raising the West, concluded that with Price the black flag. All captured guerrillas and his men gone, Missouri was safe were to be executed on the spot. This from Confederate invasion. Soon, warmed-over Napoleonic-era prothousands of regular troops heretofore nouncement led to the execution or stationed in Missouri were shifted murder of as many Union soldiers and across the Mississippi to continue hamloyal civilians as guerrillas. mering the western Confederacy. Finally, to increase troop strength, It turned out Halleck was wrong. a decree was issued on July 22 The spirit of rebellion received that required all men of military new energy during the sumage to join the newly formed mer of 1862. Missouri was Jim Denny, a Co-Mo Electric member Enrolled Missouri Militia. While plunged into a warfare that at from Lupus, brings the state’s Civil War this move added 52,056 additimes seemed to overwhelm history to life in Rural Missouri as we tional soldiers, it also sent many the depleted Union forces left commemorate the sesquicentennial of undecided Southerners heading behind to keep the lid on simthis time in our nation’s history. Order mering Missouri. Jim’s book, “The Civil War’s First Blood,” to the bush to join proliferating guerrilla bands or into the ConIn August, the summer of online at www.ruralmissouri.coop. federate army. warfare reached an explosive Despite the departure of Price and his followers, climax at Independence and Lone Jack. Briefly, it the cause of rebellion in Missouri was undergoing seemed to panic-stricken Unionists on the western resurgence. From Arkansas came prominent Missouri officers, who returned to their home neighborhoods to glean fresh recruits for the Confederate army. They had been sent by Maj. Gen. Thomas Hindman, an energetic and resourceful commander. Hindman had none of the squeamishness of eastern gentleman generals about encouraging and using guerrilla warfare to keep large numbers of Yankees tied up in Missouri fighting endless skirmishes with an elusive enemy. This strategy was particularly effective in western Missouri, where William Quantrill had spent the summer of 1862 refining his skills as a guerrilla leader. His raiders had become a formidable foe by the time Hindman’s recruiting officers appeared in their neighborhood and requested assistance. The shining moment for the cooperative effort of guerrillas and recruiters came at the Battle of Independence on Aug. 11, 1862. The town was defended by several companies of Enrolled Missouri Militia. A few miles away, near present day Lee’s Summit, a Confederate recruiting camp had been established. The commander, Col. John T. Hughes, with the aid of Col. Upton Hays and Quantrill’s band, decided to attack with their 400 photos courtesy of the Lone Jack Battlefield Museum men and capture the militiamen From left, Thomas H. Brown, William A. Brown and Abe Brown — all of at Independence. whom served with Col. Upton Hays — pose for what would become a rare Quantrill and 25 of his men photograph of Missouri Confederate soldiers. actually won the battle. He by Jim Denny info@ruralmissouri.coop received considerable help from the inept Union militia commander, Lt. Col. James Buel, who ignored intelligence that his garrison was about to be attacked, made no preparations for battle and set up his headquarters in a downtown building a full half mile from the encampment of his soldiers. When the attack did occur on the morning of Aug. 11, the militia managed to rally behind a stone fence and offer determined resistance to repeated charges by Hughes’s main force. Indeed, Hughes was shot dead, and Hays and another colonel were wounded. The militiamen were compelled to surrender, not because of the Confederates but because of the incompetence of their own commander. Quantrill and his handful of men managed to trap Buel in his headquarters and threatened to set the building ablaze. Buel had no choice but to be roasted alive or capitulate. Col. Upton Hays This turned out to be the worst Union defeat in Missouri since the Battle of Lexington the preceding September. Five days after the disaster at Independence, a ferocious battle took place in Jackson County at Lone Jack. Here, Maj. Emory S. Foster and 740 Missouri Militia clashed with Foster’s Warrensburg neighbor, Confederate Col. Maj. Emory S. Foster Vard Cockrell. Cockrell, Hays, Lt. Col. Sidney Jackman and other officers led a force of 1,950 men, mostly green recruits. Foster’s odds were supposed to be evened by the arrival of reinforcements, but no one showed up in time to lend a hand. Foster was on his own when the battle opened on the morning of Aug. 15. Pound for pound, the clash at Lone Jack was as vicious a battle as any fought in Missouri. For five grueling hours, the battle raged. The combatants often were separated only by the main street of Lone Jack. Finally, those militia who were still able to move broke off the fight and retreated from the battlefield. This number amounted to only half of those present at the start of the battle. The rest were dead, wounded or missing. Foster and his dying brother were among the wounded left behind. Like all the militia, they dreaded falling into the hands of merciless guerrillas. Indeed, the Fosters were only rescued from being murdered by the timely intercession of an improbable savior, the guerrilla Cole Younger. Before the recruiters and their volunteers left Missouri — just ahead of the Missouri Militia who had finally massed to drive them out — William Quantrill and his band were formally inducted into the Confederate army on Aug. 14 as partisan rangers. Quantrill received a commission as captain under the authority of Gen. Hindman. This patina of legitimacy did not alter in any way the deadly spiral of murder and mayhem that would lead to a far bloodier August in 1863 than even the most pragmatic Confederate leaders could condone. 26 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://www.ruralmissouri.coop http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - August 2012

Rural Missouri - August 2012
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Exploring yesterday today
Forget 10,000 casts
A hundred years on the hunt
H2O & Go
Hearth and Home
Out of the Way Eats
Bloody August
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Locomotives in the landscape
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - August 2012

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