Lexington, Independence, Warrensburgh, and Harrisonville; and frequent reports have reached me from scouts and spies that they meant to sack and destroy Shawnee, Olathe, Paola, Mound City, and other towns in Kansas near the eastern border. I placed garrisons in all these Kansas towns, and issued arms and rations to volunteer militia companies there. From trustworthy sources I learned, toward the last of July, that they were threatening a raid on Lawrence; and soon after they commenced assembling on the Sinabar, in the western part of Lafayette county. I at once ordered a company of infantry, which was then coming down from Fort Ripley, to stop at Lawrence, which they did for more than a week, and until after the guerrilla force had been dispersed by a force I sent against them. From this time, though constantly receiving information as to their movements and plans, I could learn nothing of a purpose to make a raid into Kansas. Their forces were again scattered in small predatory bands, and I had all available forces in like manner scattered throughout the Missouri portion of this district, and especially the border counties, besetting their haunts and paths. Quantrell's whole force was about three hundred men, composed of selected bands from this part of Missouri. About two hundred and fifty were assembled on Blackwater, near the eastern border of this district, at least fifty miles from the Kansas line, on the seventeenth and eighteenth. I am informed by Major Ross, M. S. M., who has been scouting in the south-west part of Saline county, that the rendezvous was there. Lieutenant-Colonel Lazear, commanding two companies of the First Missouri, at Warrens-burgh, heard on the morning of the twentieth that this force had passed the day before twelve miles north of him, going west, and moved promptly after them, sending orders to Major Mullins, commanding two companies of the same regiment at Pleasant Hill, to move on them from that point. On the night of the nineteenth, however, Quantrell passed through Chapel Hill to the head of the middle fork of Grand River, eight miles north-west of Harrisonville, and fifteen miles south-east of Aubrey, the nearest station in Kansas. There he was joined on the morning of the twentieth by about fifty men from Grand River and the Osage, and at noon set out for Kansas, passing five miles south of Aubrey at six P. M., going west. Aubrey is thirty-five miles south of Kansas City, and about forty-five miles south-east of Lawrence. Kansas City is somewhat further from Lawrence. Captain Pike, commanding two companies at Aubrey, received information of the presence of Quantrell on Grand River at half-past 5 o'clock P. M., of the twentieth. He promptly forwarded the information up and down the line, and to my headquarters; and called in his scouting parties to march upon them. One hour and a half later, he received information that Quantrell had just passed into Kansas. Unhappily, however, instead of setting out at once in pursuit, he remained at the station, and merely sent information of Quantrell's movements to my headquarters and Captain Coleman, commanding two companies at Little Santa Fe, twelve miles north of the line. Captain Coleman, with near one hundred men, marched at once to Aubrey, and the available force of the two stations, numbering about two hundred men, set out at midnight in pursuit. But Quantrell's path was over the open prairie, and difficult to follow at night, so that our forces gained but little on him. By Captain Pike's error of judgment in failing to follow promptly and closely, the surest means of arresting the terrible blow was thrown away — for Quantrell never would have gone as far as Lawrence, or attacked it, with a hundred men close on his rear. The first despatch of Captain Pike reached here; thirty-five miles north of Aubrey, at half-past 11 P. M., the second an hour later. Before one o'clock, Major Plumb, my Chief of Staff. at the head of about fifty men, (which was all that could be got here and at Westport,) started southward, and at daylight heard, at Olathe, twenty-five miles from here, that the enemy had passed at midnight through Gardner, eighteen miles from Lawrence, going toward that town. Pushing on, Major Plumb overtook Captains Coleman and Pike, six miles south-east of Lawrence, at half-past 10 o'clock, Friday, the twenty-first instant, and by the light of the blazing farm-houses saw that the enemy had got six miles south of Lawrence, on their way out of the State. The enemy were overtaken near Palmyra by Major Plumb's command, to which were there added from fifty to one hundred citizens, who had been hastily assembled, and led in pursuit by General Lane. By this time the horses of our detachments were almost exhausted. Nearly all were young horses, just issued to the companies, and had marched more than sixty-five miles without rest and without food from the morning of the twentieth. Quantrell had his men mounted on the best horses of the border, and had collected fresh ones going to and at Lawrence, almost enough to remount his command. He skilfully kept over a hundred of his best-mounted and best-trained men in the rear, and often formed line of battle to delay pursuit, and give time and rest to the most wearied of his forces. By the time our scattered soldiers and citizens could get up and form line, the guerrillas' rear-guard would, after a volley, break into column, and move off at a speed which defied pursuit. Thus the chase dragged through the afternoon, over the prairie, generally following no roads or paths, until eight, when Quantrell's rear-guard formed line of battle three miles north of Paola, and twenty miles from where they entered the State. A skirmish ensued, the guerrillas breaking and scattering, so that our forces in the darkness lost the trail, and went into Paola for food and rest, while search was being made for it. Lieutenant-Colonel Clark, Ninth Kansas volunteers, with headquarters at Coldwater Grove,
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