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[159]

Major Champion Vaughan wrote soon after to General J. H. Lane: ‘There is no man in Northern Missouri so well calculated to give you all useful information as Major Everett Peabody, to whom I would urge upon you “an attentive ear” in all matters he has to communicate. In the great crisis now upon Missouri, I believe no man is so likely to take hold of the helm with a manly resolution as Major Peabody, who combines in a happy degree those qualities which the occasion and the times demand.’

Major Peabody's own letters now afford almost a continuous narrative:—

camp Lander, August 27, 1861.

dear——, —I am ordered to Kansas City, and expect roughness.

I shall send home, in the course of a day or two, my contract with the Platte Railroad Company; and in case I go up, which is very likely, I want to have the rest of you take what I have made, and use it to the best advantage for all three.

Good by, old fellow. I have a sort of presentiment that I shall go under. If I do, it shall be in a manner that the old family shall feel proud of it.

Yours,


Lexington, September 24, 1861.

dear——, —Finding nothing to do at Kansas City, I moved down about eight hundred and fifty men to this place, on the 4th. On the 7th I started southward with Colonel Marshall (First Illinois Cavalry) in command, towards Warrensburg. After progressing, in his fashion, eighteen miles in two days, he returned here, leaving me in command of about nine hundred infantry and three hundred and fifty cavalry, with two six-pounders, and directed me to make a reconnoissance toward Warrensburg. I marched seventeen miles, and reached there at five in the evening.

The rumors I had been hearing were, before twelve o'clock at night, reduced to certainty,—that the main body of the Missouri forces, under Price, Jackson, and Raines, were upon us, some twelve thousand strong. They were within five miles when I commenced my retreat, burning bridges, and delaying them as far as possible. I was none too quick; for, two hours after I arrived here, our pickets were driven in, and skirmishing began, and was


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