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Chapter 21:

General Schofield, the commanding General of this department, visited Leavenworth City a few days ago, and was coldly received by the citizens. At a recent mass meeting held there to take action in regard to the Lawrence massacre, resolutions denouncing him as a sympathizer with the enemy, and demanding his removal, were adopted. Throughout the State the feeling against him is quite bitter, for nearly every one holds that he is exceedingly stupid or careless of his [399] duty, to permit such a large force as Quantrell had to organize in the center of his Department, and march forty miles into Kansas without being pursued by our troops. Unless he can completely destroy Quantrell's force immediately, which is now perhaps an impossibility, the people of this State will petition President Lincoln to remove him from the command of this department. When the present excitement wears off a different feeling may prevail.

Colonels Jennison and Hoyt made rousing speeches in town on the evening of the 7th, for the purpose of arousing the martial enthusiasm of our citizens to a point that will induce them to enlist into their regiment, the Fifteenth. Their efforts in this direction are very commendable; but when they endeavor to excite passions that need restraining, I cannot go with them. The lawless spirit is always rampant enough, without receiving a quasi public sanction. They talked freely about burning everything in the two border tiers of counties in Missouri, and received a few feeble cheers from the crowd. Colonel Hoyt was one of the attorneys who defended John Brown, when lie was tried for treason by the Virginia authorities, and therefore drew a large crowd, as our people were curious to see him and hear him speak. He is a young man of considerable talent, and should he conduct himself properly, perhaps has a brilliant future before him. In the course of the evening, before the crowd dispersed, the popular war song, “John Brown's body,” &c., was sung with a good deal of feeling and earnestness. [400] There are many here who condemn John Brown's seizure of Harper's Ferry, and think that he deserved hanging for the invasion of Virginia. But for my own part, I have regarded him as the first martyr of the war, and I believe that he will live as long in the memory of the nation, as any of our great military heroes. Historians of the future, who write even condensed histories of this great contest, will not likely omit the name of John Brown from their introductory chapters. The name of this plain, simple man, in its present connection, will live in the hearts of liberty-loving people as long as our national history lives. When the slave-holders hung him, they doubtless little thought that they were raising a storm that would shortly sweep away their cherished, and to them divinely ordained, institution.

Colonels Jennison and Hoyt left on the 8th for Paola, where they will join General Lane, who has perhaps nearly five thousand citizens assembled for the purpose of taking into consideration the plan of invading Missouri. It has been published that those in favor of joining this Grand Army of Invasion, should bring with them fifteen days rations, blankets and complete equipments for the field. Though General Lane is a great man in Kansas, and has great influence over her citizens, and could probably by his eloquence persuade many of them to follow him right up to the cannon's mouth, yet there are reasons for thinking that his citizen army will prove a failure; for it is not likely that his victorious torch-bearers, even if they should start [401] out as gallant knights on such a glorious crusade, would bring back with them many valuable trophies and guerrilla chieftains bound in golden chains. The cream has been taken from the milk repeatedly, and those who took it have consumed it or left the country. The fine milch cow that once furnished the rich milk has been terribly beaten, and turned out to graze on thorns and thistles.

It is now known to the people of this State that General Schofield has issued an order forbidding General Lane's Grand Army of citizens invading Missouri without authority from General Ewing, the District Commander. This order, unless revoked, will probably put a quietus on General Lane's contemplated invasion. Had he crossed the line and commenced to carry out his generally understood programme, it is now thought that he would have soon come in contact with the Missouri State troops. It is reported that they say with a good deal of emphasis, that they would shoot a Kansas invader, caught in the act of applying the torch to a Union man's property, just as quick as they would a bushwhacker caught in a similar act. It would be strange if they would stand idly by and see their homes destroyed by a mob. The idea of a mob of citizens from this State invading Missouri for the purpose of avenging the crime of Quantrell at Lawrence, has seemed to me wild from the beginning. I may remark, however, that there is an opportunity for those who have been clamoring for invasion to satisfy their martial ardor by enlisting into the service of the [402] United States immediately. They may have an opportunity yet of satiating their thirst for war.

Dispatches have just been received here from General Blunt announcing his capture of Fort Smith, and the defeat of General Cooper's army at Perryville, a small town in the Creek nation, about seventy-five miles south of Fort Gibson. At Perryville, General Cooper's army was completely routed and dispersed, and a large number of animals and nearly all his commissary stores captured. The enemy lost about twenty men killed and perhaps forty wounded and sixty prisoners in the engagement. They made a very feeble stand, and when they broke they could not be rallied again. Our troops pursued their flying columns far towards Red River. General Blunt moved on Fort Smith with preparations for a hard fight; but the enemy under General Cabell, after a little skirmishing west of the Potoe River, withdrew, and General Blunt marched in and took possession of the Fort and City. The latest dispatches via St. Louis state Generals Steele and Davidson have captured Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas. The city was taken without any hard fighting, but the enemy contested the advance of our troops while marching across the country. If the forces of Generals Blunt and Davidson form a junction now, the Arkansas River can be opened to navigation above Little Rock. It may be, however, that it has not a sufficient volume of water at this season to float even light draft steamers. But if Little Rock can be made a depot of supplies by direct shipment from [403] St. Louis, it will be more convenient for our troops at Fort Smith to transport their supplies from there than from this point. Fort Gibson, however, will probably still receive supplies from this place, until the Arkansas River is opened to navigation. A month or more may be required to perfect arrangements for bringing supplies through from Little Rock to the Army of the Frontier at Fort Smith, so that, in the meantime, supply trains will be sent out from here as usual. The large supply train that leaves this post on the 13th, will go to Fort Smith via Fort Gibson. Since the Lawrence massacre has given Quantrell the reputation of possessing a bold and daring spirit, it is thought that he may venture to attack this train. If he cannot get together a force larger than the escort, he is not likely to make an attack. Colonel Blair has sent out a detachment of cavalry to the east and southeast of this place, for the purpose of ascertaining if there are any recent indications of an enemy having passed down the border, or coming in from the south. The commanding officer of the escort will, however, understand the necessity of being extremely vigilant.

The politicians of this State are clamoring for a new department, to embrace Kansas and the Indian country. Senator Lane will probably prevail upon President Lincoln, to direct the Secretary of War to issue the necessary orders at an early day. As soon as its limits shall have been defined, it is proposed to have General Blunt put in command. Senator Lane [404] ought then to be happy. General Blunt has been very successful in all his military operations, and has the reputation of being a good fighter, so that he may wish a more active field than the new department will afford. Now that he has captured Fort Smith, western Arkansas should be attached to his new department; then he will have a section in which there is an organized enemy to contend with. In the Indian country, since the defeat of General Cooper at Perryville, there is no foe worthy his attention. The bitterness of the people of this State against General Schofield is, perhaps, in a large measure, unjustifiable. He is in a position where it is almost impossible to satisfy all factions and parties. He has received direct instructions from President Lincoln to favor no one faction of the Missouri Unionists more than the other. Mr. Lincoln has not only recognized the loyal element in Missouri, but he has done it to the extent of selecting one of his Cabinet officers from that State. He seems to have watched over the State from the beginning of the war with special interest, for which her loyal people will ever feel grateful.

It is now officially announced that, after upwards of a month's bombardment, General Gillmore has captured Forts Wagner and Gregg, in Charleston Harbor, and that the city of Charleston is entirely under his guns. The vigorous bombardment of the city itself will now soon be commenced. The rebel strongholds are gradually crumbling before our victorious arms, and their territory is contracting day by day. [405] One must be stupidly blind not to see that we are rapidly approaching the end of the struggle. The faint-hearted, and those who have all along doubted the ability of the government to crush the rebellion, should now fall into line, so that they may in the future have the pleasure of knowing, that towards the last of this important struggle they were on the side of justice and right, and did something towards maintaining our national life.

Captain Coleman, Ninth Kansas Cavalry, had a lively skirmish with a party of Quantrell's men on the 17th instant, killing three of the guerrillas and wounding several others. He also captured from them a considerable amount of the property which they took from Lawrence, such as horses, mules, goods, etc. Two of our soldiers were wounded in the affair, but not mortally.

Captain N. B. Lucas, of the Sixth Kansas cavalry, who has just came up from Fort Gibson with his company as an escort for General DuBoice, Inspector General, will continue his escort duty to Kansas City, and then remain in that section for a while to operate against the guerrillas of Jackson and Cass counties. He served with us in the Indian division under Colonel Phillips until General Blunt came down, and I know that he is an efficient officer, and that the enemy will feel his presence, now that he is detailed for duty on the border. When I recall our service together in the Indian country, I almost regret that Colonel Blair has requested of General Blunt my temporary detail [406] for special duty at this post, for it is much more satisfactory to be able to chronicle important events on the spot, than to chronicle them after sifting the statements of half a dozen persons. This, however, is a central position, from which I can follow the movements of our troops to the north of us along the border, or to the south, down the border as far as Fort Smith and Fort Gibson in the Indian Territory.

On the 21st, quite a number of citizens of this place, who are believed to be in sympathy with the rebellion, received anonymous notices that they must leave the city within ten days, if they regard their personal safety as a matter of serious consideration. It is generally thought that these notices have been sent out by direction of the Union League of Fort Scott. I am inclined to believe that this opinion is correct, for, in a conversation with several members of the League, with which I am somewhat in sympathy, they tacitly admitted that such was the case. In war times those who naturally dislike secret political organizations, feel compelled to adopt extraordinary measures for their own safety. A great deal of leniency has been shown certain rebel sympathizers here. The soldiers and loyal citizens feel that those who sympathize with the rebellion, on account of the danger of their betraying us, if possible, into the hands of a foe that has unfurled the black flag, should not be permitted to remain in our midst. The great crime of the Lawrence massacre, that has sent a thrill of horror through the hearts of the loyal community, has produced [407] in the rebel sympathizers a feeling of self-satisfaction, unless the expressions of their countenances belie them. We cannot afford to tolerate among us men who would betray us, and then have us cruelly murdered. Though some of those who received the notices alluded to above, have been quite bitter in their denunciations of the government, recently they have been more cautious and discreet, and have rarely let slip any strong language. From inquiries, it appears that quite a number of those who received warnings will leave this place temporarily, any way. They ought to be able to see that, to the loyal mind, they are regarded almost in the light of spies. A number of officers also received these anonymous notices. In several instances the thing was carried too far.

General Blunt and staff and Colonel William R. Judson, and a number of other officers belonging to the Army of the Frontier, arrived at this post Wednesday, the 23d, from Fort Smith. A brilliant reception was given the General and his party. Colonel C. W. Blair, commanding the troops here, ordered them out as a compliment to the hero of many battles. He also directed Captain Smith's battery to fire a Major General's salute, and the bands to take their proper place in the line.

Colonel Blair, who is one of the finest orators in the State, if not indeed in the West, made the reception speech, in charming and elegant language. The announcement that Colonel Blair is to speak on any occasion, [408] is always sufficient to draw an immense crowd in this section. But aside from this fact, the citizens and soldiers of Fort Scott felt like honoring General Blunt for his brilliant campaign in northwestern Arkansas last fall, and for his scarcely less brilliant campaign in the Indian country the last two months, ending in the capture of Fort Smith. I must remark, however, that most of the glory claimed for him in his recent campaign justly belongs to Colonel William A. Phillips, whose heroic action through six months of extraordinary trials, made possible the recent achievements of our arms in the Indian country.

A detachment of soldiers which has just come from Southwest Missouri, state that Colonel M. La Rue Harrison, of the First Kansas cavalry, had a fight on the 21st with the rebel forces of Colonels Coffey and Brown, near the mouth of Buffalo Creek, Newton County, Missouri, and killed five of the enemy and wounded several others. This recent action indicates that Colonel Harrison is improving in fighting qualities. His precipitate retreat from Fayetteville last spring, when he was expected to co-operate with Colonel Phillips, was not by any means very creditable to him, and if what has been reported in regard to the matter be true, should have subjected him to censure by court martial. Perhaps he has determined to wipe out that little stain from his record A great battle was fought on the 19th and 20th instant, near Chattanooga, Tennessee, between the forces of General Rosecrans, about sixty thousand strong, [409] and the combined rebel forces of Generals Bragg, Longstreet and Hill, estimated at upwards of a hundred thousand men. It is reported that the losses in killed and wounded on both sides, will foot up twenty-five thousand men. Our troops have suffered a temporary check in their forward movement. It is the intention, however, to renew the contest as soon as reinforcements come up.

Our scouts brought in a report on Sunday, the 27th, that a band of guerrillas near Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri, have had under consideration a scheme to kill or capture our pickets between Fort Scott and the State line, and then make a raid on this place. Colonel Blair, however, had found out their intentions from his scouts, and has thwarted their contemplated movement by sending a detachment of cavalry to look after them. He has had the picket guards very skillfully posted between this post and Missouri, so that if the enemy should kill or capture the men on the outer station, they would not be able to pass the inner stations without causing alarm.

General Blunt who has been here since the 23d instant, is making preparations to return to Fort Smith, in about a week, to take command of the Army of the Frontier. The headquarters of his district will be removed from here, and his assistant adjutant general, Major H. Z. Curtis, who has been here attending to the regular business of the district, will accompany him, taking along all the records of the office.

The Bourbon County Fair commenced at this place [410] on the 30th, with a large attendance from all parts of the county. This is the first fair ever held in this section of the State, and the exhibitions of stock, agricultural productions, handy works of the ladies, &c., will compare favorably with the county fairs of the older States. To see the great throng of people from the country deeply interested in exhibiting their various productions, and discussing the merits of this or that animal, or this or that agricultural product, almost makes the soldier forget that he is a soldier. Many of those dressed in blue, who were in attendance to-day, will perhaps dream to-night of the peaceful times when their minds were filled with thoughts pertaining to the duties of domestic and social life. They will be wholly unconscious that they are sleeping in the habilaments of war, and that the storm may break forth upon them at any moment. Those who have been in service on the border since the beginning of the war, know that they maybe aroused any night by the beating of the long roll, or the distant .firing of the enemy, driving in our outposts. No town on the border has been subjected to so much excitement of this kind as this place.

Dispatches received from Fort Smith state that Colonel Cloud's brigade has been ordered back from that section to the southern line of Missouri, in consequence of the threatened invasion by a portion of General Price's army, recently driven from Little Rock by our troops under Generals Steele and Davidson. Colonel Bowen, commanding the [411] Second Brigade, stationed at Webber's Falls above Fort Smith, has probably marched to the latter place by this time, to relieve Colonel Cloud. Unless Generals Steele and Davidson continue the pursuit of Price's army from Little Rock, it will likely either march to Fort Smith, and attack our forces there, or turn north and invade Missouri. From such information as I can obtain, it looks as if the cavalry divisions of Marmaduke and Shelby were preparing for an immediate invasion of Missouri. The country north of the Arkansas River, above Little Rock, is open to the northern line of the State, and they would meet with little or no opposition until they passed into Missouri. But as soon as they enter that State, they are not likely to find much time for rest until they leave it, for the State troops and volunteers stationed at the different points, can soon concentrate in sufficient force to keep them moving. Since Vicksburg has fallen, and Little Rock abandoned, Price's army has really nothing else to do but to send its cavalry on this contemplated raid. The cavalry divisions above mentioned are composed of Missourians, and the officers and men in them will anxiously join an expedition that will give them an opportunity of briefly visiting their families. and homes. I have seen enough to convince me that men apparently destitute of sympathetic and tender feelings, will subject themselves without a murmur to extraordinary dangers and hardships, if there is a prospect that they will be able to see only for a few moments, their families and those very dear to them. [412] While the enemy perhaps have no thought of permanent occupation, they doubtless think that a successful raid to the interior of the State will give them numerous recruits, strengthen their cause, and show to the country that the confederacy is not dead yet. ~Should they be successful in accomplishing only a part ,of their probable plan, it will stimulate the Copperheads of the north to continue their opposition to the Government, and to renew the cry that “the war is a failure-” The Government has shown them great leniency, for under other governments less moderate than ours in their treatment of criminals, many of them would have been hung for their traitorous speeches and actions. The patience of the loyal people has been tried almost to the last extremity.

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