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Doc. 154.-capture of General Jeff Thompson.

Colonel Woodson's official report,

Pilot Knob, Mo., August 27, 1863.
General C. B. Fisk, Commanding District of South-east Missouri:
sir: In obedience to orders from Colonel R. R. Livingston, of the seventeenth instant, (he then commanding the post of Pilot Knob,) I moved with a detachment of my regiment from this point on the eighteenth instant, from Greenville, to form a junction with a battalion from Cape Girardeau. I arrived at Greenville at noon on the twentieth instant, and had to remain there till the evening of the twenty-first, for the troops from the Cape. When they joined me on the morning of Thursday, the twenty-second, I moved with the whole force, about six hundred strong, for Pocahontas, Arkansas, by as rapid marches as the extreme heat of the weather and the condition of my stock would permit, and arrived at Pocahontas, Arkansas, on Saturday evening, the twenty-fourth instant.

When I was in four miles of Pocahontas, I ascertained that Brigadier-General Jeff Thompson was there with little or no force. My column was then scattered over several miles, from the extreme rapidity of my march. Being very desirous of capturing him, and knowing that I had to act with promptness or fail in that object, I ordered Captain Gentry, of the Second cavalry M. S. M., to move forward with all possible despatch, with the advance, and surprise and capture the General, and that I would support him as soon as I could get the column up.

So thoroughly and efficiently did Captain Gentry obey this order, that General Thompson, sitting quietly in his office, and tracing a map of South-east Missouri, as he thought in absolute security, had no idea of any Federal force in one hundred miles of him, until Captain Gentry, having occupied all the passes out of town, rode up to the window of the office, and demanded General Thompson.

Captain Gentry deserves the highest credit for this capture, it depending mainly, if not entirely, upon his promptness and efficiency in obeying my order to move forward the column and surprise him. I remained in Pocahontas about six hours, and being a good deal encumbered with prisoners, and fearful of their escape, camping in the brush, I determined to move back to this point with all possible despatch, and arrived here on the evening of the twenty-fourth instant, having sent the battalion from Cape Girardeau back there by Greenville. In ten days I have marched above two hundred and fifty miles, and laid still one day and a half of the time. I had no fight, but fired on several parties of guerrillas, and killed four of them, and wounded three that I know of. I captured and brought in Brigadier-General Jeff Thompson, his Adjutant-General, Captain Kay, his Medical Director, Dr. France, a Captain of artillery, a Lieutenant of cavalry, and a Captain of ordinance, and about fifty other prisoners, mostly deserters, discharged soldiers, and stragglers from the confederate army; also about thirty horses, the most of them taken to Cape Girardeau by the other battalion.

I regret exceedingly to have to report several cases of highway robbery, plunder, and theft, by the detachment of the First Missouri volunteers. I am satisfied that some of that detachment stole horses, watches, money-any thing they could lay their hands on — from citizens and prisoners.

I am, sir, respectfully your obedient servant,

R. G. Woodson, Colonel Third Cavalry M. S. M., Commanding Battalion, Expedition to Pocahontas.

First Missouri cavalry.

Pilot Knob, Mo., September 20, 1863.
Editors Missouri Democrat:
gentlemen: We to-day, for the first time, had the privilege of reading Colonel Woodson's official report of the Pocahontas expedition, and the capture of the rebel General Jeff Thompson. We regret exceedingly to be called upon by the false and slanderous character of that report, to state that it is a document unbecoming any gentleman; a cowardly attempt on the part of Colonel Woodson to screen himself, and heap the onus and filth of the expedition on the First Missouri cavalry volunteers, when, in fact, his men committed nearly all of the outrages that were perpetrated on the scout; and he himself has been seen wearing the watch taken from Dr. Frame within the last two weeks. He also states that nearly all the horses taken on the scout were carried off to Cape Girardeau. That is false. He brought over thirty horses to this place with him, and, so far as watches and money are concerned in the matter, we think Colonel Woodson pocketed as much, if not a little more, than any other man on the expedition. He talks very coolly about the capture of Jeff Thompson, about ordering Captain Gentry forward with all possible haste. The fact is just simply this, that Captain Gentry had a conversation with the officers of the First Missouri cavalry, they being in the advance that day, about the chance of taking Jeff in, by making a dash into Pocahontas and [486] surprising him. We concluded it could be done, and sent back to the Captain for permission to do so. The Captain did not ride at the advance of his column that day, as he should have done. He said if we wanted to try it, we could do so. We wanted to try it, did try it, and did capture Jeff Thompson, as well as every other prisoner that was taken on the scout, and all the horses, all the arms, did all the shooting, all the killing, and in fact every thing else that was done, excepting the straggling and stealing. Colonel Woodson rode along at his ease some four or five miles in the rear, and did not reach Pocahontas with his command for nearly one hour .and a half after the First Missouri entered the place and captured Jeff Thompson and his staff, and when he did come up and was introduced to Jeff, we think, from the position he took during the ceremony, that he was in the same predicament that Sterling Price was at Boonville, Missouri. We turned over eighteen contraband horses to the Quartermaster at Cape Girardeau, but we have never heard of any property being turned over by the M. S. M. or any other copperheads since we entered the department.

The reputation of our regiment for honesty, bravery, and efficiency, is too well know in this department to be injured by any attempt to screen the rascality of the M. S. M. by false reports. We will close by making this proposition to Captain Woodson, that if he will do the clean thing, come out like a man, and trade on the square, we will give him five hundred dollars for his net proceeds from the scout.

We, the undersigned, officers of the First Missouri, hold ourselves personally and officially responsible for the above statements.

Yours respectfully,

Valentine Prewitt, Captain Co. M., Com'dg Detachment. homes quick, Captain Co. K., First Missouri Cavairy. James H. Burnett, First Lieut., Com'dg Co. G., First Mo. Cav. O. P. Steele, Second Lieutenant, Co. K., First Mo. Cav. Thomas Ralph, Second Lieutenant, Co. M., First Mo. Cav.

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