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Doc. 60. capture of Osceola, Mo.

A correspondent of the Neosha Register gives the following account of the capture:

West Point, Sept. 27.
I have the painful task of informing you of another death in our ranks. Thomas Stanfield departed this life on the night of the 26th inst., receiving his death wound on the night of the 25th. Thomas is missed very much both on the field and in the camp; always cheerful and ready to obey every call, in fact he was the pet of the company. He was buried to-day.

We left West Point on the 23d Sept. for Osceola, with four hundred cavalry, under Col. Montgomery, assisted by Col. Ritchie, the infantry under Col. Weer numbering one hundred and sixty. We passed through Papinsville, arriving there on the afternoon of the 23d, at two o'clock. On the morning of the 24th we left Papinsville, and took up the line of march for Osceola. We crossed the Osage within four miles of Osceola at ten o'clock on the night of the 25th. The enemy, hearing of our approach, attempted to dispute the crossing of the river, but were not in time, their pickets coming up just as we got over. They were driven back and five of them taken prisoners. Here a consultation was held, which resulted in the determination to march on and attack the town. [150]

The road from this point being through a dense thicket of underbrush, and over a hilly, broken country, being a strong position for an enemy, we having learned that the enemy were in ambush in a strong position, the night being very dark, it was considered a post of great danger to lead the advance. After a brief consultation the post of honor and danger was given to Capt. Hunt's company, supported by the infantry under Col. Weer, to be followed by the artillery under Capt. Moonlight, and the cavalry under Capts. Williams, Veal, Stuart, Seamen, Clark, and Gibson. These companies were to bring up the rear.

The programme being settled, Capt. Hunt's company took the advance, and moved forward, formed as skirmishers, or in single file, with orders to fall back on the infantry as soon as the enemy opened fire. We marched on in perfect silence, broken only by the tramping of the horses and the rumbling of the wheels of the artillery, until within a short distance of the town, when the enemy opened a tremendous fire upon Capt. Hunt's company from the brush on the right of the road, which was promptly returned. Capt. Hunt, instead of falling back upon the infantry as ordered, formed his men on the left of the road, and maintained his position until the artillery under Capt. Moonlight came up, and opened a heavy fire, that soon drove the enemy back in the bushes. They soon formed again, and marched within fifteen or twenty feet of the road, and opened fire the second time, but were repulsed by the infantry after a hot fire on both sides for ten or fifteen minutes, when the enemy stopped firing. Capt. Quig's company was then sent out to scour the timber, and finding the secesh retreating through a cornfield to the north, he fired a volley or two at the retreating devils, killing two or three, and wounding as many more. Captain Quig returned, the column moved forward, taking their position on the east of the town, where they remained until daylight. Captain Moonlight then opened fire on the court house, (a very fine edifice,) after which they moved forward into the town, the cavalry in the advance, followed by the artillery, and the infantry in the rear. Finding the rebels had fled, we took quarters in the different hotels. Our friend Capt. Hunt, having maintained the post of honor, being in advance, took quarters in the best hotel, finding a sumptuous breakfast already laid out, all of which the Neosho Rangers devoured, you had better think. After breakfast was over, Colonel Montgomery, finding the boys filling their canteens with wildfire, ordered the same to be spilled. After spilling some five or six hundred barrels of different kinds of liquors, and loading all the wagons we had and could press, with such articles as the army was in want of, then burning the accursed place, we took up our line of march, meeting Gen. Lane about eight miles from Osceola, bringing up reinforcements. Here we camped. The pickets being fired on here during the night, we marched early the next morning, and arrived at Butler about eight o'clock in the evening. Here we learned that the notorious Capt. Lock (the same that lay in the Butler jail last summer for murder, and was released on the condition that he would kill Montgomery and Jennison) was five miles from Butler, sick. Capt. Hunt was detailed to go and arrest him, taking a guide. The company was dismounted when within a half mile of the house, the horses concealed in the brush: we then moved on quietly to the house, and after surrounding it, Lock was called for. The lady came out and remonstrated, declaring there was no man within.

Col. Ritchie then ordered the house to be set on fire. After the house had been burning about five minutes, the lady — I have lied, she was not a lady, but a mere thing, bearing the semblance of a woman — asked permission to take from the burning pile of logs some valuable clothing. Here Thomas Stanfield met his fate. He volunteered, with two or three others, to bring out those things, and when he stepped in the door Lock fired from within. Thomas cried out he was shot, walked to the door and fell, the ball entering his abdomen and lodging against the spine. It is not known whether Lock perished in the flames or not.

We lost one killed, one missing, and four wounded, but not dangerously. We could not ascertain the rebels' entire loss. We found ten dead bodies on the field the morning after the battle.

J. M. L.

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Lorenzo Thomas (2)
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Ritchie (2)
Quig (2)
Benjamin F. Butler (2)
S. Williams (1)
Veal (1)
J. E. B. Stuart (1)
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J. J. Lane (1)
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