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Doc. 178.-fight at Independence, Mo.

Lieutenant-Colonel Buell's report.

St. Louis, Mo., August 17, 1862.
Lieutenant: I have the honor to report that the military post of Independence, Mo., was attacked on the morning of August eleventh, at daybreak, by the rebel forces under command of Col. J. H. Hughes, numbering from seven hundred to eight hundred men. These forces entered the town at two points, namely, by the Big Spring road and the Harrisonville road. The party entering by the Big Spring road divided into two parties, one of which attacked the provost-guard, of twenty-four men, stationed at the jail; the other attacked the bank building, which was occupied as headquarters, also the armory of the volunteer militia, situated on the opposite side of the street, guarded by a detachment of twenty-one men, sixteen of this number being volunteer militia.

The main body, entering by the Harrisonville road, proceeded along the two streets leading to the camp, which was situated nearly eighty rods west from the bank building, attacking the camp on the east and north sides, and thus cutting me off from all communication with the camp. The first attack was made on that part of the camp held by the company of Captain Thomas, second battalion Missouri State militia. This company, not being able to maintain its ground, being hard pressed, fell back to the cover of a stone wall running parallel with the south side of the camp. The remaining companies, which were posted to the right and rear of this company, fell back to the same position, where, being enfiladed by a destructive flank-fire, they retired along the stone wall, thus avoiding a galling fire from the enemy posted in a corn-field. At this critical moment Lieut. Hetherington, of the second battalion Missouri State militia, was detached with sixty-five men to open, if possible, a communication with headquarters. Advancing northward, he was attacked by a superior force, which compelled him to seek the cover of a brick house, which he defended in a most gallant manner, until he was apprised that further defence was useless, when he withdrew his command to Kansas City.

The number killed, and who have since died of their wounds, amount to twenty-six. The wounded number thirty, comprising First Lieut. Vance and Second Lieut. Pence, both of the Seventh Missouri volunteer cavalry, who conducted themselves in a gallant manner. Second Lieut. Young and Second Lieut. Swan also behaved gallantly. The loss of the enemy could not be ascertained, as early in the action they commenced carrying off their dead into the country.

From authentic sources, I learn that Colonel Hughes, Captain Clark, and the notorious Kit Childs, and a number of others were buried at Independence. Among the wounded of the enemy were Col. Thompson, Lieut.-Col. Boyd, and, fatally, Major Hart, etc.

J. T. Buell, Lieut.-Col. Seventh Missouri Volunteer Cavalry. To Lieut. J. L. Chandler, Adjutant Sub. District, Lexington, Mo.

The “Border State” narrative.

An extra of The Border State, dated Independence, Mo., August twelfth, contains the following details of the capture of the military post at that place:

Just before daylight on Monday morning the eleventh inst., our people were aroused by a volley of musketry from the vicinity of the Federal encampment, followed by rapid firing from the Colonel's residence and headquarters, and from the direction of the jail, where a strong guard is always posted.

It seems that the recent military orders, followed as they were by stringent though necessary steps on the part of the local military authorities, have greatly excited and exasperated the people of this county, and for a week past men have been flocking to the standard of Hays and Quantrel. During the past week their force has been augmented by recruits from other counties, and some days since they were joined by Gen. Hughes, Colonel Boyd, Col. Thompson and other confederate officers, by whom they were sworn into the confederate service. Needing additional arms and ammunition, they determined to attack the post at Independence, which was weak in point of force. The Federal forces here did not number over four hundred and fifty, all told, including sick and wounded.

The enemy entered the town by two roads. On one of these roads the Federal pickets either concealed themselves or retreated without giving the necessary alarm; on the other the pickets were killed. The confederates were in town and in almost every part of it before there was any notice of their approach. They divided their forces, a portion surrounding the Colonel's Headquarters, and thus cutting him off from communication with his men, another portion drew up in front of the jail, while the larger. portion took possession of gardens, orchards, corn-fields and buildings commanding the camp. The Federals, though thus surprised and taken at disadvantage, fought with daring courage.

Col. Buell gathered his little force together, and to every volley poured into him from the adjacent houses and streets, he sent back an answer of the same kind. He directed Orderly Haskell to hoist [577] the Stars and Stripes upon the roof of the house to show his men at camp that he was holding out to the last. In doing this the gallant young man was shot, and died a few hours after. He sent up another man, who succeeded in elevating the flag and concealing himself. About this time a white flag was displayed from the camp, then withdrawn, displayed again, and again withdrawn. The firing had ceased in the direction of the jail and the provost s office.

Captain Breckinridge was in command of the camp, being senior captain. At the beginning of the fight he detailed a squad of fifteen or twenty men to proceed to the intersection of the streets in front of Mr. U. Turner's, and prevent access from that quarter. The men did not stop in front of Mr. Turner's, but pushed on from point to point, taking shelter wherever they could, and firing wherever they saw a foe, until they at last took shelter in the large brick house of Mr. William McCoy. From here they kept up a brisk fire upon such confederates as strayed that way, but finally made good their escape to parts unknown.

During this time the camp was evacuated, the soldiers being pressed back into Woodson's pasture, and had formed back of the rock fence. In this retreat the losses on both sides were pretty serious — here General Hughes fell, while leading his men to a desperate charge. By this time the Colonel's headquarters were surrounded on all sides, the building completely riddled with balls, every pane of glass demolished, the walls and floors covered with bullets — and an adjoining building set on fire in order to communicate flames to the house.

Looking toward the camp, the Colonel saw it evacuated — from other points where resistance to the enemy might have been expected, no sound of musketry was heard — and as the only alternative to save the lives of his men and the property of the citizens, he consented to hang out a white flag and surrender the post. So soon as this was done the confederates ceased firing, messengers under flags of truce were sent to and fro, and the post surrendered.

The surrender was to the Southern Confederacy--not to bushwhackers — and the prisoners were most kindly treated as prisoners of war and paroled.

In the hour of victory a moderation and magnanimity were exercised that was far from what was expected. No private house entered, no private property taken, except wagons for transportation, and no Union family molested.

The confederates returned to their camp in the country, taking with them all the arms, munitions of war, cavalry-horses, etc. Camp equipage, and such articles as were not needed, were piled up and burned. Many horses were killed during the engagement, and others so crippled that they had to be shot to put them out of their misery.

At last accounts from the confederate encampment they had been reinforced, and now number some twelve hundred.

At present we have no promise of any new Federal force immediately. News from points leads us to believe there has been a simultaneous uprising of rebeldom throughout the State.

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