CAPTURED GUNS AT LONE JACK, MO
BY JOHN S. KRITSER, TAYLOR, TEX.
I enlisted in Independence, Mo., in Capt. Upton Hays's company, which at the
time belonged to Capt. W. C. Quantrill's command and was with him in the battle
of Lone Jack, Mo. For the number engaged, that was as hard-fought a battle as
any during the war. Colonel Cockrell, of Johnson County, MO., commanded the
raw volunteers on the Confederate side, all untrained to the rattle of musketry and
the shriek of shells--all good farm boys, but Southern "until further orders" and
stayers from start to finish.
Colonel Smart, I think, was in command of the Federals. We brought on the
attack just as the first streaks of dawn showed in the calm eastern skies. This
was on the 16th of August, 1862. The Federals had two pieces of artillery, and
the first time we charged them we were driven back to a hedge fence of bois
d'arc. We were armed with muzzle-loading shotguns and old brindle-stock squirrel
rifles and scant ammunition at that. But those old shotguns, properly loaded with
buckshot, about twenty blue whistlers in each barrel, were certainly angel maker;
and when one of those old-time squirrel, deer, and turkey killers dropped on one
knee as though about to offer up supplications to the throne of divine grace, threw
his well-trained eye along the octagonal barrel of this trusty "Betsy," eye well
down in back and front sights on that old fowling piece, and put his index finger on
that old and faithful hair trigger, there was sure to be meat in the pot--in other
words, a dead Yankee near the cannon.
We charged the guns and took them again, but again had to fall back before the
deadly fire of those improved guns and six-shooters. But we again loaded our old-
timers and went at them like a biting sow, took the guns, and turned them on the
former owners and began to kill their horses to keep those that were alive from
making their everlasting escape. Only a part of them got away and went like the
devil to Lexington, Mo., in Lafayette County. We buried the dead next day and
started south. We named our captured guns the "Lone Jack" pieces, and General
Shelby kept them in our old brigade almost all the time until the close of hosilities.
Our gallant Hays was fated not to stay with us long, as he was killed at Newtonia
the day after we elected him colonel. Our regiment lost four colonels during the
war. When it was over, I went with General Shelby and others to Old Mexico.
Confederate Veteran - April, 1916