29- CHAPTER X. SCOUTS, BATTLE OF LONE JACK,
RETREAT TO ARK.


Upon arriving at home and changing my wet garments for dry ones, and in less
than three hours after my arrival, I was sent for by the Militia,(we were
stationed at Clinton, about 10 miles distance) to go and take the oath of
allegiance to the "Gamble administration" and so called federal Government,
but I declined accepting the invitation & as a matter of course had to "take to
the brush" to avoid them, else they would have taken me, and forced me to
take it or go to Alton as a prisoner, neither of which did I wish to do.

Giving out word that I had gone back to Arkansas, I had but little trouble in
avoiding them since they believed it & did not hunt for me. After having "kept
close" from May the 17th (when I arrived) until July 31st, I again was sworn
into the Confederate Service for 3 yr. or during the war. The "Gamble
administration" having issued orders for all able bodies men to enlist in the
Militia, thus caused almost all southern men who were subject to military duty
to "take the brush" and having authorized officers, scattered over the country,
they soon collected these men into companies & Regiments & enlisted them in
the Confederate Service.

Thus we became banded together into companies & scouted here & there,
sometimes to avoid the Militia & at others to try & meet them & prevent them
from doing contrary to our wishes. Thus we passed some time in companies &
squads scattered through the brush on the various streams of the country, not
daring as yet, to stay on the prairies, more than in crossing them & grazing on
their borders. After a time we occasionally banded together in larger numbers
& went where we pleased, out from the Militia posts some 8 & 10 miles, & it
might be said that the Militia held the towns and country near there while we
principally held the country out from them.

Thus we kept scouting here & there, recruiting & preparing for military
operations, mostly avoiding the militia & when we did not they avoided us, so
we got along without any serious difficulty; until our Colonel (Warner Lewis of
Cass Co.,Mo. called us together, having now partially organized 3 or 4 parts
of companies under Capt. Teague, Beddenger, Beaty , Coming together at the
farm of Abner Webster on Norris Creek, Henry County, all except Capt.
Teague & his company, we started to meet Colts. Coffee & Tracy who were
near Osceola with their forces, while Col's. Hunter, Cockerel, Hughes, Hays &
Quantrell, were scattered along the border from Carthage to Independence.

Marching hard all night, we arrived at the southern border of Osage Timber,
some little time after daylight on or near the 10th of August (1862). Here we
divided into squads to go to the farms nearby & get our breakfast, but before
we had gone far we ascertained that the enemy were also scattered around
there & our Col. immediately ordered us together again, & we moved on into
the timber where we were presently ordered to form for battle as our Col.
supposed the enemy was pursuing us, but after waiting for a time & finding
they were not coming, we again went on & in two or three miles came to the
Monigaw or Sulphur Springs, and passing these we crossed the Osage River
at Huffman's Ferry, and entering the large prairie on the south, we bore off
eastward & toward noon or after arrived at Osceola, where we stopped & fed
our horses & got a little something to eat, for we had had nothing since the
day before Learning here that Col's.

Coffee & Tracy were camped some 10 miles southward, we presently started
for their camp, where we arrived late in the evening, after a protracted ride of
40 or 45 miles with an hours rest or so at Osceola. Staying here until toward
noon the next day (the 11th I think) we set out with the aforesaid forces &
marched toward Bolivar in Polk County, with the intention of rescuing Col.
(Dixie's notes Jim or James) T. Coffee's daughter from the enemy who had
here there in prison & try to give them a "lesson" for such conduct, but we had
only gotten to Humansville, which is half way between Osceola & Bolivar, when
we learned that the enemy were coming to meet us. (Here at Humansville we
came very near capturing some of the enemy.)

Resting here long enough to prepare supper, for it was evening when we
arrived, we again an hour or so after dark set out on a retreat as it might be
called, and steering our course toward Stockton, the county seat of Cedar
County, we traveled on till midnight or after,(capturing two or three prisoners
by the way) when we stopped & lay down to rest, but scarce had the daylight
of the morning dawned upon us, before the sharp crack of firearms was heard
in our rear, & the louder peal of the enemy's cannon soon wakened those who
were yet asleep to a consciousness of their danger, and all hands springing
from their pallets commenced saddling & bridling their horses , and in a very
little time we were again retreating, having learned that the enemy had only
fired on our Picket or Rear Guard with small arms, & thrown a cannon ball or
two into our camp One or two men were slightly wounded, none killed I believe.

The squad of some 45 with whom I was connected, under acting Capt. Beaty
was now ordered to take the advance, which we did & after some time we
passed Caplinger's Mill & crossing Sac River & entered the prairie, leaving
Stockton southward, & marched on westward passing Montevall a small town
in the north west part of Cedar County, & camped or rather stopped a little
while northwestward, when we again moved on slowly all night (I believe) and
next day (the 14th) we after a hard circuitous march, we arrived late in the
evening at Rosehill in Johnson County, where we stopped & prepared some
supper.

Having slept here until the next morning (15th) we after getting some breakfast
started for Lone Jack, and after a considerable days march during which
several of us, getting behind, went into a corn field near bye & found a fine
Water-melon patch, & besides having obtained a fine dinner of a wealthy
farmer, & plenty of food for our horses, we now ate a fine mess of this
delicious "fruit" of the vine". Going on we overtook our commands just south of
Lone Jack, about 1/2 mile, & all our forces, consisting of some 125 under Col.
Lewis, and considerably large numbers under Cockerel, Coffee & Tracy,
probably in all 15 hundred or 2,500, encamped near bye.

After getting supper, & lying down to rest, we were roused up with the
intelligence that Cols. Cockerel, Coffee & Tracy were preparing for battle,
since the enemy had entered the village only a half a mile or so from us,
though our Col. did not know this, but only knew that they (our Colonels) were
preparing to attack the enemy. So he collected his men & started as he
supposed after the others (for it was quite dark), but before he had gone much
over 1/2 of a mile his advance guard came upon & accosted a portion of the
enemy thinking them our men. Upon this the enemy opened a fire upon them &
wounded a Mr. J.T. Casey very badly.

Upon this we turned fled & it being dark & our own leader traveling too rapidly,
left his men scattered behind, some of whom kept with him & others & even
he, himself, became lost. After scampering over ditch & hollow, & through
fields & brush, he at last concluded to halt and wait for daylight, & try to find
out something of our other forces. When daylight arrived, we thought we heard
guns or cannon, & although we were not over 5 miles at most, yet we could
not be certain, but mounting Our horses we went back & our Col. collected
various parties of his men as he went, & upon arriving near the town we
learned that our other forces had marched out the night before, & formed
ready to attack the enemy from the east and northeast, upon the break of day.

This we learned they had done & after a bloody contest, had succeeded in
driving the enemy from the place. If I am not mistaken Col. Cockerel & Captain
S.D. Jackman formed on the east & Cols. Coffee & Tracy on the North & east
& at the break of day the former made a bold assault upon the enemy in the
Town, but the latter from some misunderstanding did not advance, &
consequently Col. Cockerel had to retire before superior numbers & them
behind the fences houses.

Coffee & Tracy soon reinforced them & they again charged the enemy & after
an hour or two, succeeded in dislodging them, by burning the tavern in which a
large number of them had taken shelter, & at last drove them precipitately
from the field with a loss of 82 killed and 18O probably wounded, while our
loss was about 42 killed & probably 70 or 100 wounded. In this engagement,
which was probably as sanguine as any yet fought by opposing parties, the
enemy were about 1300 strong, and our forces at first under Cockerel &
Jackman were about 600, but being afterward reinforced by Coffee & Tracy
probably amounted to 1500 or more. Having led their forces up through a field
our officers gave the orders to charge, when a terrific scene ensued. Rushing
forward amid "showers of lead", they entered the place dealing death in the
form of "loads of buck shot" to many a poor fellow of the opposing ranks, &
received it in the form of minnie & musket balls themselves.

The enemy taking shelter in a large building, some of our men procured fire,
and pushing forward to its walls amid the deadly fire of the foe, they presently
set it on fire & as the enemy were forced to abandon it by the fiery flames,
they often landed the poor fellows into eternity, yet many of them were
suffering the same fate. Thus the battle raged & sad to relate, a woman was
accidentally shot dead (I believe) during the engagement, but I know not by
which party. This battle was fought on the 16th of August if I mistake not &
after it was over (Interdelineated note: "Here our forces captured 2 fine Rifle
Cannon of the best quality & Medicine) I had an opportunity of viewing the
ground around in the village. Moving up through a long lane on the south side
of town we beheld at almost every step, marks of bullets, buck, grape &
canister shot, Cannon balls ; and every now and then we would pass the
mangled & gory form of the dead, or the bloody and suffering body of the
wounded.

They were lying in the fence corners on both sides of the road & although
friends were around most of them doing all they could for them, yet they were
a pitiful spectacle to feeling man. Some were lying under a blanket, which had
been hung over them on the rails, & others in the shade of the fence only, yet it
was very hot & they must have suffered terribly. Dead horses were thickly
lying around, some propped up against the fence, as they had fallen, when
struck dead by the missiles of death, & others lying in the streets & fields. On
one porch in the village lay the pale & ghastly features of some twenty of the
dead, and only a few steps off some 25 more lay in rows, as they had been
gathered up.

Near by in one house were the bodies of 40 or 50 & in others probably equal
or greater numbers of the wounded and dying! Their groans though seldom
loud were yet touching, and their condition (though generally well cared for)
deplorable. These and others even worse are a few of the many bloody &
dreadful scenes of war, and when rightly contemplated afford a striking picture
of its hideous deeds & crimes, though it may generally assume a milder
appearance & more pleasing aspect. Though at times it may appear pleasant,
pompous and even gay, yet at such times as this it breaks forth with the fury
of a fiend & then puts on the face of terror, despair & untimely death.

After the battle was over, & late in the evening we started toward
Independence in Jackson County, & after traveling slowly for 6 or 8 miles, we
took up about midnight or after & rested until daylight, when we learned that
the enemy were marching on & surrounding us in considerable force, from
Kansas & elsewhere. It now became apparent that we must escape, or
probably be captured, & consequently we turned in a different course, &
commenced a rapid retreat, back the same road we had the night before
came, and about 10 o'clock I suppose, we again arrived at Lone Jack, and
hearing that the enemy were very near there, preparing to attack us, and we
then formed for battle around the village, but after waiting for some time, we
learned that it was a false alarm, and again moved on eastward toward
Warrensburg, and after traveling some miles on this road we turned
southeastward, and kept on, leaving the Warrensburg road, we rode on, &
toward evening, about 2 hours by sun, we held the enemy's picket or advance
scout on a large prairie through which we were passing, & leaving a force of
some 250 or 300 men to check their advance, the rest of our forces moved on.

Those of us left to keep the enemy at bay marched out on a high hill
overlooking the prairie, and the enemy also advanced to another some 5 or 6
hundred yards off, & commenced a slight skirmish or uneven fire upon us with
their sharps rifles, but done no injury. Our boys sometimes fired back at them
(those who had long range guns) & at other times remained quiet.

Thus for an hour and a half or about it, we kept them back, for we were
greatly superior in numbers to those in advance & their forces had not yet
come in eight. About one half hour by sun we left them and followed on, having
sustained no injury ourselves, & most probably not distributing any to the
enemy. We now left the read and taking across the prairie, along the trail our
forces had made, we went hurrying on, and dark setting in presently, we had
an awful time. Some in galloping over the gullies in the dark (for it was cloudy
and rainy) were thrown head long from their horses, & one man was said to
have been killed, but I know not. Certain it is that one or two whose foot hung
in their stirrup, were dragged along at a furious rate by their wild & frightened
horses.

Thus we went pell mell, helter skelter over the hills and hollows, ditches &
gulleys, & through skirts of timber, tearing our faces & loosing our hats. The
rain kept drizzling down & the night was almost "pitch dark"; and often we got
lost from our command & had to stop & listen for them & then gallop away in
the darkness to overtake them.

I was thrown from my horse as he fell in a deep gully, and my saddle girth
bursting, it was thrown also into the pathway of those behind me & upon
picking it up, I was struck by one of my comrades horses as he went plunging
along, and knocked almost a rod. My saddle flew out of my hand & fell in the
road & those behind me kept knocking it along, & the last I ever saw or heard
rather of it, it was going along the road thumping and bumping & jumping
among the horse’s feet. After they had all past, I stepped into the road &
hunted for it, but could not discover it, so I mounted my horse, which I had held
firmly by the bridle, and taking my double barrel shot Gun, which I had also
succeeded in holding, in one hand & the bridle in the other, I spurred forward
after the retreating sound of my comrades, and after a mile or two overtook
them, having lost my saddle blankets, clothes which were fastened on my
saddle.

I rode the balance of that night without saddle or saddle blanket even & next
day obtained one from one of our drivers. Passing through Holden next
morning about day, we moved on to Big Creek & there stopped a little while &
half roasted some green corn for breakfast & wrap- ping dough around sticks,
heated it & ate a little, but soon had to go on. Moving on down the border of
the state through Bates, Vernon, Jasper, Newton & McDonald County, we
were closely pursued by the enemy 6 or 8000 strong & scarcely ever stopped
to eat, rest, or sleep.

We had captured 2 very fine rifled cannon & a lot of medicine at Lone Jack
and the enemy declared they "intended to have those cannon back or chase us
into Arkansas", which latter they actually did, but they did not get the cannons
hack. We were 5 or 6 days at least on the retreat and during this time, I ate
one meal & slept one hour if I have not for- gotten, & others fared much the
same. I say I slept one hour, but toward the last we actually slept more or less
on our horses as we rode along. Some going to sleep dropped their Guns,
which generally awakened them; others starting to fall would catch at their
saddles & horses & waken. Some lying down by the road side went to sleep &
in the night were overlooked & left behind & fell into the enemy's hands or
returned home: others going to sleep on their horses, would be found by the
road side for our horses unless urged on would stop, as they were worn out &
sleepy too.

We would punch these with our guns to awaken them & they would rouse up
cursing you & threatening to shoot you, so near crazy were they. Some
actually went crazy toward the last (they afterward recovered), and would ride
along giving orders like an officer. I myself would go to sleep on my horse &
dream of seeing nice spring of water upon going to dismount to get a drink I
would wake up in the act of dismounting. This I done often.

Others acted equally as curious & even much more so, for most of the time I
spent in waking others up. Some could hardly be waked except by the
roughest means, punching with guns. The enemy followed us closely & at
times skirmished with our rear Guard. At last we arrived at Neosho (having
stopped at Carthage but were obliged to leave immediately), where we rested
& got some breakfast, about the 21st of August, 6 days after the battle & 7
without eating or sleeping almost. Having stayed at Neosho 1 day, (or part of
it), we again that evening started & traveled all night (except myself and a few
others sent on in advance. We slept in Pineville .), reaching Pineville next
morning (Aug.22) & soon entered Arkansas. Note: We stopped first at
Garrisons on Big Creek, 2nd a moment on Gd River, 3rd on Muddy I think, 4th
at Carthage, 5th this side of Neosho in the night & slept some, 6th at Neosho.

Recollections of a Volunteer a Memoir of The Civil War by Peter D. Lane;
The State Historical Society of Missouri, Digital Library

To read the entire Memoir of Peter D. Lane, visit the State Historical Society’s
website or click on the link.
Peter D. Lane
Peter D. Lane's Memoirs