Report of Major Emory S. Foster, Seventh Missouri Cavalry (Militia).
GREENFIELD, May 1, 1863.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to an order from you
dated Jefferson City, August 12, 1862, I proceeded from Syracuse to Sedalia, to
take command of forces about to march to Lexington. Company H, Seventh
Missouri State Militia, Captain [Elias] Slocum, from Syracuse, reported at 11
o'clock p. m. on the 12th. The two companies of the Eighth Missouri State
Militia, Captains [Henry D.] Moore and Owens, and a section of the Third
Indiana Battery, Lieutenant [J. S.] Develin, marching by rail from Jefferson,
reported at 4 o'clock a. m. August 13. I marched immediately, and reached
Lexington August 14 at 11 a. m., a distance of 60 miles; men and horses very
much worn-out, having marched forty-eight hours without food or rest.
I received an order from you at 1 o'clock a. m. August 15 to march at daylight
in the direction of Lone Jack, with 800 men. At daylight I marched with a
force consisting of detachments from five companies Seventh Cavalry,
Missouri Volunteers, three companies Sixth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia,
two companies Eighth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, three companies
Second Battalion Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, and one company Seventh
Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, together with a section of the Third Indiana
Battery. In consequence of a jealousy in regard to rank no field officers were
sent with me, as you directed should be done.
I marched directly for Lone Jack. About noon I reported to Colonel Huston,
commanding at Lexington, that the enemy, 1,600 strong, were at Lone Jack,
under Coffee, and that I would fight that evening.
We surprised the camp about 9 o'clock that evening and completely routed
the enemy. Lieutenant Develin, being drunk, acted very badly, and was
arrested, and the artillery placed in charge of Sergeant [James M.] Scott.
The men then slept in line in Lone Jack. About daylight the pickets came in
and reported that the enemy were advancing, about 3,000 strong. Several
scouts had reported, and no word from Warren, who should have been in
supporting distance. Two parties were still out, leaving us about 740 men.
Knowing the instructions you had given Colonel Warren, and believing him to
be in hearing of my artillery, I awaited the enemy.
The attack was made about forty minutes after the pickets came in. The
enemy attempted to turn both my right and left, but were unable to do so by
reason of a thick hedge, which protected us on each flank and afforded some
protection to our front, our rear being protected by a small, deep stream, the
crossing of which we held. The enemy's cavalry being thrown into confusion
by the hedge and annoyed by sharpshooters placed behind it fled in confusion,
rejoining the main body, which then attacked us in front.
After a desperate fight of four hours' duration the enemy began to fall back. At
this time Lieutenant Develin came onto the field, and rushing among his men
ordered them to fall back, which they did, leaving the guns.
Seeing this, the enemy rallied and made an attempt to capture the artillery,
but were repulsed with terrible slaughter. Of 60 men led by me in this charge
only 11 reached the guns, and they were all wounded. In the act of dragging
the cannon out of the enemy's reach I was shot down.
Captain Brawner was then in command. After a severe hand-to-hand fight,
which lasted about a half hour, the enemy gave way and retreated, leaving us
the field and the guns.
At this time Coffee came in sight with about 1,500 men, having collected his
forces, which were scattered the night before. Captain Brawner fell back,
leaving the guns. About an hour after the enemy came up and took possession
of the field.
The fact that 740 men fought five hours against such odds and whipped them
is sufficient evidence of the stuff of which they were made. They need no
praise from me. Where all fought so well it is impossible to designate those
most worthy of mention. Braver men never fought.
Had your orders been obeyed the whole force of the enemy would have been
captured or terribly routed and destroyed.
Colonel Warren came up the next morning after the fight and was in sight of
the enemy all day. I was told by officers on the ground that General Blunt
came up during the day, but no engagement took place. The enemy retreated
south as soon as night came. I was told by Cockrell, who commanded the
rebels in the fight, that very were completely out of ammunition, which fact I
stated to Colonel Warren. I can give no list of casualties, as the company
commanders have not reported to me.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
EMORY S. FOSTER,
Major Seventh Cavalry, Missouri State Militia.
Official Records of the War of the Rebellion;
CHAP.XXV. ACTION AT LONE JACK, MO