Battle of Lone Jack

KIDDER, Mo. Sept. 23.- [Editor Republican.]-- In the REPUBLICAN'S
weekly issue of the 3d inst., under the caption of "Tales of the War,"
appeared an account of the battle of Lone Jack, from the pen of Gen. S.D.
Jackman, in
which statements so entirely foreign to the facts are made that in justice to
the memory of the brave and patriotic men who fell upon that bloody field,
some of whom I had the honor of commanding, I cannot allow them to pass
unchallenged.

I shall not, however, attempt to give a detailed account of the desperate
struggle, as that must be left to abler pens than mine. Neither shall I imitate
the brave Gen. Jackman in his "tale" of the engagement in which several of
his associate officers are made to appear as a precious lot of
cowardly incompetents; "tales," which if true, should have been left to the
impartial pen of the historian, for certainly the uncharitable attack at this
time by Gen. Jackman seems in very bad taste to say the least.

The object I have in view in asking the publication in the REPUBLICAN of
this statement will be entirely served by a positive and emphatic denial of
two statements mad in Gen. Jackman's "Tales," one of which is as follows:

[lengthy portion of Jackman's account follows, RE: the Hotel's role in the
battle]

The Hotel referred to was used as a hospital by the Union troops, and on it
was displayed the hospital flag. The building was crowded with the wounded
and the dying. I [,that had led the advance into Lone Jack with Co. B,
Sixth regiment, S.M.M.,] being one of the number in the building, having
during the engagement in the morning received a musket wound through my
right shoulder. The hotel was converted into a hospital after the close of the
night's attack, and beyond the surgeons and their assistants there was not a
well man in it. And I state what I know to be fact, that not a single shot was
fired from any part of that hospital. And I further state it as a fact
Dr. Cundiff, now residing at Pleasant Hill, Cass county, when he saw the
confederate design to burn the hospital, rushed out and rallied a few Union
troops, with which he held the enemy in check until the wounded were taken
out of the building. There was one confederate soldier in the building so
badly wounded that he failed to get out and perished in the flames. That
Union troops fired from other buildings than the hospital- the hotel
mentioned- is true, but when Gen. Jackman states that a shot or shots were
fired from that hotel hospital he is wrong, and what he is pleased to term a
brave and daring act will yet find its place in history as an instance of
barbarism incident to civil wars.

The next statement mad by Gen. Jackman, which I desire to call attention
to, is as follows: "As to the relative strength of the two armies, I presume
there was not much difference. Perhaps the federals were a little the
stronger. Taking the confederates as a whole, they were greatly in excess,
but at least one third, and perhaps half were unarmed recruits."  The general
then proceeds to give the number of confederates in each division, at the
lowest number, making 1,500, when in fact Gen. Jackman knows just
as well as he knows that the battle of Lone Jack was fought, that there were
over 2,500 confederates there, while the Union troops, under Maj. Foster,
numbered about 650 all told.

In one part of his tales the general says there were but 400 confederates
there, while here is the list of officers he names: Col. Cockrell, Col. Tracy,
Col. Coffee, Col. Hays, Col. Hunter, Col. Hancock, Col. Thompson, Col.
Bonhannon and "I" Col. Jackman, making nine colonels, then there were
Capts. Shelby, Lewis, Stemmon, Allison, Watson, Lowe, Frazier, Bryant,
Osborn, and others. Such is the array of numbers given by the
confederates while Maj. Foster commanded the 650 men of the Union
force which succeeded in driving the confederates from the town and
shelling them out of sight. After the retreat of the confederates, our artillery
horses being all killed and our provisions exhausted, we retraced our steps
to Lexington, leaving our artillery on the way.

William Plumb
Late Captain Co. B
Sixth S.M. Cavalry


Missouri Republican, St. Louis, Missouri, September 26, 1885