Dr. Caleb Winfrey
At the beginning of the war Dr. Winfrey was a merchant andpracticing
physician at Lone Jack. George B. Webb, who had served with Doniphan in
Mexico, was a prominent citizen in the same neighborhood. Webb and
Winfrey were David and Jonathan over again. In the summer of 1862 these
two men called their mutual friends together and organized them into a
Confederate company. Dr. Winfrey was elected captain and Webb
lieutenant. In a few days the company had its baptism of fire at the battle of
Lone Jack. After the fight Dr. Winfrey was made surgeon of the Second
Regiment (Hays’), with the rank of major. Lieutenant Webb became captain
and served in this capacity until he fell mortally wounded at the battle of
Byrum’s Ford, near Westport, in 1864. As Captain Webb languished with
his death wound on the field, Dr. Winfrey took him up and cared for him for
two weeks until he died, then buried him beside his comrades. The body
was afterwards reinterred at Forest Hill Cemetery.
Dr. Caleb Winfrey was born December 8, 1823, in Surry County, North
Carolina. At the age of nineteen he came west and located near Chapel
Hill, famous for its college. Young Winfrey taught school for awhile, and
then attended the Medical Department of the St. Louis University, from
which he graduated in 1847. In June of that year he married Miss Elizabeth
Shore and settled at Lone Jack for the practice of his profession. In 1861
he had a lucrative practice, owned a large farm, and was proprietor of a
drug and general store at Lone Jack. He enlisted as a surgeon in the State
Guards, and accompanied Colonel Gideon W. Thompson to Cowskin
Prairie. At the battle of Wilson Creek his skill as a surgeon was invaluable.
He was present at the battle of Lexington. He spent a part of the winter of
1862 with his family at Lone Jack-a time full of danger and narrow escapes.
In the spring he and Webb organized Company C, which fought its first
battle at Lone Jack. At the beginning of the battle Dr. Winfrey found the
Federals entrenched in his store and in his dwelling adjoining. He led his
company against them, but was repulsed in a bloody conflict. After falling
back, he rallied his men and in a second charge dislodged the enemy and
held the buildings to the end of the fight.
After the battle of Lone Jack, Dr. Winfrey went south with Hays’ command.
He was senior surgeon of Shelby’s brigade, and was present at the battles
of Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, and Newtonia. He was at the second battle of
Springfield (January 8, 1863). He remained here after the Confederates
withdrew, in charge of the hospital until the wounded were able to travel,
when he accompanied them as prisoners of war to City Point, Virginia,
where they were exchanged.
From City Point he set out to rejoin his command, and on his way arrived at
Vicksburg just before the beginning of the siege. He saw the battles of
Champion Hill and Big Black, was in Vicksburg during the siege, and
remained there until the 0place capitulated. He met and conversed with
General Grant. The return trip across the Mississippi River was a
dangerous one, but he arrived sage at price’s army, in camp at Camden.
He was at the principal battles in the operations against Steel, and in the
autumn of 1864 came with the command on Price’s great raid.
The wounded at the battle of Westport required many surgeons and Dr.
Winfrey, at the request of General Price, remained to care for his soldiers
and dying comrades. He arrived at St. Louis on his way back to the army,
when news came that Lee had surrendered.
After the war, Dr. Winfrey enjoyed a very large practice for years at
Pleasant Hill, MO. In 1879 he moved to Kansas City, where he still lives.
Battles and Biographies of Missourians - Or The Civil War Period of Our State; W.L.
Webb; Kansas City, MO.; Hudson-Kimberly Pub. Co., 1900.