Military Affairs: [From Goodspeed 1889]
The Civil War in this county may be said to have opened in the fall of 1860, when political excitement rose to the highest pitch. Val. Sutton was called upon by a company of the old State Guard, in 1860, who requested him to give his team for the purpose of hauling in the trees out of which the anti-Lincoln pole was to be made. Sutton refused emphatically. Afterward, when the election was held, this same Sutton rode round the outskirts of the crowd hurrahing for Lincoln. After the affair at Carthage, the Confederates stole sixteen horses from him. Two men arrived later to take the seventeenth, but Sutton, taking a stanchion beam, disabled one, and the other ran away. The wounded man was taken to the hospital, where Federal detectives found him, and knowing him to be a desperate character, took him out and hanged him.
Beginning Engagements - The beginnings of regular warfare were made in December, 1861, when Capt. Woods made his scout from Rolla to Houston. Woods pursued the enemy south of Houston, killed one captain and made prisoner a rebel major, while 100 of Price's men were captured, but released on parole, owing to the inability of the command to bring them in.
Major W. C. Drake, in his report of March 4, 1862, states that on February 17, 1862, 120 of his command were attached to Lieut. Col. Woods' battalion to scout through Texas, Dent, Shannon and Howell Counties. At West Plains, in Howell County, they captured some men of Col. Coleman's guerilla command after a sharp fight; but their entrance into Houston was unobstructed. At the latter town they captured a quantity of provisions, arms and ammunition.
The Fifth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, under Col. A. Sigel, was identified during the war with Southern Missouri. Companies A, B, C and F, were the first to occupy Waynesville, and for a time were engaged in the protection of Wright, Webster, Texas and adjoining counties. Skirmishes with Confederate recruiting parties, with guerrillas or bushwhackers, were of daily occurrence. One on the Little Piney, near Licking, resulted in the dispersion of a band of guerrillas, the killing of some and the wounding of others. Their camp and equipage were captured June 7, 1862.
In the report of Gen. F. H. Warren, dated Hartville, November 26, 1862, he gives Gen. Curtis the following information: "Burbridge, Mitchell and Greene are on the north fork of White River, with 3,000 cavalry and infantry and two guns. They are thirty-five miles from this point. I can take care of myself at Hartville and Houston, but cannot follow them; they are all after trains; saved twenty-two wagons, losing only twenty-five. Col. Pile's arrival at Houston barely saved it from capture." Gen. Curtis in his report acknowledges that Warren lost five men, and states that he sent cavalry in pursuit of the Confederate force.
In February, 1863, Marmaduke threatened Houston. Lieut. Col. Eppstein, of the Fifth Cavalry, Missouri State Militia, was sent forward with four companies to intercept him southeast of the town, but, on arriving at the point named, could not learn anything of the Confederate general's movements. In January, 1863, this regiment was sent forward to defend Hartville, but arrived the day after the battle, so that a chance to meet the Marmaduke legions was denied this Eppstein.
In August, 1863, a man named Hackworth and one Johnson, Union men, went into Casto Valley to collect the former's cattle, when five Confederates captured them. Capt. Murphy sent a scout to their rescue. At Jack's Fork they killed two rebels and captured one horse. The scout informed the people along the route that they would be held responsible for the safety of the Union men, and a number of residents went out to secure their release.
The skirmishes between Houston and Spring River Mills were reported August 16, 1863, by Capt. Murphy. On the 7th his command killed two of a band of rebels fifteen miles south of Hutton Valley. On the 8th three of a band of thirty were killed twenty-three miles southwest of West Plains; five Confederates were captured at Gouge's Mill, which was burned. At Spring River Mills eighteen rebels and a horse belonging to Nick Yates were killed, and the mill burned. After a six days' hunt Capt. Murphy returned to Houston with some prisoners.
Capt. Richard Murphy, commandant at Houston in September, 1863, dispatched Capt. S. B. Richardson and twenty men in pursuit of six guerrillas, at midnight, on September 11; they followed the guerrillas for fifty-seven miles, and next day found four of them sleeping in the woods. On the approach of the cavalry they woke up and fled, but William Lingo, of Waynesville; Lieut. Obe. Moss, of Pulaski County, and Jacob Bottom were killed instantly, while Oscar D. Blount, of St. Louis, was wounded and made prisoner. They had eleven horses and a quantity of goods. The wounded prisoner informed his captors that Lingo had thirteen horses at John King's house, near the State line, and Lee Tilly, of Waynesville, a number of horses and other property near that town.
Capt. Murphy sent out a scout of seven men from Houston November 23, 1863, to recapture two of his men who were taken by Confederates, but the sergeant was unsuccessful. On the 24th two more of his men were captured, four miles from the town, and two scouts, one under Lieut. W. C. Banks and one under Sergt. McDower, were sent to rescue them. Twenty miles north the sergeant's party came upon three bush-whackers at Blankenship's house. Two escaped, but Calvin Blankenship, not having time to mount, was wounded, yet secreted himself in the bush, and killed Rennison, one of the scouts. A volley was poured in on him, and twelve bullets entered his body. It appears a dance was held at S. M. Williams' house, and the soldiers going thither were disarmed by two Confederates, one of whom was William Coats, stripped of arms and clothes, and sent home. The second pair were captured while returning from Ozark Church.
In December, 1863, a scout went out after the robbers in the vicinity of Mountain Store, and returning killed the notorious guerrilla, Clark, at Jack's Fork.
In November, 1864, Squadron F, of the Fifth Missouri State Militia Cavalry, was stationed at Little Piney. Texas gave 154 men to the Union army prior to December 19, 1864, or forty-one over quota, so that under the call of that date there was no draft here. Samuel Coday was commissioned enrolling officer, with rank of first lieutenant July 10, 1865, for the counties of Wright and Texas. The commission was issued on advice of district commander, under Section 3 of the militia ordinance of the constitutional convention, dated April 8, 1865.
Debbie Linton and Penny Harrell
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