Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Cyrus Leland & Charles F. Coleman Civil War.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report the part taken by myself, and what I know of the late Quantrill raid.
Then we knew about where the enemy were. As we moved along we could see the dust and fresh smoke, and could see by this which way they were moving. Along here I asked Major Plumb to give me charge of the militia (the citizens that had and would join us). He did so. near Brooklyn we made a halt of a few minutes; I suppose it was to find out where the enemy were. While here, a good many of the citizens joined us, and I formed them into companies. I assigned about 50 to a company; had enough to form three companies. Near here we had a skirmish with the enemy; this was about 11 a. m.; the cavalry doing about all of it. Just before this skirmish, general Lane joined us with about 30 men.
We could see by the enemy's trail that they had disbanded, nearly all of them leaving the direct trail. Monday we scouted the Sni Bottom. Tuesday morning I left Majors Plumb and Thacher near Blue Springs, and came into Independence with Major Ransom, with one company of cavalry. I came into Kansas City in the afternoon with 6 or 8 scouts. Through the whole of the expedition I do not know of any of our command being killed or wounded. In the chase from Brooklyn to Paola we killed 4 of Quantrill's gang. They were left where they were killed. During the chase in Missouri we killed several men, but I do not know just what number.
At 9 o'clock I started with all my available force, consisting of a detachment of Company M, Fifth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, and a part of my own company, in all about 80 men. At Aubrey I was joined by Captain Pike, Company K, Ninth Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, and Company D, Eleventh Kansas Volunteers Cavalry. My force then consisted of about 180 men. From Aubrey I sent a dispatch to Lieutenant-Colonel [C. S.] Clark, commanding at Coldwater, that at 11 o'clock I would start after them. I struck their trail 5 miles south of Aubrey, followed it some 3 miles, when we lost it, they having scattered and divided their force to prevent pursuit int the night (in again finding it, I lost near two hours).
At Gardner I learned that they passed through six hours before. From Gardner I sent runners south and west to notify the inhabitants that Quantrill had gone north with a large force. I soon could see the smoke from the burning of Lawrence, and pressed on as fast as our jaded horses would their. When about 6 miles south of Lawrence, I was relieved from command by the arrival of Major [P. B.] Plumb, Eleventh Kansas Volunteer Cavalry, with about 30 men. From there we turned south for Baldwin City, and, when neat there, saw them burning Brooklyn.
We halted there a short time to hear from our scouts which way they were moving, who reported that they were on the Fort Scott road, moving south. From Baldwin City we struck southwest, and intercepted them on the Fort Scott road, and engaged their rear with what men we could bet up, we having made a charge for the last 3 miles, and the most of our horses being totally given out, having traveled them upward of 30 miles without feed, water, or rest. After a few rounds their rear gave way and joined their main command. We then divided our command and attempted to cut them off from the crossing of Ottawa Creek, but failed on account of the jaded condition of our horses.
We then got together about 40 soldiers and the same number of citizens (all the rest of the horses having given out), and again attacked them in the rear, and kept up a running fight for the next 18 miles, and till we drove them into the Bull Creek timber west of Paola. Night coming on, we abandoned the chase, having been in our saddles twenty-four hours without food or water for man or horse, and having traveled over 100 miles. The enemy here took around Paola on the north. From the best information received during the day, we killed and wounded about 30 of them. We rested at Paola during the night, and in the morning Lieutenant-Colonel Clark took command and resumed the chase.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,