Mitch Newell, crpl, 5th, hunting quantrill raiders

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Mitch Newell, crpl, 5th, hunting quantrill raiders - W lit ON THE BORDER. I ever, or APii n in sdme...
W lit ON THE BORDER. I ever, or APii n in sdme of his subordinates C&Ieman explained the object of his night march to be the capture of a number of Shawnee raiders, who were reported to be sleeping in their houses at night. "The person who brought In the report will act as our guide. He claims to be a Southern sympathizer, and that they tried to kill him, as they have had a 'fall out' anionic themselves." Some of the boys were fearful that it was a trap, and that we would be led into an ambush by the guide. Coleman was always suspicious enough to make provision for emergencies, and as we rode rapidly across the country he particularly instructed a couple of the boys to shoot the guide at the first intimation of treachery. It was near daylight when the command halted in the woods and dismounted. A detail on foot, led by the gnide, was notice to all that we had reached our objective point. Gradually the rays of light penetrated our lejify canopy, revealing to those who had remained in hiding the features of six Lawrence raiders. A new guard, after receiving special and private instructions, took qharge of the prisoners. The new corporal, as he listened to the instructions of the corporal he relieved, gave the prisoners no warning that he would, as he did, pronounce their doom, by the hastily delivered orders to his guard : k Ready ! aim ! tire ! " A crash of carbines broke the previous stillness of our surroundings, bringing down a shower of autumn's golden-colored leaves on the lifeless forms of six of Quantrell's men. While the smoke was yet circling among the trees, like a funeral pall over the dead, we rode away, across what was known during the war as the "God-forsaken country." It was no unusual occurrence for t roops unused to the ways of the bushwhackers, after scouting several days aud seeing none of them, to come to the conclusion that there werenft any, from the fact that none had materialized. Had they interviewed Coleman s old scouts for an explanation of the matter they would undoubtedly have learned that the bushwhackers' tactics consisted principally in hiding, and if they expected to make a success of hunting them it woulij be best-to adopt Coleman's plan of hiding in the woods with them, and "still hunt," as it is practiced for deer, and" not as they had done, ride oyer the high prairies by daylight with guidon fluttering in th.e wind, and an occasional bugle note that gave warning to the knights of bush to hide out, as their forte was to k411 soldiers without fighting them, when it could: be avoided. i Had those "unsuccessful hunters for bushwhackers, while passing throtlgh any Considerable body of timber, rapidly counter- marched, with flankers thrown out, they undoubtedly would have found, (as Coleman often harf,) some of the enemy following in the rear, to keep track of the command and kill any stragglers. Had they also examined any of those innocent-looking washings hanging out near some of the houses as they passed, they probably would have wondered why clothing that had already been starched and ironed, was again hung out, like a late washing, to dry. And, perhaps, while some of the soldiers were chasing the chickens around the premises through the weeds, in antici pation of a change of diet, the lady of the house, with sleeves tucked up, would be busy changing the red and white articles on her clothes line, thereby signaling to some distant point in the timber to a hiding bushwhacker that the "feds." were on the war path, their number, and any other informa tion agreed to be reported by their sig nal service. As the bushwhackers were careful to select their camping places in the thick est of the thickets, they would often remain quie ly in camp undiscovered by the soldiers that were scouting in their immediate vicinity. As that was par ticularly their policy for weeks prior to itLtttv riil on Lawrence, old soldiers Vlll l will understand how difficult it was to guard against their occasional midnight raids on Kansaswf, On the strength of fresh tracks mad by three horses, we discovered one of their hidden camps on Dry creek. By a night's march across the open country we reached the vicinity of their without aware ef it, bow ing: .. discovered bv. them . Cautiously we advanced tfcroug the.' tinsDer-ana tindergiowtn. tupt. jjLoie-luati ott foot in .nidu wftha few f the boys, including the writer,"'"' while our horses were led in the rear. Of our little squad Of ' eight or ten I can recall the names of Sergeant Martin, Corp. Newell, Thornhill and Wolf, of Co. M., oth K mp is. Sergeant Ditmars and others of the 9th. I wish 1 could now remember the names of the rest of the ten who cleaned out one of Quantrell's camps of Lawrence raiders in less time than it takes me to relate it. , We had been following an old road for some distance, which had been near-lv obliterated by encroaching vegetation owing-to lack of travel. The discovery of the horse tracks caused our squad to halt, and Coleman raised his hand as a signal to the mounted bovs in the rear to stop, and remain quiet. By closely examining the tracks we found that they were not onlv made by crossing the road to the left, but that the horses had been shod with but three nails on a side six in each shoe. Cau tiously following the fresh trail that we were satisfied had been made by three bushwhackers, we approached the creek near a pool of water that was' riled, and numerous fresh horse tracks, indicated that the enemy had watered their horses there that morning, and quite recently too, as the sand and gravel near the water was still wet. Creeping through the bushes, following the lead of Coleman, we had gone but a few rods fr jm the water when a low "sb-h-h" by one of the boys caused a sudden halt. We soon found the cause of the warning to be his discovery of a gray horse tied to a tree a short distance ahead of us. ft Camp," whispered Coleman, "lay low, and I'll bring up the rest of the boys and surround them." Curiosity prompted us to crawl a lit tle nearer the camp, and from among the bushes where we could see them and hear them talk, we anxiously awaited developments. Two of the ene- 111 1 1 my, who were saddling; tneir norses, caused us some uneasiness for fear they would attempt to leave camp in our di rection, and, by discovering us, spring the trap prematurely that Coleman was setting for them, and perhaps catch us in a tight place. Their cooks were busy at the fire, and a wrestling match appeared to be drawing the attention of many of the 'whackers. , We had remained hidden spectators of the scene but a few moments wlien one. of the 'whackers mounted his l O il O ' O horse, called to h?s partner Bill to "hurry up," and with an oath to the cooks to have dinner ready when they re-tifrned, rode directly tbward us! If he got any dinner that day it certainly was in another world. lis discovering us made it necessary for us to a; t prom ply and take advantage of their surprise, or fall back on our support. Regardless of the fearful odds of ten to one against us, we rushed in on them firing as rapidly as possible and yelling our best. 'Had Gen. Grant's whole army been after them I don't think they could have run any faster. Our comrades came up on the double quick. The dead bushwhackers and the sixtj-head of captured horses, with all their camp equipage, was evidence to them that we had had a little scrimmage. Breaking their abandoned guns, and piling their saddles, blankets and other plunder on their fare, we ode away toward the border, leading our captured stock, and feeling very well pleased with the results of that day's hunt. Coleman hurried the destruction of the camp, and our departure as much as possible, probably on account of another camp of the enemy supposed to be in that neighborhood, and knowing that in case of an attack our captured stock would be very much in our way. He may also have taken into consideration the desire of the average Kansas soldier of the border to quit soldiering, and turn speculator while he had contraband stock in. his possession. I don't know that they ought to be blamed much for following the example of their superiors, the regimental quartermasters. The Kansas militia on the last Price raid appeared, in many instanees. to be affected in the same manner, for as soon as smie of them commenced playing soldier and captured a rundown horse or crippled mule, they wanted to go home. As I have just stumbled on the last Price raid, I will now return to his first raid of September, '61, and claim the honor for Sergeant Shairn and the writer, of having fired the first guns of the war st Confederate regular soldi era on soil. At that time we-wert members of the 3d Kas.. and on thafc pleasant' Sop'ay4 afternoon, at Ft. Scott, while Sien.J SLin'S soldiers were helping t he in ves to eighty head of Uncle Sam's mules, ind Qui. Montgomery was. preaching ti his pickets ' that 'were allowed to leave their posts for that purpose. Shairn, in company with the writer, opened tire "on a company of advancing rebs, and then retreated in reasonably good order. But we had at least made them mad at usf for they shbuled, " shoot the blue captain s of a b . ? They made that request at the hands of a couple of amounted men, just then passing us, s'upposing them to be brother rebs.' They were right as to one, but the other was oue-f our mule skinners, and a prisoner whose piteous appeal to save h?m "for Gods sake," we didn't ignore, but had the satitfac-tion of knowing he appreciated our efforts in his behalf, by seeing him, tho' dismounted, outrun our houses in the direction of Ft. Scott. Delaying to aid the prisoner, allowed the company of rebs wie had been shooting at to gain on us. and. their lead was singing too close to Re agreeable, when a recon-noitering detachment of the 6th Kas., mistaking all' five of us for rebs, open-ad fire on us in. front. As there is some talk now-a-days, of allowing pensions on account of nervous shocks, I belieye I will go on record right now of having been on or about that time, one of the most nervous boys in the U. S. army. But hold on: I imagine some of ny readers are about to say " Where do you get your fifth man ? " The explanation is, he was not a man, but quite a small Ft. Scott boy, who p're-sisted, in spite of our remonstrance, in riding his pony out with us on our re-connoitering expedition. Should he live te be an older man than the writer, the probablities are that he will never forget the Sunday he rode w ith the two sergeants on the hill east of Ft. Scott. We were beginning to think we would have to surrender to the enemy in order to escape death at the hands of our friend, when Capt. Jim Williams, with his company of of the 3d Kas., appeared on the scene, and by his uumilitary but oft used order of give 'em li 1 boys, saved our bacon, as the previous pursuers immediately became the pursued. .' . g r ' d But they had accomplished the object of their demonstration, and that was to get away with our mule herd, as night closing in prevented ahyx tended, pursuit. Now, I have tried to give a truthful version of the first experience in the tug of war between Kansas and confed erate soldiers on Kansas sdi). And it may interest some to' know that the first shot was fired from a Sharp's rifle (that dreaded weapon of '56) in he hands qf a free, state boy of that troublesome period, and u ex- Leconiptou andV Tecumefeh prisoner On the following da3T the battle, known in history us Dry -Wood, was fought. ' If my memory serves me right, it was on Sept. 2, '61, that three companies of the lhird in company with some of the Fourth and Sixth Kansas, under "Colonels Montgomery and Johnson,' rode across the Drv-Wood creek in Missouri, and pitched into Rains' division of Price's army, which was on its march for Lexington. History says the Kansas men preserved a bold front, and I will vouch for that statement, up to the time we changed front, and then the bold part was in the direction of Fort Scott. But we were at least two or three hours in finding out that it was really necessary for our health to change front. Our retreat was somewhat hasty at the start, to avoid being surrounded by the enemy's infantry, and as they charged over tee position we had held so long against such fearful odds, a squadron of the Third covering the retreat, heard for the first time the rebel yell. The casualities were not numerous on either side at Dry-Wood, although considerable powder was burned on that occasion. War was a new business to many of us, and we had not yet learned how to make it efiective, by wholesale killing. And the remembrance even now of how wild eyed some of our boys looked when the enemy opened on us with a seven-gun battery, and shot and shells whistled thro' space, and over our heads several hun- I .a ... area yards, rather amuses us at this late day. (to bb continued-) . to Wild Bush Extract never fails to cure Sv phi lis in all its stages, Scrofula, and all other diseases of the blood. Price $1.00 per bottle, six for $6, twelve bottles for $10. Address Di. J. H. a as called governor he of be a-rand in in to nis

Clipped from
  1. The American Nonconformist and Kansas Industrial Liberator,
  2. 11 Apr 1889, Thu,
  3. Page 2

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  • Mitch Newell, crpl, 5th, hunting quantrill raiders

    EALeech – 08 Aug 2018

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