Monday, August 22, 2016

Diary of Luman Harris Tenney: Sunday, August 17, 1862

Breakfasted and under way at 5 A. M. Passed through Rose Hill, a very pretty little town. Hugh Watson and I went ahead and got apples, watermelons, plums and wild grapes. Had a good time. Passed through “Index,” another little town. Major rode with us in the wagon all day, good time. Reached “Lone Jack,” where the enemy were, at sundown an hour before. A man came up and reported 1500 enemy in our rear. Major Purington with rear guard, watched them and kept near them. Fired a good deal and tried to detain them. Proved to be the enemy retreating the way we had come. Major sent word for reinforcements. Some went but did not follow fast enough till dark set in. Commenced to rain. Command moved. Baggage soon could not go, it was so dark. So the enemy escaped us, so slickly through the gap. General Salomon had advised and entreated Blunt to keep flankers and scouts out through the woods near “Lone Jack.” They had intelligence from Warren that they were surely there, and we were passing within a mile. The ground was favorable for their retreat from the town — unseen. They kept a large picket about town and thus fooled our men. Warren could not believe that they had gone. So they left us, as a mouse from a trap. All the officers were enraged and disgusted with Blunt's mistake, still hoped to overtake them. I went out a mile and got an old mare to ride. The history of the fight of the day previous was as follows: The day before, Quantrell, with 1200 men burned Independence and then skedaddled; Capt. Burns from Kansas City, with two companies of cavalry, four of infantry and two pieces of artillery, followed; at night overtook them and shelled their camp. They ran. The next morning Quantrell met Coffee and turned back. Lay in the brush and waited for them, coming through a lane. When the Feds came along they rose up and poured volley after volley into them. They hurried back to the village and there fought desperately. Finally overpowered, spiked one of the guns, destroyed the ammunition and ran. Warren, who had followed Coffee from Butler, watched them here that and the next day, till we came up confident that they would stand a fight. About 60 killed and many wounded on each side. Rebels burned ten of our wounded men in a house used as a hospital.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 26

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