Burning of Osceola - Newspaper
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Osceola Burned by General Lane - New York
Times, October 1, 1861
Jefferson City, Saturday, September 28
A gentleman who arrived here this morning from the West,
states he saw a gentleman who passed through
Osceola on Wednesday last,
who says that the central portion of that town had been burned by
General Lane. It is stated the reasons for burning were that the rebels had fired
on our troops from windows. No National troops were near there when he
General Lane’s Success at Osceola - New York Times,
October 5, 1861
From the Leavenworth Conservative, September 28th.
From O.A. Bassett, Esq., who arrived yesterday from Fort
Scott, we learn that General Lane has been completely successful in his
forced march upon Osceola.
After his victor in Papinsville, already recorded, he
proceeded immediately to Osceola in St. Clair County,
Missouri, a distance
of twenty miles.
The rebel force there was dislodged, the town burned to the
ground, and the immense supply train of Rains and Price captured.
This train was between two and three miles in length,
contained all the supplies and equipage of Rains and Price, and
$100,000 in money. This is the most important success gained for the
Union cause in
Missouri, and goes far to redeem our losses at
Lexington. Lane is now on his way back, and they may soon be expected
in this vicinity.
McCulloch is still near Fort Scott, and his men swear
they are bound for Kansas.
Correspondence of the Missouri Democrat: Headquarters
Kansas Brigade - New York Times, October 14, 1861
Additional From Kansas City, October 3, 1861
That your readers may be correctly informed concerning General Lane's march upon
Osceola, I furnish you the facts in this
communication. Information was received that the rebels had left a
large amount of army stores in Osceola; that General Price had been
repulsed from before Lexington, and that in all probability, he would
be in full retreat in a few days. The object of the expedition was to
cut off the enemy’s retreat, to seize his stores, and to attend to any
other business along the route which the cause might demand. It was
also reported that the enemy had assembled in force at Papinsville,
and one or two other places along the line of our contemplated march.
The advanced column, consisting of infantry, cavalry
and artillery, left camp in the evening of September 17th,
under command of Colonel Montgomery, with the intention of surprising
the enemy at Papinsville at daybreak next morning. But, he had
vamoosed the ranch, and on our arrival but few families were left, and
these were the rankest kind of Unionists.
On we moved, nothing important occurring until we came
to the Sac River, five miles west of Osceola. Here, a Mr. Harris,
formerly a Quartermaster in the rebel army, was trying to raise a
force to prevent our crossing. General Rains had burned the fine
bridge at this point early in the season, and this is the only place
at which the stream is fordable for many miles.
Colonel Montgomery was too quick for him and the rebel
Harris became our prisoner. We reached Osceola a little after night
set in, and through a mistake of the guide, got upon the suburbs of
the town before we were aware of it. As our advance under command of
Colonel Weir were moving along upon the road a heavy fire was opened
upon it from the bushes nearby. The veterans halted and returned the
compliment. The enemy fired again by which their position was better
understood, our men then gave him a fire from successive platoons. He
fired a third line and fled, leaving 14 dead and wounded upon the
field, or rather in the bush. Whilst our men were still in position
another volley was poured into them from a log house nearby. Captain
Moonlight turned upon them his howitzer, which soon routed the rebels,
and fired the building. On our side two men were slightly wounded. No
other casualties occurred. The missiles of the enemy passed from one
to four feet over our heads. The behavior of Colonel Weir and of his
command was as cool and brave as could be desired.
Our men slept upon their arms that night and the first
object that met their eyes in the morning was the succession flag
floating over the courthouse. This, of itself, was enough to condemn
that temple of justice to destruction, but in addition, all
appearances indicted that the rebels had turned it into a
fortification to be used in the defense of treason and traitors.
Captain Moonlight’s howitzer dispatched its missile of destruction
against it, and soon the building was a heap of ruins. Slowly and
carefully our men then advanced upon the town, but the enemy had fled,
and the fighting part of the expedition was at an end. An examination
was then made of the character of the town. A large quantity of lead,
some powder, army clothing and provisions were found. All our wagons
were loaded to their utmost capacity, and the order was given to
return to camp. Colonel Weir favored sparing the rebel town, but the
counsel of Colonels Montgomery and Richey prevailed, and the business
portion thereof was committed to the flames. The reasons for its
It was traitorous
to the core – but one loyalist could be found in it.
It was a place of
general rendezvous for the enemy.
He intended to make
of it a military post during the Winter.
It was naturally a
strong position, and could be easily fortified.
if left standing
the enemy would return as soon as our army left.
could not afford to make such expeditions every few weeks.
We hoped to draw
the enemy back from the Missouri River upon us, and give the rebels
generally the benefits of the terror of our arms.
Loyal citizens along the route rejoiced at the approach
of our army. Many of them, for the first time during the last few months,
breathed freely. The rebel army and its marauding bands have been a
scourge to all that section of
Missouri. The people have been bled and
plundered till they have but little left. Mothers have seen the
clothing stripped from their children before their eyes. Quite a
number of families improved the opportunity our army afforded to leave
the State. Western Missouri has but few inhabitants left, and
thousands of acres of corn will be left in the field un-gathered. Not
a field of fail-sown wheat did I notice in our long march. It seems
that the rebellion has brought an accumulation of all the curses upon
the great State of Missouri. And the end is not yet. We have probably
seen but the beginning of sorrows. If the authors of this rebellion
could endure but a little of the suffering they have brought upon the
people, they would cry out in the language of another – "The pains of
hell have got hold of us.”
brigade was constantly in motion and successful in every undertaking.
The loss of Lexington and his summons to Kansas City has thwarted all
We are now in camp awaiting orders from General Fremont
to move down upon the army of the rebels in or near Lexington.
The Campaign In Missouri., etc. - New York Times,
November 9, 1861 (Excerpt)
From Our special Correspondent, Camp Brooks, Bolivar, Missouri, October 27, 1861
I closed my last letter to the Times at Fort Station, a
point 12 miles above this on the Overland Road and 46 miles from
Springfield. Night before last, General Sturgis, attended by a
wild-looking body of men, who, being mounted on horses, are I suppose
entitled to the name of cavalry, came over. I was immensely glad to see
the old veteran, and hence readily accepted an invitation to take a seat
in his carriage and cross over to visit his command.
Soon, we were traveling swiftly over the smooth prairies in
the luxurious vehicle of General Sturgis. A journey of eight miles brought
us to a little town named Humansville, on the road leading from Osceola to
the Overland Road. We drove up in front of a white house of Medium
respectability, when the noise of our carriage brought to the door a
gentleman of middle-age, in his stocking feet, and wrapped in a gray
"General Lane,” said General Sturgis, and in a moment
thereafter I was shaking hands heartily with General Jim Lane -- a more
noted, more feared, more hated, more talked-of man does not exist in
Missouri or any other state. In two minutes after the two Generals were in
a hot discussion -- Sturgis claiming that the government is to make itself
felt as to its foes, conciliate the wavering and reward its friends -- in
general not to steal indiscriminately. In the main, this was
agreed to by General Lane -- but with a smooth sophistry he combated the
other’s arguments, while he seemingly agreed with him, and alluded, with a
humorous twinkle in his eye and a pleasant laugh at the fun of thing, the
reminiscence of negroes stolen, houses burned, citizens robbed, and
prisoners shot, after compelled to dig their own graves. He asserted that
he had forbidden, under penalty of death, stealing on the part of his
"Yes, exactly, but didn’t your men steal $8,000 from Mrs.
Vaughn at Osceola?” queried General Sturgis, "and didn’t they take even
the clothes of old Stringer’s grandchild?”
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