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Price's Missouri Expedition: Col. George W. Veale's Official Report

Posted by The Muse (themuse) on Jul 22 2018
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George W. VealeAugust 29-December 2, 1864.—Price's Missouri Expedition

Report of Colonel George W. Veale, Second Kansas State Militia, of the Battle of Big Blue, Missouri, October 22, 1864.

Headquarters, Second Regiment, Kansas State Militia, Topeka, October 30, 1864.

To: Edward P. Kellam, Adjutant.

     Major-General George [W.] Deitzler, Commanding Kansas State Militia.

Sir: On the morning of October 21, I received orders from General [Melville S.] Grant to move with my command to the crossing of the Blue on the Kansas City and Hickman Mills Road, about four miles from the Kansas state line, which order I complied with, camping on the Blue that night.

The next morning, October 22, at sunrise, I received an order from General Grant informing me that he could not reach me very early in the day with the remainder of his command on account of a necessary delay in issuing arms, and directing me to fall back and join the forces at Byram’s Ford. I accordingly withdrew from the crossing to the Prairie, where I left Lieutenant-Colonel [H. M.] Greene in command, and took twelve men and went down through the timber to Byram’s Ford. I went myself because I knew the country well. I found Colonel [Charles R.] Jennison with his regiment, the Fifteenth Volunteers, and also the Jefferson County regiment, Kansas State Militia, and several pieces of artillery. This was about three miles from where I left my command.

I went back immediately to move my command down, but on my arrival I found General Grant with his other forces had come up. I told him what I knew of the country and where our troops were. He said we should remain there for the present.

Very soon a messenger arrived from General [Samuel Ryan] Curtis with a dispatch stating that the enemy was moving in strong columns up the Blue and directing him (General Grant) to send scouts to Hickman Mills to see if the enemy was moving south, on the Hickman Mills Road, and report every thirty minutes.

I was asked by General Grant to take the battalion of my own regiment, the Second, and make the reconnaissance. I moved off immediately and met some troops coming from there as I went over, but saw nothing of the enemy.

About one mile south of the Blue, at a point where I could overlook the whole country, I ordered a halt and fed my horses. In a very few minutes the General and his staff rode up. Here we were joined immediately by Colonel [Sandy] Lowe, of our brigade, and then by Major [John M.] Laing, of the Fifteenth Volunteers with four companies.

A few moments were spent in consultation with Colonel Lowe, and Major Laing moved south and east on the road to look for the enemy. General Grant directed me to move back to the north side of the Blue, which I did, the General and staff riding in advance.

Soon after crossing the stream we met a messenger who told us that fighting was going on up in the Prairie. The General pushed forward rapidly for about a mile to where he found my artillery, in the lane, unsupported, with the enemy in its front. The battalion of the Third Regiment, Douglas County, under command of Captain Hindman, had fled. The Wyandotte County Battalion and the Battalion of the Thirteenth Kansas State Militia, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel [Alexander S.] Johnson, had been driven from the field.

General Grant ordered me to form a line of battle, which I did, and as soon as this was done commenced the fight. Captain [Ross] Burnes opened on the enemy at the same time with the battery and after obtaining the proper range, did fearful execution—opening the enemy’s ranks and hurling them back from their horses in great numbers.

Captain Burnes is deserving of special praise for coolness and gallantry, standing as he did by his gun until taken prisoner himself and every man in his command either wounded, killed, or taken prisoner.

Our first line broke when fired on and, some of the men fled in confusion, but with the aid of my brave and gallant officers it was soon restored and maintained its ground with stubborn and unfaltering courage.

We fought [Sidney D.] Jackman’s Brigade of [Joseph Orville] Shelby’s Division—many times our numbers—for three-quarters of an hour, actually driving at one time his whole center in confusion from our front. But it was soon doubly strengthened and charged upon us in double column flanking us at the same time both on the right and on the left, forcing us back in disorder to the south side of the Blue, where we found Colonel Lowe and Major Laing, with their commands, who should have supported us in the fight, as should also the commands of Johnson, Guilford and Hindman. Had they done so the result would have been different. As it was, my command was sacrificed; being ordered to fight six times my numbers of Price’s veterans and bushwhackers, with raw militia.

It is not for me to say upon whom rests the responsibility of scattering our forces in such a matter as to preclude the possibility of concert or unity of action. I can only say that I acted under orders and by doing so lost twenty-four brave Kansans killed, about the same number wounded, and sixty-eight taken prisoner, among them four officers; also one 24-pounder brass howitzer, and 100 horses.

The enemy’s loss in killed and wounded in this engagement was very heavy, as our prisoners, passing over a portion of the field a few minutes after the battle, encountered forty-three dead Rebels.

While my loss is very severe I have to thank God that the bold stand taken by my brave men gave the enemy an afternoon job which detained them from marching into Kansas, and the next morning they were confronted by an Army that neither yielded them ground nor spared their ammunition, but put them on a hasty retreat southward, and thus Kansas was saved.

On the morning of October 24 we gathered together our dead, our wounded already having already been cared for, and took them to Kansas City, where we obtained coffins for them, and on the morning of October 25, we buried them at Wyandotte, on Kansas soil. From there we marched home to meet our mourning friends and tell the sad story of the fallen.

List of the killed, wounded and missing of the Second Regiment of Kansas State Militia (Shawnee County) at the Battle of the Blue, October 22, 1864:

Lieutenant-Colonel H. M. [Green], wounded in hip and shoulder, severely.
Company B (Topeka)
Killed: Privates H. C. Covill, Harvey G. Young, J. [P.] Alverson.
Wounded: Privates John P. Greer, in knee, severely; John A. Ward, thigh and shoulder, severely; Dr. A. F. Neeley, two shots in thigh, severely; Brock Crawford, in leg, slightly.
Prisoners: G. H. Wood, Frank Dawson, C. G. Howard, William Flanders, Oscar McConnell, F. M. Fletcher, Nelson Young, Simon Schaffer, J. S. Stanfield, James Warren.
Company C (Tecumseh)
Killed: Privates Albert Chapman, Elias Roberts.
Wounded: John Keiser, in arm.
Prisoners: Lieutenant Hiram Ward (since died from the effects of ill treatment while a prisoner); Privates John Reed, Osborn Naylor, J. T. Gage, Alfred Quiett, John Keiser, [Robert V.] Hoback, William Marx, James B. Taylor, Eugene Miller, G. B. McKee.
Company D (Indianola)
Killed: Privates Robert McNown, Dennis Ray, Moses Banks (colored).
Wounded: Captain [Sterling] B. Miles, in groin, severely; Private Isaac Bickell, in foot.
Prisoners: Privates John Kemp, Robert Kemp, J. W. Clark, Ephraim Johnson, John P. Majors, Isaac Bickell, David Vaughn, James Huggins, Perry Fleshman.
Company F (Big Springs)
Killed: Privates David Rake, James Eagle, Robert Campbell.
Wounded: [Thomas] F. Prather, in the arm.
Prisoners: Second Lieutenant H. [D. Gililand], Sergeant George Duncan, Corporal Jonathan H. Glen; Privates George Fix, Henry Fix, Wallace True.
Company G (Auburn)
Killed: Privates W. P. [Roberts], Samuel Allen.
Wounded: Captain H. E. Bush, in face and arm, severely; Lieutenant William H. DeLong, hip and spine, since died; Privates Peter Flick, face and head, severely; Alan Blanden, hip and thigh, severely; John Thompson, left arm, severely.
Prisoners: Lieutenant-Colonel John W. Brown, Aide-de-Camp; Privates H. Cunningham, L. T. Cook, Samuel Blanden, Granger Wood, David Stevens, Jerome Stahl, Eli Snyder, James Russell, Baxter Ingrund, [William] S. Hibbard, H. [C.] Deming, John Robinson, John S. Markham.
Company I (Monmouth)
Killed: William Warm, Robert Bolls, David Fults, the latter, killed by Jennison’s men.
Wounded: H. M. Howard, slightly; Robert Breck, in the arm; James Norris, in the arm.
Prisoners: Samuel Rosier, Horace Linn, Elias Williams.
Topeka Battery
Killed: Corporal George Ginnold, Private Samuel Handley, Nicholas Brown, [Meric] D. Race, McClure Martin, C. H. Rudd, Lear Selkin, Ben Hughes (colored).
Wounded: Captain Ross Burnes, in the head, severely; Privates William P. Thompson, in shoulder, severely; John Branner, head and arms, severely.
Prisoners: Private [Gilford] G. Gage, G. E. Follansbee, John Link, R. Fitzgerald, Fred Mackey, James Anderson, [James] H. Holman, [Edward] Pape, Jacob Kline, Levi Williams.

All of which is respectfully submitted, G. W. Veale, Colonel, Second Regiment, Kansas State Militia.

Last changed: Jul 22 2018 at 10:20 AM