MARCH 20—22, 1865.—Scout from Lexington, Mo.
Report of Lieut. Daniel Shumate, First Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
LEXINGTON, Mo., March 24, 1865.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to submit the following report to you: In compliance with your instructions, on the morning of the 20th instant I marched from this post in command of eighteen men of my company. I took the Georgetown road as far as the Tabo Church, twelve miles east of this post. I there found a trail of six bushwhackers going west. I took the trail and followed it as far as Joel Ewing’s. Night came on and I camped. During the night a heavy rain fell and put out the trail. I took the direction, however, and soon came to the Widow Demastus’, and there found that five guerrillas had just left there, going west. A young-looking woman, said to be the widow of the guerrilla Wilhite, who was killed a year ago, made a great effort to make me believe that the party that had just left there had gone east. The mud was very deep, however, and it was very plain that they had all gone west, the same way that they came in. I took the track, and in half a mile I met five other guerrillas going east. I was within about 300 yards of them when I saw them. They discovered me at the same time. It was something over a mile to the timber; nothing in the way but two fences and deep mud. A desperate race for life or death ensued. They got to the timber 75 or 100 yards ahead of us. There were several shots fired, and I thought we wounded one man. They then separated and we followed three of them five or six hours. They kept in the bush only a short distance ahead of us. We ran our horses down and were compelled to give up the chase. We rested our horses and moved out to a suitable place to camp. On the 22d I scouted the country south of Wellington, and became satisfied that the guerrillas had gone into the Snibar Hills, and owing to the jaded condition of our horses I thought it altogether impracticable to follow them, and consequently I came in one day sooner than I was ordered. Arriving in Lexington late in the evening of the 19th from a hard march, that being the day you were ordered to start me on this scout, and meeting with the guerrillas at the point I did, rendered it impracticable for me to make the connection with the troops from Warrensburg as instructed by you. I would earnestly recommend the banishment of the Widow Demastus, with her family, the Widow Wilhite included. She makes that her home. She lives half a mile west of the Columbus road, four miles north of Chatam Ewing’s, near Mr. Powell’s, who lives on the Columbus road.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Second Lieut. Company I, First Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
Capt. WILLIAM MEREDITH,