Doc, that article has been staring me in the face for over 20 years. There's an O.R. entry that goes along with it. FYI--that unheralded event is one of the first successful train robberies in U.S. history, if not the first. But it's unknown to history.
"Brison" is George Washington "Wash" Bryson, one of my captains in Perkins unit I've been trying to sort out for years. I struggled mightily researching this guy forever, getting just bits and pieces on him. Finally, in the past couple years I broke the logjam, my file on him is over an inch thick, and I know more about him than my own grandfather.
Bryson is one of the breed of irregular leaders that the Centralia/northern Boone County region was so good at churning out. Technically he was c.o. of Company C, Perkins Battalion. Spent the war recruiting and fighting in that area. He was cut from the same cloth as other captains from Perkins' unit such as Young Purcell and the more famous legend Tom Todd.
I put together a large manuscript around 2002 detailing how it was Major A.V.E. Johnson of the 39th Missouri Infantry came to stumble into such a disaster at Centralia. MHR was interested in running it, but said I had to cut it down by 40 percent. To heck with that. I've been working on increasing it by 1500 percent.
Bryson, being part of Perkin's command, would otherwise have been an integral part of events at Centralia on September 27, 1864. But as fate would have it, a few days beforehand his pickets fired on Bill Anderson's men as they were coming into camp (maybe at the Widow Turners farm!). Anderson was going to start killing all of Bryson's men so Perkins separated that company from the group. They ended up bivouacking in home territory north of Centralia and were settling in when Bryson was seriously wounded in an ambush by Major A.V.E. Johnston and a company of the 39th Missouri Infantry a couple days before the Centralia Massacre. (Bryson finally has the bullet removed in 1898 after the new-fangled x-ray machines are developed).
Anyway, Bryson's company still figures very heavily in the Battle of Centralia. After ambushing Bryson, Johnston returned back to base in Paris, and was soon ordered out again at midnight Sept. 26 with his entire command, with instructions to join two other regiments at Renick. Midway en route Johnston came across a trail of Bryson's men moving south. He sends a number of his footmen back to base (lucky men), and with his mounted troops deviates from his orders, and heads south after Bryson again. Ya just want to say out loud, don't do it don't do it. But head south he does. The trail of Bryson's men crosses the tracks a mile east of Centralia. When Johnston gets there, they see the smoke coming out of town and head that way, on to their fates....