War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0052 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter XVIII.

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Captain J. B. Watson, of the rebel army (and believed to have been concerned in the Magi burning), now on recruiting service near here, was captured, with two of his men, to-day by a part of my command.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

LEWIS MERRILL,

Colonel, Commanding Merrill's Horse.

Captain J. C. KELTON,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

JANUARY 15-17, 1862.-Expeditions to Benton, Bloomfield, and Dallas, Mo.

Report of Colonel Leonard F. Ross, Seventeenth Illinois Infantry.

HEADQUARTERS,

Cape Girardeau, Mo., January 19, 1862.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report:

Having learned from reliable sources that the citizens of Stoddard, Scott, and Bollinger Counties, under the lead of Captains Bowles and Kitchen, of General Thompson's division, Confederate Army, were organizing for the purpose of joining the rebel forces at New Madrid, on the 15th instant I ordered Major Francis M. Smith, of the Seventeenth Illinois Volunteers, with five companies of infantry, one company of cavalry, under command of Captain Graham, Seventh Illinois Cavalry, and one piece of artillery, under command of Sergeant Dyer, Campbell's battery light artillery, to proceed to Benton, Scott County, Missouri, and there attack and disperse any organization that might be found, capturing such persons as had been in the rebel army who had not subsequently surrendered themselves and taken the oath. At the same time I ordered Captain Murdoch, of the Missouri State Militia, to take charge of an expedition to Bloomfield, Stoddard County, Missouri, consisting of 50 of his own company (mounted) and a portion of Company H, Seventh Illinois Cavalry, Captain Milton L. Webster commanding, with similar instructions; also an expedition to Dallas, Bollinger County, Missouri, under command of Major Jonas Rawalt, Seventh Cavalry, consisting of 100 mounted men, with the same instructions, designing to surprise and capture all persons in rebellion against the United States Government, as also their property which might be of use in conducting the present rebellion. In accordance with such instructions the several expeditions moved simultaneously from this post on the evening of the 15th instant for their respective destinations, all of which resulted as satisfactorily as the circumstances and surroundings indicated. On the 17th instant the various expeditions returned, bringing with them the following prisoners: From Dallas, Major Rawalt, with 18th prisoners formerly of Thompson's command, but who had been discharged from further service.

The expedition under Captain Murdoch was the more successful, inasmuch as many of the discharged officers of Thompson's command were attending a ball in Bloomfield preparatory to their re-enlisting, and were probably not anticipating an attack until they found themselves surrounded. Thirty-nine prisoners were captured. Among them were Lieutenant-Colonel Farmer, Second Regiment Missouri State Guard; Captain Cole, Company A, Second Regiment Missouri State Guard, and some 10 other officers, all of whom were discharged by virtue of expiration of term of enlistment. The expedition to Benton