War of the Rebellion: Serial 008 Page 0376 OPERATIONS IN MO., ARK., KANS., AND IND. T. Chapter XVIII.

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the enemy, and telegraph me all information. Send out strong reconnoitering parties ion the direction the enemy to said to be moving.

H. W. HALLECK,

Major-General.

SEDALIA, November 24, 1861.

Colonel FRED STEELE,

Commanding Post, Sedalia:

SIR: I have the honor to report to you my proceedings as commandant of the post at Warsaw, Mo. In obedience to orders from General Sturgis, on the 14th, instant, I was ordered to remain at Warshaw with my own company (H, First Regiment Nebraska Volunteers), in connection with one company of Merrill's House, Captain H. Wilson, to occupy the place, protect the Government stores, and remain until all the commissary and quartermaster's stores were removed to some other point. On the night of the 18th, learning from undoubted authority that the enemy were concentrating in small bodies at various points within from 8 to 15 miles of us on this side of the Osage and ware contemplating an attack on us, I deemed it proper to telegraph you for a small re-enforcement. On the night of the 20th re-enforcements came to the number of about 150 men, viz; Captain Baird, of Merrill's House, 60 men, and Captain Williams, of Seventh Missouri Volunteers (two detachments), about 90 men, together with 24 wagons. On the morning of the 21st the wagons were all loaded. During the morning of the 21st a telegraphic dispatch was received by the commissary of the post, Captain Schenck, at Sedalia, from Captain Swain, quartermaster, stating that 52 teams were sent. The teams did not arrive.

On the evening of the 21st a fire broke out in some old buildings on the southwest corner of the public square, and diagonally from the quarters occupied by myself, my company, and the hospital department, on the opposite side of the street. This occurred at dusk in the evening and as the guard were being posted. I immediately sent a soldier to ascertain what the light originated from. He quickly returned, and reported to me that a fire was burning between two old deserted houses about 2 feet apart, and that a man in citizen's dress ran away from the place and disappeared in the darkness on his approach. I immediately ordered a portion of the guard to the spot with axes and a few buckets of water, and endeavored to arrest the fire, but in vain, as a heavy wind was blowing from the southeast. The whole corner of the block was in a very few moments in flames, which the wind blowing very hard towards my quarters and the hospitals in the same building. It required out utmost exertions to prevent the whole from being in flames. At this juncture the wind veered to the southwest, and in a very short time all of the block of brick buildings in which the Government properly was stored was in flames. Some of the government stores were got out of the buildings, but the heat became so intense that it was impossible for men to work and it was nearly all consumed.

I had previously ordered Captain Schenck, commissary of the post, that if the balance of our teams did not arrive soon and there was no prospect of getting away what remaining property was not loaded into the wagons already, to burn it, in order to same it from falling into the hands of the enemy. But very little of the stores were burned at our