toward completing the fortifications at that point and placing the city in a state of defense, and also endeavored at the same time to open up communication with other Federal forces reported to be moving in that direction and to ascertain the position and strength of the enemy.
Learning that the enemy was in the vicinity of Lone Jack, and hearing that General Warren was advancing from Rose Hill to attack him, I moved on Independence on the morning of the 21st, transporting the infantry, artillery, and Captain Wagner's squadron of cavalry by water, and sending Major Ransom, with his battalion of cavalry, by land.
Major Ransom, on his march to Independence, burned a house and out-buildings of Benjamin Rice, a notorious guerrilla, and on his arrival at that point arrested the editor and distributed the type belonging to the office of the Border Star, a treasonable sheet published there.
Failing to hear further from General Warren's command or other Federal forces I moved with my entire command from Independence in the direction of Harrisonville on the morning of the 22nd. After a march of 12 mile, and when near the headwaters of the East Branch of the Little Blue, I learned from a colored man that the enemy was a few miles to the left of us. Following down near the timber on the south side of that stream I came to a point opposite to where their camp was supposed to be a short time before sunset. Here we formed a line of battle, placing our guns in position on an eminence from which we could have effectually shelled the woods. I then sent Major Ransom, with his battalion, to reconnoiter on our left and a scouting party to the front, which soon returned, having run onto the enemy's pickets, taking one prisoner. From him we learned that the rebels were 1,000 strong, under Colonels Thompson, Hays, and Quantrill, and were in camp n a dense forest 4 miles farther down the stream.
It being now near dark, we bivouacked at a watering place near by until 3 o'clock on the morning of the 23rd, when we marched to the farm of one Charles Cowert, the nearest point to the enemy's camp accessible to artillery. Here we formed line of battle, and I sent two companies of cavalry, under Captain Derry, to reconnoiter the enemy's position and endeavor to draw him out onto the open ground. Captain Derry soon returned, having driven their pickets before him, through an almost impenetrable forest of timber and brush, for a distance of 2 miles, to the rebel camp. failing in our efforts to draw the enemy from his cover, and the want of water in the vicinity of the house and farm which we occupied rendering it impossible for us to remain for any considerable length of time, together with the fact stated by contrabands and prisoners and admitted by the ladies of the house that this was the headquarters of the enemy; that here most of the rebel officers boarded, and that from this farm their supplies of forage were obtained, induced me to burn the house and out-buildings and the immense ricks of grain and hay found on the promises. I then moved with my command in a westerly direction toward the nearest point to where water could be obtained, when soon the enemy was seen emerging from the woods, marching south, and crossing our line of march at right angles, directly in our rear. We quickly took position o an eminence near the Hickory Grove with the battery, supported by the infantry in the center and a battalion of cavalry on either flank. The enemy (some 1,000 or 1,200 yards distant) formed line of battle, but after a few well-directed shots from Bowman's battery their line was broken, they were thrown into confusion, and their march to the south resumed. Following them up with small detachments of cavalry,