AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER--, 1862.-Expeditions from Waynesville, Mo., skirmish at California House, etc.
Report of Colonel Albert Sigel, Thirteenth Missouri Cavalry (Militia).
HEADQUARTERS THIRTEENTH CAVALRY MO. S. M.,
Waynesville, September 12, 1862.
COLONEL: I have the honor to send you the following report:
Having learned on the 29th of August, late in the afternoon, that a large body of rebels, about 300 strong, were moving through Texas and the southern part of Pulaski Counties in a northern direction toward our line between Lebanon and this post, and a train of 65 wagons being at that time encamped 12 miles south of this post, where the Gasconade crosses the Springfield road, with an escort of 30 men, under Captain Smith, Company H, of this regiment, I immediately ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Eppstein, with nearly all the mounted men of this command, to the assistance of Captain Smith. I also directed Lieutenant-Colonel Eppstein to leave a picket at the California House, which is situated 7 miles from this post. I further placed small pickets along the road to keep open communication with the said detachment, presuming that the enemy would either attack our train or waylay it along the road.
The report of an approaching rebel force was this time, as not in many cases, true. The rebels crossed the road at midnight near the California House, and wee fires on by Lieutenant-Colonel Eppstein's and my pickets, which unexpected firing caused them to scatter in a northern and southern direction; a part of them, as I afterward ascertained, under Johnson, went southward, whilst the larger part, under Colonel Lawther, fled in a northern direction. As the distance was too far for Lieutenant-Colonel Eppstein to reach them I immediately ordered Captain Murphy, Company B, with the last mounted men in camp, to pursue the main force, which latter fell in with an enrolled militia company under Captain Long,a nd a part of Enrolled Militia, Company a, Pulaski County, who killed 7 of the rebels and wounded a number more, losing 3 wounded and 1 killed of their own. Captain Murphy soon came up and followed the fleeing rebels for 18 miles, forcing a part of them, Captain Peabody, of Jefferson City, with 28 men, to surrender to a militia company of Osage County, and scattering the balance of the rebels 25 miles below Jefferson City, where they intended to cross the Missouri River. He also sent 9 prisoners to Jefferson City and destroyed all the skiffs at the McKerk landing-a favorite crossing place of the rebels. Our pickets brought in 2 prisoners, 9 horses, and several guns, which the rebels left at their nightly skedaddle near the California House. Colonel Lawther was left sick in a house on the Gasconade, and is reported as now in the hands of Colonel glover, commanding Rolla District.
First Lieutenant Francis Reichert, of this command, came back yesterday from a scout toward Houston. He killed 3 bushwhackers belonging to Coleman's gang and brought in some prisoners, arms, and horses.
Coleman is reported in Batesville, with 1,500 men, armed with shot-guns, Minie rifles, and muskets, and is augmenting his forces daily by recruiting.
General McBride is also reported at Batesville, under arrest, by order of General Holmes.
The plan of these guerrilla chiefs is to invade Missouri with concentrated forces.