MAY 19, 1863.-Skirmish near Richfield, Clay County, Mo.
Report of Captain Joseph Schmitz, Twenty-fifth Missouri Infantry.
U. S. ARSENAL, CLAY COUNTY, MO., May 22, 1863.
SIR: I received your letter of instruction, duly from Richmond, Mo., of the 16th instant, in regard to the scouring out of Fishing River Bottom. I accordingly made very disposition of the forces under my command to secure success in the matter, but, unluckily, as you are already aware, the movement commenced about one hour and a half too late. The following special program was laid down to be pursued: Lieutenant [George W.] Shinn, with his command, was to leave Camden at 9 p. m. on Tuesday, the 19th instant; Lieutenant Fleming, of the Provisional Missouri Militia, was to join Lieutenant [Louis] Grafenstein at Richfield, Mo., before 9 o'clock on Tuesday evening, at which hour they were to start to their different destinations; Lieutenant Fleming to the mouth of Fishing River, where he as to meet Lieutenant Shinn, with whom he wants to act in concert in scouring the country on each side of the river up to the lower bridge. Lieutenant Grafenstein, whom I had previously stationed at Richfield, with 16 men, and who were not mounted, were to start at the same time to the lower bridge, where they were directed to lie hidden and guard the roads on both sides of the river.
In accordance with this arrangement, Lieutenant Fleming left here at 6 p.m. for Richfield. When arriving near the place, he met two messengers with the intelligence of the bloody work; and shortly after, while hurrying up his men, he met Sergeant Clymo and the balance of Lieutenant Grafenstein's command (13 men) on the retreat to this post, having been assured by citizens of the place that the bushwhackers numbered from 60 to 100. * * * The whole command [being] but 36, all told, they concluded it best to return to this place (particularly because the reported force to oppose was too large to attack in the night without knowing definitely the situation of affairs in the place), which they did immediately. After making every preparation possible for an early pursuit next morning, we anxiously awaited daylight.
At dawn, Captains Garth and Tracey, of the Provisional Reserve Missouri Militia, with 40 men from Liberty, were here and ready to start in pursuit. With them I sent Lieutenant [H. C.] Carlile (and Dr. [J. Q.] Egelston volunteering) with 35 men. I concluded to give our party under Dr. Egelston's supervision. After nearly reaching Richfield, they first learned the true condition of affairs, and the sad result of the decoy and ambush of Lieutenant Grafenstein and Captain Sessions and squad.
The facts are simply as follows, to wit; Sixteen bushwhackers made their appearance 2 miles east of the town of Richfield, in the afternoon of Tuesday; two of them went to a house in the neighborhood, acting as if drunk, swearing they were Quantrill's men, &c. The men at whose house they were, started immediately after they left, and reported to Lieutenant Grafenstein, as above, when Lieutenant Grafenstein and Captain Sessions and 3 men started out to look into the matter. After getting out of the place 1/2 miles, they were fired upon from the thick bush. Captain Sessions and Private Rapp fell the first fire; Lieutenant Grafenstein was hit soon after, and had to sop; the three were then rushed upon by the party of murderers. Rapp was robbed and left for dead. Captain Sessions was shot again two or three times through the head, and Lieutenant Grafenstein, after surrendering himself a prisoner, was coolly shot twice through the head also (a woman at the same time, near by, begging for his life). They both were