I ordered Lieutenant [Richard C.] Anderson, with one squadron of cavalry, in the advance, to go into Sibley. As soon as they made the edge of the town, they were fired upon, and returned the fire with great vigor. I then ordered Lieutenant [James H.] Brown and Lieutenant [Reuben P.] Mooney forward to support the first squadron, when the bushwhackers made a hasty retreat, leaving 2 of their number dead and 4 wounded. It being a general place of resort for the bushwhackers, and where they concentrated to fire on all the boats that passed, for the purpose of plundering them, and as they used the houses as shelter to fire on my men, the town was burned, with the exception of one or two houses that were left, reported as Union property.
I think it probable that it was for the good of the service that the town was burned, for the reasons named by Captain Flagg; but, not feeling entirely satisfied, I will take care to ascertain the character of the people, and their conduct, as also the circumstances under which the town was burned.
It is reported the town of Butler, Bates County, or a large part, was burned by guerrillas on the 21st instant. Company D, Ninth Kansas, Captain [Charles F.] Coleman, was stationed there, but I was compelled to order it to West Point (on the line), to guard a considerable extent of the border, from which I had withdrawn two companies to fill the place of Penick's regiment, just taken from the upper border. Captain Coleman reports to me that nearly all the Union families in the town left there some days before he was ordered away with a militia company which went to Germantown, Henry County, and the rest of the Union families came with him to Kansas. He says there are no Union families in the county, and all the secessionists known to have been in the Southern army from that county are again at home or in the brush. He reports, on authority which he regards as reliable, that on the 24th instant about 200 rebel infantry passed northward near by Johnstown, Bates County, and that within the past three months parties have gone north, numbering in the aggregate, with this infantry, not less than 1,000. The captain is an entirely careful and reliable officer, and I have considerable confidence in his information and opinion. I am inclined to think, however, that, if so many as that have come north, a large part of them have done so to get home and quit fighting.
I am, colonel, very respectfully,
THOMAS EWING, JR.,
Lieutenant Colonel C. W. MARSH,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Missouri.
Numbers 2. Report of Captain Samuel A. Flagg, Fourth Missouri State Militia Cavalry.
KANSAS CITY, MO., June 28, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report, for the information of the commanding general, the scout commanded by me in the vicinity of Sibley and Napoleon Bottoms.
The infantry started at 10 o'clock Monday night, the 22nd of June, with instructions to move near Sibley, and conceal themselves until I came up with the cavalry, so that we could act in concert. I formed a junction with them about 6 o'clock in the morning, when I moved on to Sibley. I ordered Lieutenant [R. C.] Anderson, with one squadron of