NOVEMBER 4-9, 1863.-Scout from Houston to Jack's Fork, Mo.
Reports of Lieutenant John W. Boyd, Sixth Provisional Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia.
HOUSTON, MO., November -, 1863.
SIR: In compliance with Special Orders, Numbers 42, issued from your headquarters November 3, 1863, on the morning of the 4th instant, I started on scout with 15 men of my company, 5 men of Company B and 5 of Company G, Fifth Missouri State Militia, in the direction of Spring Valley. Marched that day 25 miles, without discovering anything worthy of note. Visited the residences of Benjamin Carter and Wilson Farrow, that were engaged in burning Houston; they were gone. Burned Caster's house. November 5, divided the scout. Send 10 men, under Orderly Sergeant Basket, Company I, to march by way of Bay Creek to Jack's Fork. I proceed with the balance of the command by way of Leatherwood or Wollsey's trail; found fresh trail of horses; followed them on Jack's Fork to the residence of Miles Stephens and brother, Jack Stephens, whom I was satisfied were bushwhackers. Burned the house. Heard that Fed Taylor had been at Stephens' last week with 25 men. Proceeded down Jacks' Fork 10 miles, having marched 30 miles that day. Camped at Widow McCormick's. Had positive evidence that the widow had kept a general rendezvous for Freeman's and Coleman's guerrillas. On the morning of the 6th, burned the buildings. Learned from the widow's son, a young lad, that on the previous evening James Mahan had got him to give news of our approach. Sent back and took Mahan prisoner. Went down Jack's Fork to mouth of Mahan's Creek; turned up said creek on Thomasville road. Prisoner Mahan attempted to escape, and was shot by the guard. Camped at William Mahan's that night, [having] marched 24 miles. On the morning of the 9th, marched up Mahan's Creek. About 9 o'clock discovered about 20 of the enemy on the bluff above us; fired a few shots at them, when they fell back. I took 20 men up the hill and reconnoitered, expecting to find them in force to give us battle, but they had all fled into the rocky ravines and hills, where it was impossible to pursue to advantage, mounted; returned to the road, and had gone about 1 mile, and met 3 men, who started to escape on seeing us; killed 2 of the, whom I ascertained from papers found on their persons to be William Chandler, supposed to live in Dent County, and a man named Hackley, who had in his pocket a discharge as lieutenant from Company F, Mitchell's regiment, rebel army. He also had several packages of letters from persons in the rebel army and citizens in Arkansas, directed to persons in Dent and Phelps Counties, all of which are submitted for you disposal. Two miles farther on we captured William Story on at United States horse. He was recognized and well known as a notorious horse-thief and house-robber. He attempted to escape, and was killed. Camped that night at Morgan Dean's, on Birch Prairie. November 8, started in the direction of Houston; marched 5 miles, and captured William Hulsey, James Harris, all well provided and packed, going to Freeman. One of them had a horse that was stolen some time since from one of our men; also goods of different kinds. The first three, viz, the Hulseys and McCuan, were killed. Jones, on account of his extreme youth and apparent innocence, I had brought in, prisoner. Five miles farther, at the house of John Nicholson, a known rebel and bushwhacker, we captured the said