War of the Rebellion: Serial 032 Page 0777 Chapter XXXIV. SCOUTS FROM HOUSTON, MO.

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Regiment Enrolled Missouri Militia, with a force of 20 men of Company I, Enrolled Missouri Militia, in the direction of the Mountain Store, after marching to Opossum Creek, a distance of 15 miles, struck a trail of several rebels, the same that had captured and stripped some of Company D the day previous. After following some distance, he discovered he was too far in the rear to accomplish much by following the trail. He marched for the Mountain Store. While in that vicinity he got close after a band of rebels that had just robbed some families. He pursued them for several miles, when they left the road and struck into the woods and scattered, still bearing south. Being there joined by 2 of our scouts and 2 men of our command, he concluded it would be best to march still farther south, and get beyond these bands that were bearing him in that direction. He accordingly took a course that brought him to the headwaters of the North Fork of White River, and followed it for 15 miles. Not finding any bushwhackers, he turned in the direction of West Plains, and thence to Indian Creek and Howell Valley; and having ascertained the men he was pursuing had passed twelve hours ahead of him, the men and horses being worn down for the want of feed, having marched one time thirty hours without forage, he thought it prudent to return to camp, which he did by the way of Jack's Fork. While passing the last-named place he came upon the notorious guerrilla Clark, who, in attempting to escape, was killed. Without getting any further information worthy of note, he returned to camp, being absent eight days, making a march of 200 miles.

Sergt. A. L. Thomas, Company F, Enrolled Missouri Militia, started on the morning of December 18, with 6 men, in the direction of Big Creek, scouting the country for 12 miles around without discovering anything worthy of note, and camped at the Widow Brown's. Next day, the 19th, returned again.

Corpl. John Gortscamp, of Company G, Fifth Missouri State Militia, started in the direction of Johnson's Mills, with 6 men, on the morning of December 19. He scouted all that day, and camped at the mills at night. He started at 6 o'clock on the following morning. During the course of the day he fell in with Sergeant McDowell, of Company B, Fifth Missouri State Militia Cavalry. He then changed his course. He fell in with Captain McKinney, of Company I, Enrolled Missouri Militia. Changing his course again, he scouted through that section of the country, and arrived on the 20th, at 7 p. m., without making any further discoveries worthy of note.

Captain McKinney started, with 12 men of our detachment, in the direction of Piney on the morning of December 16, in search of mail robbers. He traveled the country for 30 miles all around, and, not finding any trace of them, he returned to camp on December 20, having been absent four days and marched a distance of 100 miles. I have another scout out, which I have not heard from as yet. I have sent 4 men with dispatches to Rolla, and [they] have not returned.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

RICHARD MURPHY,

Captain, Commanding Detachment Fifth Missouri State Militia Cavalry.

Captain J. LOVELL,

Assistant Adjutant-General, Rolla District, Rolla, Mo.