Fort Scott, Kans., May 7, 1863
Commanding District of Kansas:
SIR: I regret to have to inform you that the bushwhackers are getting more troublesome and venturous every day. I have every reason to believe that they had concentrated to attack the returning train from Fort Gibson, but I was informed of the time and place of the intended attack, and by marching infantry and artillery 65 miles in a little over a day, got to the place (Baxter Springs) simultaneously with the train. Since then they have been prowling in small parties in every direction, thieving, robbing and murdering.
Yesterday word was brought me of four incursions on Drywood, 12 miles south of here. I started off immediately with what cavalry I could muster and 50 infantry in wagons, and in an hour was at Drywood, but scoured the country in vain. They had robbed Mrs. Jewell and three or four other persons of money and valuables, taking two horses only. I rode all day and night, and on my return this morning to Fort Scott was met by the news that another small party of bushwhackers had last night gone to the house of Mr. Baker, on the Marmaton, 5 miles from here, and robbed his house and killed him. He was one of the most upright and respected citizens, a man highly esteemed by everybody. Our whole community is in a state of feverish excitement on the subject. I have a faint trace of the murderer, and shall pursue it to the last. But my cavalry, not over 100 of which is mounted, is pretty well ridden down, and must start back to Gibson as soon as the train is ready, and I am therefore much crippled. I fear for the trains. A hundred men are but a poor escort for 150 wagons, and yet it is about all I can mount, leaving myself without pickets and only what scouts can be furnished from my outpost at Morris' Mill.
In order to effectually check this bushwhacking within the precincts of the post, there should be two more companies of cavalry for escort duty alone, and they with what there is here, would be enough. Then there should be two more for outpost and scouting duty; one stationed partly at Redfield and partly north of there, toward the Marmaton, and one on Cox Creek, up toward the head of Cow Creek. These, with the present one at Morris' Mill, having nothing to do but scour the country, could keep it entirely clear of these vermin. This is the only way life and properly can be made safe here. I fear there will be no crops raised unless something of the sort is done, and yet I hesitate very much to ask, it, for by the return of the sort is done, and yet I hesitate very much to ask it, for by the return of all these troops recently here to Springfield I perceive that you have scarcely anything left with which to defend your district, although it has been largely increased. If it is possible to increase our cavalry here without detriment to the service elsewhere, I beg you to do it.
I rejoice very much that you have established a station at Baxter Springs. On my return from there last week I had just sat down to write a letter, suggesting the matter for your consideration; when I received your order. It will materially lessen the danger to our trains.
Is it possible for any of Captain Insley's recent purchases of horses to be issued to these cavalry companies on duty at this post? The force might be largely increased by getting horses for the dismounted.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
CHAS. W. BLAIR,
Major, Commanding Post.