War of the Rebellion: Serial 114 Page 0408 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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The commission then proceeded in the examination of the case of John W. Owen, as follows:

Colonel THOMAS MORTON, Eighty-first Ohio Volunteers, being produced, duly sworn and examined on the part of the United States testifies as follows:

I am in the military serivice of the United States. I rank as colonel commanding the Eighty-fisrt Ohio Volunteers, U. S. Army. I know the prisoner, John W. Owen. I met Mr. Owen somewhere in Callaway County abut the 28th day of December, 1861. I did not see Mr. Owen at the time he was captured on the 28th od December, 1861. I learned that we had captured a man of the rebel forces, and the first time I saw Captain Owen I saw him with Major Hescock. I know that he (Captain Owen) was placed in arrest. He was placed in the hands of one of the captains of the Tenth Missouri Regiment as a prisoner of war. I believe he was taken along that day and on the first morning after the arrest there was a complaint made to me by divers persons of the treatment of the prisoners. I relieved at this time Captain Lanius of all other duties and placed the prisoners in his charge and amoung them Captain Jon W. Owen, and from that time on I had charge of them during the campaing. I saw the captain frequently every day during our capmaig. I spoke to them as I passed during the campaign. After we had stopped the march I had opportunity to talk with the prisoners. I began an investigation of their cases. I had a conversation with Captain John W. Owen at this place (Danville). The prisoners were then in my exclusive charge. I sent for Captain Owen to come to my quarters. I had a long talk with him. In that conversation he admitted to me that he ranked as a captain, the commanding officer of twenty-seven men in the rebel service, whom he had recruited for Price's army. He also stated that he had joined Colonel Dorsey's command about the 26th of December and on his return home for the propose of procuring clothing for his men he met our forces and was arrested. He stated he was not in the fight but presumed that his men were. I think the admissions that the captain made to me were freely made. I used no force to my knowledge. They were freely made and I think substantially true. He stated to me also that he and his men were engaged in the destruction of the North Missouri Railroad. If I understood the captain right he stated to me that he and his men had chrage of a separate section of the road to destroy it; that they did destroy this section and justified the act by saying, "I acted according to military orders"; that he understood the orders were from Geneal Price; that he received his orders (written) from Lieutenant Jamison, and that they came from Quatermaster Norton, who lines in Callaway County. He thinks he ranks as lieutenant-colonel but is not positive. He stated that this written order directed him to take charge of and destroy a certain specific division he and his command were to act upon. He also stated he and some of his men were opposed to the destruction of the railroad but that they obeyed as a military necessity. He also stated that the tools they used in the destruction of the railroad wee furnished by his men. They got some from blacksmith shops. I remember about his telling me that he got a crowbar made to his special order split at the end, suited to draw spikes. The blacksmith who made it was a member of his company. The captain appeared free to give me all information as to what he had done.

Question. When and where did he tell you these men were raised?

Answer. I think he said he had enlisted his men about the 13th of December, 1861. He said he had enlisted some at Williamsbur, some on the borders of Hancock Prairie.

Question. Did he tell you when he had received his instructions for the destruction of the road?

Answer. He told me he had received his orders written from Lieutenant Jamison; that they came from Quatermaster Norton. I do not know when or where he received them. He did not tell me.

Question. Did you understand from him as to whether he raised his men before or after he received the orders for the destruction of the railroad?

Answer. I did not ask that question nor did I hear in answered. I understood from the conversation that he had raised a part of his men before he had received the orders to destroy the railroad. I will also state that he told me he had not been in the rebel service previous to this except that he had been in Jones' command at Fulton. I asked him where they had been in the habit of having their meetings and