I found this interesting story some time back on a website dealing with Iowa in the War. This account of a scout undertaken by the 9th Iowa Cavalry is taken from "Roster & Record of Iowa Troops in the Rebellion" by Guy Logan. Thought some of you might like it.
"During the remainder of the winter of 65 there was the usual amount of scouting, but no incident of special importance occured except the daring attempt of Major Ensign & a small detachment of the 9th Iowa to capture the notorious guerrilla chief Rayburn. This man had given incessant annoyance to the Union troops & Gen. Steele had offered a large reward for his death or capture. A few soldiers from the Union army who had been guilty of committing acts of pillage in the neighboring country, for which they had been subjected themselves to severe punishment, & which they knew would be recieved when their crimes were discovered, gave themselves over to outlawry by deserting & joining the band of the guerrilla leader. The capture of these deserters was a matter of equal importance to that of capturing Rayburn & his band. Major Ensign led his detachment through devious paths of the woods & mountains, marching mostly at night, until they reached the neighborhood of Rayburn's camp without discovery. Concealing themselves in ambush near a bridge they kept a close watch for the approach of the rebels. On the night of April 2nd they succeeded in quietly capturing a couple of prisoners & from them learned that Rayburn had himself made prisoners of the deserters, not daring to trust them as members of his band. Rayburn had sent word to Gen. Steele that he would return them to him if he could be allowed necessary facilities for doing so without taking too great risk of the capture of himself or his band. The Major also learned that Rayburn had left his camp & retreated still further into the mountains & that any further effort to secure his capture would prove futile for the reason that he felt assured that the rebel had been apprised of his approach. It then became a matter of concern to avoid being ambushed on the return march. By celerity of movement and another all night march the detachment reached Brownsville after an absense of eight days & nights. The subsequent fate of the guerrilla chief & his followers & that of the deserters is not revealed in the record."
I understand that Rayburn didnt survive the war. Does anyone know the date & circumstances of his death? This account was in April, 1865 near the end of the war.