The Missouri in the Civil War Message Board

Re: Morgan County Guerrillas
In Response To: Re: Morgan County Guerrillas ()

Doc,
I was hoping you might bite on some of these people I leave hanging without an identity. That stuff bothers you as much as it bothers me.

James C. Puckett, huh? Former Morgan County sheriff and tax assessor or collector? Stands to reason the guy was no schmuck to have what it took to go into Morgan County in summer 1864 and do what he did. He had to know Morgan Countians to stay in stealth mode and keep that Tipton barrel maker out of trouble.

I went through the entire roster of Col Shanks' 12th Missouri Cavalry Regiment and nothing on Puckett. The guy is ghosting me. Oh, I believe you, but some of Shelby's brigade roster stuff is crazy, and they covered for the men that went home to look after the wife, kids, and parents and did a little recruiting, too. Evidently, Shelby sent about 30 troopers back to west-central MO after that hated General Orders Number 11 to facilitate moving civilians to places of safety. Most of the 30 returned to their regiment in Arkansas after a few weeks, but some like Warren Welch remained in place and joined George Todd when Quantrill's band returned in late April early May 1864. Welch and a couple other of the troopers who remained near home wanted some payback. We have Welch's memoir the Independence sisters (Bartels and Eakin) published in pamphlet form, but Shelby's records and rosters are not definitive--probably on purpose. This is similar handling of Captain Elliott's company and later battalion of "scouts and spies," and is hard to nail down. A little here, a little there, but just enough to get a writer in lots of hot water with sticklers.

Please tell me more about Puckett's arrest in Springfield in 1865. It wasn't on 6 May 1865, was it? Can you give details about when and where and where you found the records on it? I'm wondering if this could possibly tie in with the arrests in Greene County of Nelson K. Chapman and Charles Brownlee also going home through there on 6 May 1865. I know why the Union overreacted to this, for the simple reason that their forces were too thin to take on a big guerrilla onslaught this spring again like in 1864.

Yes, I have read about how the radical unionists stripped former officials, preachers, teachers, judges, and the like of all their rights to return to prewar occupations and responsibilities under the Drake Constitution. The radicals were afraid of prewar southerners in Missouri returning to their positions of power as if nothing had happened. That is one reason the "Lost Cause" movement came on so big about seven years later in Missouri, in my opinion. The radicals just went too far for too long, and it was time to give somebody else a chance with their idea.

Well, I had better get down off my soapbox. Thanks for coming through with this detail about Puckett of Morgan County. I would appreciate more about his arrest near Springfield just to see if it matches the other two cases, Chapman's and Brownlee's.

Bruce Nichols

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Morgan County Guerrillas
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Re: Morgan County Guerrillas
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