Report of Captain Charles B. McAfee, Sixth Missouri State Militia Cavalry, of action at Neosho, Mo.
SPRINGFIELD, MO., October 10, 1863.
COLONEL: I have the honor to report that, in obedience to Special Orders, Numbers 197, from Headquarters Southwestern District of Missouri, dated October 2, 1863, I moved from Newtonia at 8 a. m., October 4; arrived at Neosho at 11 o'clock, on my way to join Major [A. A.] King in the field (supposed to be in the neighborhood of Pineville). Not learning anything of the whereabouts of Major King, I immediately started in a southwest direction, on the Buffalo road, in search of him, and when I had marched about 2 miles from Neosho, I met Coffee's band of guerrillas, about 300 strong. They formed line, but immediately fell back, and started through the woods in direction of Neosho. I sent messengers back by the road to apprise the guard (left with stores and baggage at that place) of their approach, and moved my column by small circuit back to Neosho, and entered the town on one side at the same time that the rebels entered it on the other. We opened a brisk fire upon them, driving them back. They recovered in a few moments, and again moved upon the town, and at the same time I discovered three or four different bodies of rebel cavalry approaching from different directions. I saw that it was impossible to cut our way through their lines. We therefore immediately occupied the brick court-house, and again drove them out of the town. We remained in the court-house about one and a half hours, and fought them, and until they had shot four cannon balls through it. At this time a white flag appeared, the object of which was to demand an immediate and unconditional surrender, which I refused, but offered to surrender provided we were treated as prisoners of war, the men to retain their clothing, money, &c., the Enrolled Missouri Militia to receive the same treatment, and the Union citizens to be unmolested, to which General Shelby at first objected, refusing to treat Enrolled Missouri Militia as prisoners of war. I replied that we would all share the same fate, and would not surrender unless all would be treated as prisoners of war. General Shelby replied that he would accept my conditions, provided I would agree to have my whole command paroled on the ground. I positively refused to agree to the paroling of my command in this way. General Shelby refused to parley any further, and said he would shell he town in four minutes if we did not agree to the above conditions. I therefore surrendered my command, consisting of 1234 men and 5 officers of Third Battalion Sixth Missouri State Militia Cavalry, and 34 men and 1 officer of Captain Stall's detachment of Sixth Missouri state Militia Cavalry, a few Enrolled Missouri Militia and citizens, making in all about 180 men; were paroled by companies, the officers in writing. The men's names were taken by Shelby, and the were sworn not to take up arms against the Confederate States of America until duly exchanged. No written parole was given them.
We lost our entire train and baggage, which had been moved to Neosho on that morning. The loss on our side was 2 killed and 2 wounded, and 2 Enrolled Missouri Militia (one a lieutenant) killed by Coffee's men after they had been paroled. I believe their loss was greater. Our men fought bravely, and we could not have been taken if the enemy had had no artillery.
General Shelby was in command of the rebel forces, which I estimated at 1,500; they claimed to be 2,200 strong. They had three pieces of artillery, one of them a good gun, the other two indifferent. I understood that one of the indifferent ones got bursted or otherwise damaged at Neosho.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. B. McAFEE,
Captain Third Battalion, Sixth Mo. State Mil. Cav.
Colonel J. EDWARDS,
Commanding Southwestern District of Missouri, Springfield.
Oficial Records of the Civil War, V22, Pt. 1, pp. 656/7
John Kinion, Private, Company M, 6th Regiment Missouri State Militia Cavalry, joined for duty and enrolled March 29, 1862 at Cainesville, Mo. for the war, detached on Scout April 26, 1863, recorded present at the May/June, July/Augustm & September/October, 1863 musters, discharged for disability December 7, 1863 having been unfit for duty the past two months, “the left side of his face is paralyzed so that he cannot shut his left eye, speaks with difficulty his disease originated while in the line of his[sp?] duty in action with the army at Neosho, Mo. on 4th Oct., 1863,” description on enlistment, 41 year old Farmer, born in Washington, County, Indiana, 5’ 11”, dark complexion, hazel eyes, black hair,
This company was formed of men transferred from the 3rd Missouri State Militia Cavalry
M405: Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Missouri.
On October 4, 1863, a portion of the town was burned by Confederate General Joseph Shelby, who appeared with 1,100 men and, after shelling the courthouse, received the surrender of Union Captain McAfee and his 200 men. Confederate casualties in the fight were 7 dead, 22 wounded.