Col. Coffee was a hard drinking man. He was courts martialled after the Lone Jack engagement for drunkeness and in subornation and that was prevent him from getting a brigidiers star instead of Capt. Jo Shelby, his junior officer.
I may be wrong about the role Quantrill played in the battle at Lone Jack. This is what I learned from Col. Coffee's post-war accounts. On the night of August 15, 1862, the day before the Lone Jack engagement, Col. Coffee's cavalry regiment was variously estimated between 800 and 1,200 ill-equipped members of the S.W. Missouri State Guard. If the amount was as many as 1,200 men, Quantrill's irregulars may have been included in Coffee's regiment. About 800 Union troops under Maj. Emory S. Foster were camped three miles north of Coffee's bivouac and learning that Coffee's troops were camped south of town, Foster prepared to attack them. The Union detachment, including artillery, advance withn three-quarters of a mile of Coffee's camp when Coffee's poorly equipped cavalry charged. At the same time, Fosters artillery cemmenced firing into Coffee's main camp and a volley of Union muskets dispersed the charging Confederates. Coffee's cavalry charge was turned and the entire regiment withdrew hastily and fearing an attack of greater strength, Maj. Foster forces returned to Lone Jack.
After Col. Coffee rallied his men and joined Hays, Cockrell, Hunter and Jackman, they decided to attack the town early on the morniong of August 19th. The Union force did not received reinforcement that were expected and retired to Lexington. The Confederates occupied Lone Jack at noon on August 19 1862, and captured a Union officer, Lt. Levi Copeland who was placed in Col. Coffee's charge. Guerilla leader Quantrill and his irregular light cavalry arrived at Lone Jack late in the evening of August 19th, and demanded that Copeland be turned over to them. Col. Coffee refused to turn over Copeland to the guerillas. Quantrill, incensed at this rebuff by Col. Coffee, ordered his men to mount and prepare to charge Coffee and his troops.
Before charging the Confederates, Quantrill sent a note to Col. Coffee explaining that Copeland "dragged the father of two of Quantrill's men from his home and in front of his family, hung him and burned the house." Learning of this, Col. Coffee turned over Copeland, who was immediately shot by the two sons.
Three weeks after the battle at Lone Jack, Gen. James S. Rains resigned after Gen. Hindman relieved him for drunkness. At the same time Hindman had Col. Coffee arrested for drunkeness and in subordination and ordered a courts martial in Fort Smith. In May 1863, Col. Coffee was aquitted and returned to Missouri and raised about 300 men which were simply called Coffee's S.W. Missouri Cavalry. Col. Coffee and Col. Upton Hays joined Capt. Jo Shelby's Iron Brigade and went on the "Great Missouri Raid" throuigh central Missouri and burned six courthouses, including the Dade County courhouse where Coffee's law office was located and where all his documents were stored.
Col. Coffee's wife died while he was awaiting courts martial in Fort Smith. After the Dade County courthouse was burned, there was nothing in Missouri to make him remain there after the war. After the Great Missouri Raid, Col Coffee was given command of a "paper" regiment and was given until September 1st to recruit the troops. He failed to raise troops for the paper regiment. In the fall of 1864, Col. Coffee was then given a detachment of cavalry and was foraging for wheat in the Fourche LeFave River bottoms south of Dardenelle Arkansas for the remainder of the war.
My great grandfather's brother moved his family to McDonald County Missouri in 1867 to study law under Col. Coffee but unfortunately, Col. Coffee was living in Georgetown Texas by then.