Ambushed by Bushwhackers (page 3)

  After one year of service Andrew Deal took a one month furlough, which was the last time he spent with his family. He rejoined his unit in the border war in March of 1863 and may have been present at the hanging of Confederate sympathizer Jim Vaughn. Along with his Captain, Henry Flesher, Andrew was part of a scouting patrol which was ambushed on June 17, 1863, near Westport, just a few miles on the Missouri side of the border.

  A group of Quantrill's raiders led by Captain George Todd appears to have been responsible for the ambush. Former Quantrill scout John McCorkle described the event in his memoirs, which he narrated to his friend O. S. Barton, who first published them in 1914. In his account of the ambush, Private McCorkle described the formation of irregulars in preparation for the ambush. He also described following and executing Union soldiers who managed to get away. Quantrill's group was fired up by the execution of Jim Vaughn, which had occurred just a short time before, and by the "no-quarter" order of Union General Henry Halleck. They were ready for revenge. McCorkle reported that irregular soldier Will McGuire recognized a Union officer who had helped with Jim Vaughn's hanging. McCorkle said that McGuire placed a note between the teeth of this officer which advised all to remember the dying words of Jim Vaughn.

  Captain Flesher's small company had been en route to Kansas City, Missouri, where the Union command expected a raid. Most companies of the 9th had already arrived at Kansas City, where General Ewing was informed of the ambush. Immediate assistance was sent, but these forces met a wagon cordon about half a mile south of Westport, bringing in the dead.

  Other accounts agreed that Captain Flesher's command was ambushed by a larger force of Bushwhackers less than a mile from a military station in an area where the road was lined on both sides with a stone fence and thick underbrush. Some of the irregulars remained mounted, and the first volley was followed by hand-to-hand combat, in which the guerillas attempted to leave no survivors. Each Union soldier was shot both in the head and in the heart. Fourteen Union soldiers died in the massacre. A local paper reported that they had been buried in a mass grave.