Wednesday, November 12, 2014

THOMAS RANEY FACES MCNEIL'S TROOPS AT KIRKSVILLE, MISSOURI!

Thomas Cellen RaneyThomas Cellen Raney

Thomas C. Raney (Berryville Memorial Cemetery, Berryville, Carroll County, AR.) is the QSCR's first Missouri guerrilla that's not under the Quantrill leadership. Thomas was born in Monroe County, Missouri on April 25, 1844. On July 29, 1862, he joined Capt. Benjamin F. White's regiment in Colonel Joseph Porter's Missouri guerrillas. Just eight days after his swearing in, Thomas found himself, along with his brothers, James and Samuel, headlong into the battle of John McNeil's Union forces at Kirksville, Missouri on August 6, 1862 where James was captured. There is inconsistency in his military records dating October 20-23, 1862, regarding Thomas' surrendering at Mexico, Missouri in Audrain County, Missouri with other fellow guerrillas under White's regiment in Porter's command. Here is an excerpt from an official letter regarding the subject as written:
 
Office Provost Marshal
Mexico, Mo., October 23, 1862
Maj. Geo. Merrill ADO
Judge Advocate
 
Macon City
Major,
I beg leave to present the following additional report of prisoners now in my charge to wit:
 
A.J. Crigler - Age 27-Resident of Monroe-farmer surrendered 23rd Oct.-Left home about 1st of Aug.-never regularly joined into rebel service but attached to Price's Co.. Was with Porter when he took the -----? by New Ark Kirksville etc.
J.R. Crigler - Same statements as above-age 17. Resident of Monroe and surrendered this day.
Jno. Hanna - Age 21-Monroe Co.- Surrendered this day-Member Capt. White's (Rebel) Company.
W.J. Bell - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
T.C. Raney  - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
Henry Welch - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
S.M. Utterback - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
J.S. Raney - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
W.S. Painter - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
R.M. Donaldson - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
Henry Utterback - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
G. W. Turner - Member of Capt. White's Rebel band - Surrendered this afernoon.
 
I reported by yesterday's mail J.M. Cox, T.J. Davis, John Drake and Thos. Rouse as belonging to Purcell's band - I should have said to Capt. Charley Powell's Rebel Co.
Am with high regards
G. Oyeiser (?)
Pro/Mar.
Mexico, Mo.
 
  On March 27, 1863, it seems he figured his way out of imprisonment by "caving in" to the Union officials. While being imprisoned at Gratiot Street prison in St. Louis, Missouri, he gave a standard surrendering answer to this question on page 2 of his official statement "Have you ever been in any Rebel camp? If so, whose-when-where-and how long? What did you do? Did you leave it, or were you captured in it? He responded like this: "None but my own. August 1862. Different places. Two weeks, stood guard. I left it, we were disbanded. I went home. I was at home one month before I gave myself up, I saw I was wrong. I was scared into the rebel service and I was sorry for it. I would like to take the oath (illegible). I am not able to give a bond. T. C. Raney."
On May 20, 1863, Thomas re-upped with the Missouri Confederacy by joining the 9th Missouri Battalion, more commonly known as Pindall's Sharpshooters. Less than two months later, he deserted the regiment on the retreat from Helena, Arkansas. After the Kirksville battle, some of the citizens of the town gathered twenty six Confederate dead and buried them in a mass grave at Forest Llewellyn Cemetery in Kirksville. A monument stands tall in their memory and the name Thomas Reeves is etched on that stone. Reeves was one of Thomas' fellow guerrillas in White's company.
  Thomas' participation at Kirksville is noted for two significant reasons. One...the battle of Kirksville is still one of the most noted battles in northern Missouri. The second reason still raises ire and heated debate for one of the most heinous acts of war on Missouri soil. That would be the Palmyra Massacre.
  Thanks for reading. I'll see you soon with another historic and landmark post!
 
Picture credits: Gordon Hale (Raney gravestone), D.J. Raney (Raney potrait), both at FindAGrave.com