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Saturday, June 15, 2013

An unplanned ride through enemy lines

As I've mentioned before, by 1863 the fight in Missouri was mostly one between Union soldiers and militia and Confederate bushwhackers. Prominent among these irregular rebel fighters was Major Tom Livingston. He was quite successful for a time and gathered a lot of attention from Union forces.

On May 13, 1863, one Union detachment caught up with him at the Centre Creek lead mines. Livingston had about a hundred well-armed men and were probably in the area to get lead with which to make bullets. Union troops surprised him and attacked.

The official Union report states, "It was a desperate bushwhacking fight; both sides were hand-to-hand in the brush for awhile. Captain Henslee's horse became very much frightened, and charged immediately through the rebel crew; it is supposed fifty guns were fired alone at him in this passage; escaped unhurt. He fired as he went through; killed 1; charged back again in order to save himself and killed another."

If you're going into battle, make sure you can control your horse!


  1. Ha! Well, it's really hard to hit a moving target too. :)

  2. That they missed him AND his horse means they weren't very good shots, moving targets or not. How do you miss hitting a horse?

    1. Someone really needs to do a study of horse casualties in premodern wars. I know that in the Civil War they died in droves. Many reports state that large numbers of horses got shot.

  3. When something like that is shown in a movie we all shake our heads and say it couldn't happen that way.

  4. I don't know. Not controlling his horse seems to have worked quite well for him :-)


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