When Friends Don't Play Well Together

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First Sergeant
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Thread Medic
Jul 23, 2017
Southwest Missouri

Photo of Battery M 1st MO Artillery
In the latter part of 1863 a bloody fight occurred in the city between members of the Twenty-Sixth Indiana Regiment and a number of artillery men belonging to the First Missouri Artillery. It resulted in the killing of three privates of the Indiana regiment and in the wounding of several others.

Col. Wheatly was then the commander of the post, and but for his cool and determined course there might have been a terrible slaughter. The Indiana regiment was camped in the hollow in the northwest suburbs of the town. The First Missouri Artillery was camped in the southeast suburbs nearly a mile of!'. Four or five members of the artillery got into a fisticuff among themselves on the corner of Ohio and Second, where the First National Bank is now located. While they were fighting a squad of the Indiana men stood near watching the contest.

At this moment Capt. Flannagan of the artillery rode up. He watched the fight a moment and then began to curse his men and ask them if they could not find any one else to fight but their own comrades. The Indiana men who stood near enjoying the scene and urging on the combatants, caught his eye and it enraged him. He told his men they had better turn their attention to the Indiana men. The two squads began to chaff each other, and before many minutes a dozen men were fighting like tigers. While the men were all mixed up in the struggle, a huge Indianian, over six feet in height, seized a big knot of cordwood and hurled it among the fighters. The Indiana men had no arms but the artillery men had their revolvers.

When the billet of wood was thrown among them, they drew their revolvers, and in a few moments did bloody work. They fired several volleys into the Indiana squad. Three men fell to the prairie sod dead, and several went off bleeding from wounds. The fight then stopped, and the parties engaged in it scattered and went to their respective camps.

Captain Flannagan ordered his lieutenant to bring out the battery of six pieces of artillery. In a few moments came the rumble of wheels, the rattling of trace chains and the tramp of many horses, and the six field pieces were wheeled into position on the rising ground about Lafayette street and Third. The town was wild with excitement. Officers were galloping hither and thither, and citizens pale and terrified were gathered in squads on the streets preparing to flee from the town.
The Indiana regiment got under arms, came to the town on the double quick, with fixed bayonets, and by the order of Col. Wheatley were stationed in squads in the protection of the houses all around the artillery. A regiment of cavalry was camped on the Muddy over near Georgetown. An orderly was sent post haste for this regiment, and in a half an hour the entire command came thundering over the prairie from Georgetown, and completed the circle of troops around the battery.

While the two bodies were standing awaiting some hostile movement, it was a period of the most intense anxiety. One shot or one hasty command would have produced a bloody fight, for the men on both sides were roused to fury, and ready for any desperate deed. But the artillerymen were outnumbered and surrounded, and the subordinate officers, including the lieutenant, disenclined to let the men fight. Col. Wheatly sent word to them that if they did not go back quietly to their camp in half an hour that he would open fire on them with his infantry, order the cavalry to charge the battery, and that he would not stop until every man in the battery was shot, sabred or bayoneted.

Reluctantly and sullenly the guns were coupled up and slowly dragged back to camp and peace restored. This was the most exciting event of the war history in Sedalia, except the attack on the town by the Confederates in October, 1864.

The History of Pettis County

Note - the 26th Indiana was stationed at Sedalia in late 1861 and until July 1862, but not in 1863. Also, Colonel Wheatley resigned Sept 27, 1862.
The only Flannagan I can find in NPS records was a private who was temporarily attached to the 1st MO - no other info.
Battery E was in Lexington in late 61 and early 62 - known as Cole’s Battery
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1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Sep 17, 2011
Were the shooters ID'ed, arrested and charges brought against them? A very interesting story and thank you for posting.
If going by the record of prosecutions against jayhawkers, or Union troops such as in the St Louis massacre...….more then likely never charged