Deadly Skirmish in Daviess County

Eight men dead and fifteen wounded in 1862 skirmish at Cravensville (today’s Jameson, MO).

Eight men dead and fifteen wounded in 1862 skirmish at Cravensville (today’s Jameson, MO).

On Monday morning Aug 5, 1862, there was Civil War activity in Daviess County that resulted in a clash at Cravensville that evening. The meeting of Union and Confederate forces south of Cravensville was not planned by either group.

A Gallatin lawyer, Col. James H.B. McFerran, had commanded the first regiment of Missouri State Militia since April 1862. One of his companies was commanded by Aaron B. Vickers (Farmer 42) and John Goodbrake. Capt. Vickers and Lt. Goodbrake planned to camp that night at Camp Everly a mile northeast of Cravensville, and en route met a rebel force commanded by Captain Jesse Clark of Livingston County. The forces met in near darkness just south of the small village of Cravensville, five miles northwest of Gallatin.

The rebels were moving south to support Confederate General Sterling Price on orders to march on Independence and Lexington on about the second week of August. Rebel forces were gathering with new recruits to join that effort. Men from northern counties of western Missouri were joining to move south, mostly at night in small groups, all mounted but several without arms.

The Union company under Capt. Vickers had only 35 men, but they were all armed with new rapid firing 52 caliber Sharp’s carbines. Capt. Vickers reported that a group of men estimated at 85 could be seen as he prepared to cross the Grand River at the Larry Creek Ford south of Cravensville. The rebel force appeared to be camped near the road. Rebel pickets moved back to warn the Confederates, so Capt. Vickers knew it was a rebel force and that he was in for some action with his new model carbines.

Capt. Vickers alerted his men to load and cap their weapons before crossing the ford. Unarmed rebels on horseback could be seen to flee through Cravensville. About 25 armed rebels formed a quick defense in place along the south road just outside of town and fired upon the Union force as it came up the road from the river. Capt. Vickers dismounted his company north of the river and kept up the fire for nearly 90 minutes until the few remaining able rebels fled to the north as darkness covered the
countryside.

The Union force captured 15 horses, 10 guns and 16 of the rebels, all dead or wounded. Five of Vicker’s men had received wounds, mostly upon the opening blast from the Confederates. Three more rebels were captured in the search that continued through the 7th of August. Two rebels found to be previously paroled where shot by firing squad by orders of the Union Command.

The executed men were Thomas Hicklin and Daniel Hole. Other men identified in the rebel force were Dr. F.M. Davis, Frank Hicklin, Daniel and John Kessler, Joe Kirk, William Darr and Charles Goben.

The battle near the Missouri River took place from August 11 to the 17th. For the most part, it was a rebel victory. The Confederate mistake at Cravensville was to form up before they were armed, trained, and supplied. This mistake cost the rebels eight dead and 10 wounded. Capt. Clark and the other rebel leaders, Davis and Kirk, escaped the skirmish at Cravensville. At that time, Cravensville had 10 to 12 houses and some 60 inhabitants.

Prepared by David Stark