Camp at Pawnee Creek, Oct. 4th, 1864.
Your letter of the 25th ult. I received today. My last to you was the 24th ult. Since my last to you, two of our best men have been inhumanly murdered by guerillas within 6 miles of our camp... Two men, by name John Riley and Alston Montgomery, the latter from Boscobel, Wis., had several horses which they had hired pastured at, or near Humboldt. About a week since, they learned the horses had been stolen from the pasture, and they got permission to go to Humboldt to look for them. They accordingly started, and, when about 6 miles from camp, on the road to Humboldt, there were three men and a boy sitting down some ten or fifteen rods from the road. One of the men beckoned with his hand for our boys to come to them. They, apprehending no danger, without hesitation, rode toward them, side by side. Our boys were armed with pistols only. When within 20 feet of the guerillas, they (guerillas - MJM) rose to their feet and host our men with rifles before they could draw their revolvers from their belts, killing Montgomery instantly and wounding Riley; whereupon Riley saw he was overpowered and said, "I surrender," and took off his belt and pistol, handing it to one of the Rebels; who, receiving it, said, "Who asked you to surrender, you damn son of a bitch," and then shot him through the head with his own revolver, then shot them several times more and stabbed them three times each. The boy they had was a prisoner who was carrying the mail. The mail and the boy they intended to take with them; but the boy made his escape, the night being very dark, and got to our camp with the sad news in the morning. Since then we have been in constant pursuit, but without success. I do not know as this will even reach you, as the mail has to go over the Hannibal and St. Joseph R R, which was fired into a few days since, stopping and burning the train and robbing the passengers of all they had... 100 men pursued the Rebels, not knowing their force, and 80 of the 100 were killed. This is a dispatch which came to Fort Scott, and may not have been as bad as represented.
The weather is very cold here and I am writing on my knees, in my test without fire. I fear we shall suffer the coming winter. I am destitute of drawers -- as well as the rest of the men. We need them very much, we are so much exposed to the inclement season. Six men and a sergt. have to stand picket guard every night. Tonight is my turn and it is cold, wet and dreary. But it is no consolation to you to hear my complaints. I am well only the rheumatism. The dreary winter looks as hard to me as you, and I live in hopes that before another I may be permitted to be and remain with you. I fear this letter will appear as cold and dreary as the season; but my Dear Wife, my heart and soul is as warm for you as it ever was, and it is needless for me to say to you that it would be the greatest of all blessings and comfort to me to be with you through the coming winter. Inclosed, I send you $5.00 in each letter till I tell you to the contrary... I received a letter from Manley a few days since. Both well... Write soon. God bless and protect you all till I return. As ever your affection Husband
C. N. Mumford.
P S. We are going to have some drawers and shirts this week.
P S. 2nd -- Since writing this we have news that the Rebel General Price is in possession of the Hannibal and St. Joseph R R., with a force of 30,000. There have been three trains captured and burned. I fear this will never reach you; therefore, I opened the letter and took out the money. I think we will start for St. Jo in a day or two, which will bring me 200 miles nearer to you. Direct Fort Scott as usual.