The Kingsville Massacre

Worth Countians in the Civil War

Death is certainly not unusual in time of war; it is a given. But, it has a definite sting when it affects your own. Many of the men and boys of Worth County, mostly farmers, joined the Missouri Militia during the course of the Civil War, each for his own purpose. He could fight for a belief, he could earn a few dollars a month to help his family and, by joining the Militia rather than the Regular Army, he had an excellent chance of staying relatively close to home. The counties along and south of the Missouri River were heavily populated with Confederate sympathizers and, by early 1863, required an ever- increasing number of Northern troops to contain(?) the depredations of dozens of guerrilla bands that had overrun the countryside. Military commands were consolidated, and new companies organized within various regiments. Many were far below optimum strength and officers were authorized to solicit new recruits, principally from the northern tiers of counties. In an effort to strengthen Company M, 1st Regiment, M.S.M, recruiters focused on Gentry County, and what would become Worth County. Thus, a large number of the company was from this area. Every enrollee could have told a story, and most would return to tell theirs. Some, however, would not. Z.P. Cadle was one of them.

Zacharia Preston Cadle enrolled in Company M, 1st Regiment, of the Missouri Militia Cavalry at Gallatin, Missouri, on 15 June 1863 and was mustered into service at Lexington, Missouri the following 22 August. Company M, formed almost entirely of enrollees from Worth and Gentry Counties, was attached to the 1st in July, 1863.

At the time Cadle arrived at Lexington, the officer in charge of Company M was Captain William McGhee. But, six days later, McGhee was dismissed for incompetency. Captain Seymour Cobb assumed command of the company, but by December, had been demoted to the rank of 1st Lt. and the company handed to Captain James Eads, who remained at the position until mustered out in February, 1865.

On the date Cadle began service, a diminished Company M was already operating against raiders commanded by William Quantrell and 'Bloody Bill' Anderson, as well as a host of loosely associated guerrilla bands dominating the area.

As guerrilla warfare progressed in western Missouri, the companies of the 1st were constantly shuffled to different locations in order to scout, pursue, engage, and in any other way hinder the movements of, and destroy, the bands. From September, 1863, Company M was assigned to Lexington, and scouted and skirmished several times in Lafayette County. From April, M carried out the same duties in Johnson County, being assigned to Warrensburg. In May, the company was detached to a camp in Holden, to the west of Warrensburg.

Cadle furnished his own horse and equipment, as Company records show him due pay for their 'use and risk' several times during his enlistment. On December 30, 1863, he was granted a furlough to return home, but apparently did not return on time as on 20 February 1864 he was found guilty of being absent without leave and fined one dollar by a Regimental Court Martial.

'Finding and sentence confirmed. Stoppage of pay will be made by the proper officer of Company M 1st Cavalry M.S.M. and the prisoner released from confinement and returned to duty.'
E.B. Brown
Brig. Gen.

[A possible reason for the leniency shown Cadle, was that he had taken the furlough to be with his ill son, William. The 14 year-old boy died on 6 January 1864.]

In April, records show that he was on detached duty with Lt. Cobb. And, then, a final notice, 'killed by guerrillas on the line of the Pacific R.R. on June 12, 1864.'

  • Military Reports about the massacre

  • Roster of Company M

  • Recruits known to be from Worth County

  • Dead and Buried victims and burials

  • Letter written by Z.P. Cadle

  • Pension Jane Cadle Pension Requests

  • Yearly Report-1863 of the 1st Regiment

  • Yearly Report-1864 of the 1st Regiment


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