About ten days before the surrender at Appomattox a
was anchored in the middle of the Mississippi River a short distance below
St. Louis, on which was a Federal paymaster with sixty thousand dollars
in sheet money which he was taking to St. Louis to pay off the soldiers.
Capt. John Jacobs, of General Marmaduke's staff, and six of his most trusted
lieutenants made their way to this boat in broad daylight, unnoticed by
anybody, and with drawn revolvers overpowered the paymaster and his
assistants, the officers and employees of the boat, taking all of them prisoner. When they boarded the vessel, they found all hands carrying on high carnival, gambling and imbibing very freely of that article which "biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder."
Among other persons on the boat was a gentleman who
had been playing Confederate with these same boys only a short time before
and was immediately recognized by them. He was either a Confederate deserter
or a Federal spy, they could not determine which; but they proceeded at
once to act on the advice of Gen. John A. Dix when he expressed himself
about a man
who tore down the American flag. They shot him on the spot. They then took possession of the sixty thousand dollars, placed it in gunney sacks, burned the boat, then rowed to a sandbar in the river, where they dumped paymaster and boat crew, went ashore, where their horses were hitched, and made good their escape. They were paroled about ten days later at Shreveport, La. Three of the six men, with Captain Jacobs, are now living in Shelby County, MO.---James Tuggle, Robert Magruder, and William Priest.
If any one knows of a bolder, braver, more dare-devil exploit, better planned or executed, let him tell of it.
Published in 1915 in Confederate Veteran Magazine.
Republished 1999 in "Missouri's Sons of the South",
by Missouri Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.