When: November 8, 2014
Time: 2 p.m.
The Adkins Couts cemetery is located on Venture Road in Morgan county, Mo. Venture Road ends in a loop that goes through a residential area on the Lake of the Ozarks. The cemetery is at the top of the hill on the loop.
To get to the cemetery go to Stover, Mo. on Highway 52. Turn south on highway 135 at Stover. Proceed to Ivy Bend Road and turn right. Follow Ivy Bend Road to Webb Loop and turn right at the GEM mini mall. Follow this road for about two miles. Stay to the right when the road forks. the street sign says Venture Road. Follow Venture Road to the cemetery. The cemetery has a metal fence around it. Park along the road on the same side as the cemetery.
Perhaps I should mention that the Missouri Department of Conservation has a public fishing area on Webb Loop called Wigwam School Access. There is a sign for Wigwam School Access across from the Gem mini mall. If you can find Wigwam School Access you are almost to Venture Road and the cemetery.
A little History about this Cemeterey:
Five Unknown Soldiers
Some thirty years ago the residents of Venture Valley were clearing brush from an overgrown cemetery in their neighborhood, when they found a common fieldstone bearing the inscription “Five Rebel Soldiers.” Since then the stone has disappeared, but the memory of it has not. The question remains to this day; who were they?
There were no skirmishes reported in the immediate area of the cemetery during the war. There were, however, a few small skirmishes reported on Deer Creek, farther to the west. The largest of these occurred on October 16, 1863, but it is unlikely that the dead from these skirmishes would have been transported to the north side of the Osage River, and then another nine miles as the crow flies to the Adkins-Couts cemetery.
So how did the five Rebel soldiers come to be buried in the Adkins-Couts cemetery? The most plausible explanation stems from a sweep of the town of Versailles and the surrounding neighborhoods on March 25, 1862, by a company of the Federal Sixth Missouri Volunteers, with the assistance of a detachment of Missouri State Militia Cavalry. They had been sent to root out a band of fifteen or twenty Southern recruits who had been stealing horses and harassing the Union citizens of the town at night. This detachment took a number of suspects into custody and attempted to extract information from them. Lt. Col. James H. Blood, reported that some of these captives were suspended with a rope by the neck. One young male, described by his captors as a boy, was hung the most. After repeated hangings he “confessed his complicity with the gang…told five names connected with it…described some of the horses they had stolen and said the gang left that morning and would camp that night on Buffalo Creek twenty miles distant.”
The most important part of Blood’s report concerning the actions of the Federal detachment sent to Versailles is what he did not say. He wrote his report because he had been ordered by his superiors to investigate accusations that his troops had acted improperly at Versailles by hoisting several of their prisoners by their necks. Blood defended his men’s actions, by maintaining they had gotten valuable information from their prisoners.
Blood had reported his men knew the names of five recruits who would camp on Buffalo Creek on the evening of March 25th. His men had been sent to Versailles to put and end to the harassment of the Union citizens by the recruits. This begs the question; did his men pursue them? The obvious answer is they probably did. Had his troops skirmished with the recruits, he certainly would have reported it. However, if they had captured the recruits and executed them without a trial, Blood would have had good reason not to make the admission in writing. This would have been especially so, since his superior, Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck in St. Louis had issued a death order on March 13, 1862, for individuals who joined guerrilla bands. Halleck, however, backtracked in April and clarified the meaning of his order to require a legal process before the death penalty could be enforced.
No report has been found which states who the five Confederate soldiers were who are buried at the Adkins-Couts cemetery or how they died. Had it not been for the words “Five Rebel Soldiers” inscribed on a common field stone to mark their grave, we would not know these men ever existed or endeavored to serve their then divided country. Once again a stone has been inscribed in their memory, may it long remain.
Everyone is welcome to join this event of a dedication on the unknown Confederate Soldiers.
Paul Lawrence, Commander Maj. Gen. J. O. Shelby camp #191