Friday, November 14, 2014

Assistance needed


 I have been contacted via our facebook page about two MO State Guards buried in Platte County, MO - who were executed at the hands of the Federals, buried and have no markers.  They want our help and we are going to try!  The two soldiers in question are:  Romulus "Black" Triplett and Gabriel Close.  Here is a link to the find-a-grave entry on Triplett.... PLEASE TAKE A LOOK AT THIS AND READ THE STORY.

 To get V/A stones will require a service record of some sort... so we need to find one.  The land owner is more than willing to allow us to place grave markers.  I have done a brief look and have not found a record, but some of you are far better at that than I am, so that is what I am asking at this time, for a few of you guys to see if you can find anything.

 Secondly, if nothing can be found, it is clear that these men served in some capacity and I would like for the MO Division to perhaps consider getting some sort of marker(s) for these two Missouri heroes.  It could be a single marker for both, or two single markers, either way would probably be appropriate.  We have the money, and I would like your thoughts on this.

 Let's see what we can do.  This is an opportunity to gain good positive "press" and public relations, but MOST importantly, it is something we should do for these Missouri Confederates.  Please help if you can, and do a "reply all" to this email if you can assist and/or find anything.

 Thank you.

 Darrell Maples - Cmdr.

 MO Division - SCV

Sent: Friday, November 14, 2014 11:56 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Assistance needed

On 11/13/2014 10:06 PM, Matthew Silber wrote:

 I do know that Paxton wrote of the incident in Paxton's annals. Paxton's Annals, pgs 321-322 details how Triplett and Close are taken to Bee Creek to be executed. Triplett is shot, but Close runs into the creek and flounders in the mud. Climbing the opposite side, he is met by a soldier who bayonets him several times – and leaves him dead in the mud. Paxton states that someone used Triplett's blood to write the letters "U.S" on the southwest corner of the bridge – which was there as a grim reminder for many years.

 I've walked Bee Creek. I would be curious to know if anyone has details on the location of the bridge Paxton talks about. I have a good idea, but would love to meet up with someone if they know. There was also a small battle near Bee Creek.

 I have some books on Silas Gordan too, if anyone is interested. Gordon was very active in Platte County during the war.


Sent: Friday, November 14, 2014 11:56 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Assistance needed

Paxton's _Annals_ says that William L. Kuykendall was captured with
Triplett and Close (p. 321).

Key Camp #1920 has an article reprinted from the Missouri Historical
Review that mentions the executions of Triplett and Close (scroll down
the the paragraph with footnote 27). It also mentions Maj. William L.

Judge William Littlebury Kuykendall wrote of Triplett and Close in his
memoirs, _Frontier Days_. He notes that Triplett and Close "were two of
Si Gordon's men and had left with him for the army" (p. 73).

Judge Kuykendall also explains why Triplett and Close were selected for
execution while he was spared (pp. 73-77, pasted below).


A matter of business at home connected with my
father's estate, who had died the year before, directly
after our removal from Kansas, required my presence
there and the enlistment of my company having expired,
it was mustered out and I went home for a few days'
stay. On the eve of returning to the Army an old school-
mate named Romulus (or Black) Triplett, whose father's
farm adjoined mine and another young man named
Gabriel Close, who were two of Si Gordon's men and
had left with him for the army, returned and stopped
at my house after nightfall. It was surrounded during
the night and we were made prisoners and taken to the
county seat one mile away and guarded in the Court
House, the finest in the State outside of St. Louis, where
I had officiated in the Circuit Clerk's office.

That night the business part of the town opposite the
Court House and the latter were set on fire by the sol-
diers and destroyed. We were taken out on the street
just as the roof fell in. Here we found the greater
part of a regiment of infantry and Rabbe's Indiana bat-


tery drawn up, with Colonel mounted and greatly ex-
cited as though he were seeing and was about to engage
an army of "Johnnies." An order from him in his ex-
cited state to shoot us would not have surprised me in
the least. The next day he marched out through the
country a few miles and back through town, camping at
a farm nearby on the road to Weston.

During that day's march, while realizing that we were
in the power of a man who imagined he saw an enemy
behind every tree in the woods and on the spur of the
moment was liable to have us shot, we could not help
being amused when at short intervals the roll of the
drums would be heard drawing the attention of the
women and children at farmhouses to the Colonel and
his staff, as Gordon and his men and several other com-
panies had left the county and were then nearing Price's
army. The idea of that brilliant military genius in
attempting to accomplish anything with infantry, and
a battery of artillery against the men who had marched
away and who could have easily kept out of his way if
they so desired, was afterwards repeated by the Govern-
ment in dealing with the Indians. This took place in
what is now Wyoming, after the volunteer regiments of
cavalry were mustered out in 1865 and 1866, when in-
fantry only could be found at military posts with the
Indians in possession of all the surrounding country.

Directly after nightfall, while we were seated on a log
of wood at a camp fire, an armed squad appeared stating
they wanted two of us. Not being certain as to which
two, they called for an officer who came and placing his
hand on Triplett and Close, said they were the two and
they were marched away and taken down the road about
a mile and a half to the Bee Creek battleground, where
Major Josephs and the boys who had just left for the
army had had fight a few weeks before. There Triplett
was shot and killed and Close would evidently have


escaped had he not been hampered by mud. He jumped
into the creek and was coolly bayoneted to death. The
next morning, when I was taken to where Triplett was
lying with his head against a large sycamore tree, I
noticed that he was but a few feet from the road which
had been struck by a cannon ball from Josephs' battery
in the fight mentioned in which Triplett and Close had
been engaged.

Upon reaching Weston I was paroled by the Major of
the regiment with the privilege of the town limits. A
friend having a good swift horse begged me to mount and
escape and I could have easily done so, but I had given
my word. That night when the Colonel arrived, he
ordered me into the Guard House with a number of
farmer prisoners who had never been near the Southern
Army. He threatened to have me shot unless I was ex-
changed for Captain Rabbe of Rabbe's Indiana battery,
telling my wife this when she came to see me two or
three days afterwards. Lieutenant Rabbe then in com-
mand of the battery being ordered back to Fort Leaven-
worth, demanded that I be turned over to him and I
was taken over there and paroled by him not to leave
his quarters.

After our supper his father, the paroled captain, came
in and while shaking my hand, said, ''You are not the
man I expected to see. He is a tall auburn-haired boy
who saved my life very recently when Si Gordon cap-
tured Captains Moonlight, White and myself on the
train at Weston and sent us with Black Triplett, your
brother and two or three others as guards to the camp
of Captain Carr several miles in the country. On the
way Triplett, while riding by my side with his revolver
in hand, raised it and would have killed me for I saw
murder in his eye, if your brother had not knocked the
pistol up, the bullet going through my hat.'' He said,
"you can not shoot a prisoner if I can help it." In re-


lating this, tears stood in his eyes and he said if you
and I are exchanged, when you reach the army you
tell him, if he should become a prisoner to let me know
that I may aid him.

Then I knew what in part had caused the killing of
Triplett and Close and why I did not share the same
fate. In contrast with Captain Rabbe's honoring his
parole, Moonlight, who was Governor of Wyoming dur-
ing Cleveland's first administration, broke his and
thereby came near getting Major Morin, a prominent
farmer and a neighbor of ours killed by Triplett and

Next morning Lieutenant Rabbe, in reporting to Gen-
eral Hunter, was asked if he did not have a prisoner
from across the river in his quarters, and upon getting
a reply in the affirmative, he was directed to place me
in the dirty guard house or take me back and turn me
over to the tender mercies of the valiant Colonel, who
by his course was driving many men to the Southern
Army who never would have left home. That day I
was escorted back where I remained four weeks in the
guard house with bricks being thrown through the win-
dows nearly every night. One guard who died with
smallpox a few days afterwards, attempted to bayonet
me. He would have accomplished this too, if I had not
seized and turned the bayonet aside and then held on
until one of the prisoners called another guard.

During that time the Major was placed under arrest,
and the Colonel placed the Lieutenant Colonel under
arrest for refusing to obey his order to burn all farm-
houses for three miles in one section of the country.
Then the Colonel was removed and soon after died on
Island Number Ten, and the Captain of Company A
was in command of the regiment until Colonel Madison
Miller of St. Louis assumed command. Before his ar-
rival, however, Captain Rabbe came over to see me about


the exchange and finding that I had never been paroled
as he had been and that I was still in the guard house,
he threatened to resign if I were not paroled at once.

My parole was ordered and I went home with bitter
feeling in my heart, to await the exchange papers which
finally came. I was placed in the list of recruiting
officers who worked through many parts of the State
during the war, keeping with others, thirty or forty
thousand militia and home guards busy who, however,
could not prevent our recruiting for the Southern Army.