Warren J Burgess
Surgeon, 17th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry
Warren J. Burgess enrolled in the 17th on Oct 10, 1861. He was mustered in on Feb 3, 1862 as the Surgeon at Calhoun for a three-year term. He mustered out with his unit on 23 January 1865 in Louisville.
Here follows a most intersting account stating that Burgess' brother was the notorious Confederate guirilla, Cantrell, who had in his unit the Younger Brother and William H. "Billy the Kid" Bonney.
Last Sunday two men were arrested at the Bates House as rebel spies. One goes by the name of Johnson, the other gave his name as Hart, but afterward acknowledge it to be Burgess. Some times last spring a communication was widely published, giving a history of Quantrill, which communication we give below. Without leading questions or any suspicion of the article, Burgess, in giving an account of himself, names nearly all the circumstances therein mentioned down to the killing of the Mexican. Doctor Burgees, surgeon of the Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry, states that he had a brother who left home a number of years since, from whom they had no direct communication, but that from what he had learned by various sources he believed him to be the man known as Quantrill. This man arrested on Sunday, knowing nothing of this, says he is a brother of Doctor Burgess, of the Seventeenth Kentucky. These circumstances are so clear as to warrant the use of all necessary means to establish the identity of the prisoner; and it is hoped that all persons who know anything of Quantrill will communicate with the authorities here. Colonel Hovey is making diligent inquiry in regard to the matter. It will be borne in mind that Quantrill appears to have been out of active service for some time, and it is not unlikely that he has been acting as a spy. The following is the article referred to:
Having seen so many different stories about the murder Quantrill, whose recent atrocities at Lawrence have thrilled the country, I deem it my duty to show the pubic, through your columns, who he is and something of his history. His name is really Henry Volney Burgees, and he was born in Todd County, Ky.
At one time he was a resident of Hopkinsville, in that State, and during the excitement of 1864 concerning the Davis murder, for which E A. Pennington was executed, and he not having a very good reputation, he went to Memphis and there associated himself with Fisher and Worthington, two gamblers, until the spring of 1850, when he removed to Texas, and was partner with a company of sports, such as Dean Mountain Jack, Old Horn, and others. He was very successful for a while, and changed his name to Hart.
He made the acquaintance of a very fine girl who lived on the banks of the Rio Honda, twenty-eight miles from Castorville, Tex., and representing himself as a land speculator, and having considerable money and fine mules attached to his ambulance, won and married the girl on the 21st of May; and about the 5th of June started with his bridge for California, but meeting with ill luck at Fort Davis and El Paso, lost all his outfit and money, and was compelled to remain there some time, living with a man named Ben Bowell, in Franklin, Tex.
During this time Charles Giddings, owner of the stage line from El Paso to San Antonio, saw his father-in-law and told him who Hard was and what he was doing. The old man came up with me to El Paso for his daughter, and would have killed her husband, but he crossed the river and could not be found. Hart came to me and represented himself broke, and wishing to come to California to make money by honest toil to support his wife and heir in expectancy, and as my company was small and the Indians bad, I consented. On our arrival at Mazatlin, Mex., he killed a Mexican robber named Miguel, and was tried before the alcalde and acquitted.
When we arrived at Los Angelos he left me, and I never saw him till the fall of 1856. I started home by way of Arizona Territory, and found Hard and Harrison at Taos, N. Mex., on their way to Utah. Captain Marcy was purchasing mules for the Utah army and I sold mine, but had to go to Fort Bridger for pay, and Hart again accompanied me, but this time with plenty of means. I remained in Utah for one year. During that time he won some $80,000, including 100 head of cattle from different parties. But the fast living of the chief, as he was called, soon relieved him of his money, and he left for parts unknown. On my arrival at Denver city he was there, and shot and killed a man named Jack O'Neil on the race course.
I again lost sight of him for some time, but after the rebellion broke out he made his way from Mexico to Arkansas, and was there joined by a few of his old associates, and proceeded to Missouri and commenced his career of murder. There was a man who came with me from Santa Fe. N. Mex., this spring who saw him, and he (Quantrill) sent a message to me by him, stating that he was in all his glory now.
WARRENSBURG, MO., September 15, 1864.
Major O. D. GREENE, Assistant
11:24 AM 5/30/2006