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The Cheltenham Affair.


October 1864

From The Missouri Democrat, Tuesday, October 5, 1864.

The Cheltenham Affair.

Editors Missouri Democrat:

As the rebels are giving a modified account of this affair, which makes it a very trivial circumstance, at the request of Mr. Mueggs, now confined to his bed, I give a detailed account of all the facts as they occurred.

On last Thursday evening, about eight o’clock, Mr. M. was standing in the door of his store, when he observed four horsemen coming up the road from towards the city. When opposite his store they halted and held a conversation in an undertone, and then turned their horses towards the fence. Two of the men dismounted and gave the reins of their bridles to the other men to hold. They then approached Mr. M., who supposed they wanted something from the store, and stepped back to wait on them. They came in at the door and, and took a survey of the store, and then asked him how far it was to the next military post. He told them about five miles to St. Louis. They then asked him whether there was a military post above, and how far. He told them there was one above, that he did not know the distance, but supposed it might be from five to six miles. Then, observed one to his companion, we are just about between them. Here Mrs. M., who, from a side light, had observed the men, called out to her husband, in German, to beware, as those were dangerous men, and came for some evil purpose. After asking him about the number and distribution of forces, but of which he told them he knew nothing, they asked him, “What are you?” Mr. M. said, I do not understand exactly what you mean. “We mean what is your politics?” Mr. M.–I am a Union man. “Did you ever hold any office under the Lincoln Government?” Mr. M.–Yes, I am now postmaster at this place. “Then,” said they, both drawing their pistols, “you are one of the fellows we are after, and there are some other fellows like you here; you have all to die; we came here to kill you.” At this, Mrs. M. sprang in between them and her husband, exclaiming, he is my husband, and if you kill him you have to shoot through my body, at the same time calling to her husband, in German, to run for his life. They ordered her to leave in a very rough manner, but finding she would not, they attempted to shoot over her shoulder, but she knocked away their pistols. In the meantime Mr. M. sprang into the hall, and escaped, making his way on foot and bareheaded to the nearest military post, the fort, and from thence to General Pike’s headquarters. After waiting for hours, he about two o’clock at night was admitted, but found no one who had authority to act; he then returned to his home, which he reached between three and four o’clock in the morning.

These are the facts as I have them from Mr. M. and his family, whose truthfulness none acquainted with them will question. Now the “secesh” have invented and are circulating the story that these men were Union officers. That they went into the store and wanted some liquor, which Mr. M.’s son refused them, unless they paid for it; that an altercation ensued, in which the father got mixed, and that they threatened to shoot him, &c.; all of which, from beginning to end, is a fabrication. They never asked for liquor, or for anything else, except that they demanded of Mrs. M., after her husband had escaped, to deliver them all the money in the house. She told them there was no money in the house; they never kept money in the house as these troubles commenced, but sent it every evening to the city. They then left without taking anything.

Mr. M. describes the men is fully six feet high, straight, and of bronzed complexion; believes they might have some Indian blood from their complexion and features; wore long dusters, buttoned up, under which he saw the collar of the rebel uniform. Had on long Mexican spurs, and believes had moccasins on their feet, and says he never saw such men in the neighborhood before.


CHELTENHAM, October 3, 1864.