A Daring Exploit of Rebels


Attempt to Murder the Postmaster


The Missouri Republican
October 1, 1864
(The raid itself was September 28, 1864)

We have information of a most daring proceeding on the part of rebel guerillas Wednesday evening at Cheltenham, on the Pacific railroad, only four miles from the city.

Mr. Augustus Muegge, Postmaster at Cheltenham, arrived at the militia camp at eight o’clock Wednesday evening, and as soon as possible was sent into the city and reported at Post Headquarters the following facts:

Between five and six o’clock Thursday, evening four men rode up to his door, two of whom discounted and went in, the other two remaining outside and holding the horses. They were all splendidly mounted and finely dressed with ‘duster’ over their fine clothes. When the two men entered they asked Mr. Muegge “which side he was on?” Mr. Muegge replied he did not know what they meant. “What’s your position?” asked the intruders. “I am a Union man,” replied Mr. M. They then asked if he had ever held office under the Lincoln Government. Mr. M. replied “Yes – I hold office now. I am Postmaster here.” “Then,” said the stranger, “it’s just such men as you that we went to kill,” and one of them drew a revolver, cocked it, and was pointing it at Muegge when the latter’s wife rushed between them and declared they must first kill her. The assailant point the pistol over the shoulder of the woman, but she threw it up and Muegge dodged out his back door and made his escape.

The Post Office is situated some half mile from the depot of Cheltenham station. As soon as Mr. Muegge could procure a horse, he came to the city and reported at the militia camp on the Olive Street road, the above facts; but owing to the great delay on account of the incredibility of the story , the statement was not reported at headquarters until Friday morning. Mr. Muegge reported also that he heard of a similar party being at a house two miles from Cheltenham on the Manchester road.

A scout was sent out immediately, but nothing had been heard from it up to a late hour last night.

The affair is enveloped in some mystery, it being the presumption that the fellow were regular officers from the invading army now menacing the Pacific railroad. They displayed the regular Confederate uniform, and were evidently old soldiers. Every bridge and ford on the Meramec is well guarded and it is impossible that those men could have crossed at any of these. Such is the official statement. The most plausible explanation is, that the fright of the Postmaster induced him to imagine a great deal more than he saw, and in his statement drew largely on his fancy.


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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu