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Before the day was out Anderson and his cutthroats had killed, more pointedly murdered, one hundred forty-nine Union soldiers. At first, twenty-three unarmed Union troops were removed from a locomotive that was entering the town, stripped to their underwear and then summarily executed. The town was ransacked and, upon finding a barrel of whisky, the guerrillas indulged themselves to inebriation. In time, the horde left and journeyed two to three miles to the south, where it joined up with Todd and Thrailkill's bands. All total, nearly 250 to 300 guerrillas were now assembled as one group.
Within an hour a contingent of one hundred forty-seven Union troops arrived, known as the 39th Missouri State Militia, under the command of Major A.E.V. Johnson. The unit was newly formed and at best could be considered "green" in its lack of training, experience, and supplies. Their mounts consisted of former plow horses and instead of carrying carbines and revolvers the troops possessed single-shot Enfield rifles. The best of soldiers, let alone raw recruits, could only reload and fire a rifle three times in a minute. They were facing experienced guerrillas carrying three to six 6-shooter revolvers with a firepower of thirty-six shots in a minute.