Emory Foster Letter to Cole Younger Dated July 27th, 1901

We are pleased to publish for the first time a letter by Emory Foster to Cole Younger dated July 27th,  1901. Below is a transcript of the letter, followed by scans of the letter and envelope, as well additional information about Foster.

"I did not telegraph or write you my congratulations because I saw Capt Bronaugh at my house the evening before he left for Minnesota and requested him, as he said he should be the first to see you, to give you my kindest regards and congratulations. You have a splendid friend in that indomitable man. It was through his initiative that I wrote the letter that I hope & believe helped you. However don't waste any time in expressing gratitude to me. How would it have ended with me at Lone Jack if you had not been there.  I only regret that the parole was not a full pardon. I am entirely disable from the wound I received at Lone Jack which reopened last September. I trust that you and your brother may succeed and be happy  as long as you live. Your friend Emory Foster."

We trust you will enjoy seeing a scan of the original letter below.

Foster was a Union major in the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry when he was ordered, in August, 1862, to march 20 miles to Lone Jack, Missouri with 800 men to force out the Confederates who were attempting to capture Jackson County. Foster and his brother were wounded and taken to a nearby cabin. The cabin was captured by guerrillas under William Quantrill and Foster was about to be executed when 18 year old Cole, himself a Confederate guerrilla, physically assaulted the gunman and threw him out, saving Foster's life. Foster would argue unsuccessfully for the pardon of Cole and Jim during the 1890s. With the original transmittal envelope addressed to Cole.

Emory Foster was born in Greene County, Missouri.Emory Foster was a staunch Unionist. According to legend whose brother Marshall was murdered by secessionists in early 1861.  During the American Civil War, on Emory formed a Unionist Home Guard company called "Foster's Mounted Rangers" in which he served as captain, enlisting on August 28, 1861. He later enlisted in the Federally funded Missouri State Militia, being elected major of the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry.

He and his men engaged in skirmishes around his new home in Warrensburg, Missouri and Foster gained a reputation as an aggressive commander. On August 15, 1862 after a two-day march from Warrensburg, Missouri to Lexington, Missouri, he was ordered to take 800 men on a 20-mile march to Lone Jack, Missouri to engage Confederate troops that were attempting to capture Jackson County, Missouri in what would become the Battle of Lone Jack.

Upon arrival, Foster's force encountered an 800-1,600 man sleeping Confederate recruiting force under Colonel John T. Coffee and Lieutenant Colonel John Charles Tracy and routed them.  However, the firing of Foster's artillery alerted other Confederate recruiting commands in the area of his presence and intent. Confederates under Colonels Vard Cockrell, Upton Hays, and DeWitt C. Hunter were joined by Lt. Col. Tracy and a fierce five hour battle ensued the next morning.

The Federals withdrew after Foster was wounded and Col. Coffee's command joined Cockrell. Foster and his brother were severely wounded, unable to withdraw, and were taken to a cabin. The cabin was captured by the Confederates and Foster was about to be executed by a member of Quantrill's Raiders when an 18-year old Cole Younger physically threw the gunman out sparing Foster and his brothers life. They gave $1,000 and their handguns to Younger who then delivered them to the Foster sons' mother in Warrensburg (all despite Younger's being a member of the Confederates).

In 1876, Younger as a member of the James-Younger Gang was captured in the botched Northfield, Minnesota bank robbery. Foster was to forcefully argue for a parole for Younger in the 1890s. Also arguing for the parole was future Secretary of War Stephen Benton Elkins whose only taste of combat had been at Lone Jack, an experience which he said filled him with disgust of war.

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