Official Records

Reports of the Battle of Carthage excerpted from the Official Records

Reports of the Battle of Carthage
excerpted from the Official Records

Missouri State Guard:

Brig. Gen. James S. Rains, Second Division, Missouri State Guard
Col. Richard H. Weightman, First Brigade, Second Division, Missouri State Guard
Brig. Gen. John B. Clark, Third Division, Missouri State Guard
Brig. Gen. William Y. Slack, Fourth Division, Missouri State Guard
Brig. Gen. Monroe M. Parsons, Sixth Division, Missouri State Guard
Col. James McCown, Second Cavalry, Eighth Division, Missouri State Guard
Col. R. L. Y. Peyton, Third Cavalry, Eighth Division, Missouri State Guard
Lt. Col. Richard A. Boughan, Seventh Cavalry, Eighth Division, Missouri State Guard
Col. B. A. Rives, First Cavalry, Fourth Division, Missouri State Guard

Confederate States:

Brig. Gen. Ben. McCulloch, McCulloch’s Brigade, C.S.A.

United States:

Capt. T. W. Sweeny, 2nd U.S. Infantry
Col. Franz Sigel, Third Missouri Infantry, US
Brig. Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, Army of the West, US

From: JAMES S. RAINS, Brig. Gen., Commanding Second Division, Missouri State Guard

To: Brig. Gen. W. HOUGH, Adjutant-General, Missouri State Guard

July 20, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report to you the action of my division in the several engagements of the 5th instant.

About 1 o’clock on the morning of the 5th I received an order from your excellency to take up the line of march at 4 a.m. southward towards Carthage, assigning my command to the right front. My force consisted of the First Brigade, commanded by Colonel Weightman, of the First Cavalry. This brigade was composed of Capt. Hiram Bledsoe’s company of artillery (three pieces – one 12-pounder and two 6-pounders), 40 men, and Captain McKinney’s detachment of infantry, 16 men, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Rosser, of the First Infantry; Colonel Graves’ independent regiment infantry, 271 men; Colonel Hurst’s Third Regiment Infantry, 521 men, and Lieutenant-Colonel O’Kane’s battalion of infantry, 350 men, being in all 1,204 strong.

The cavalry brought on the field Consisted of Companies A and B and part of H of the Third Cavalry, 115 men, commanded by Colonel Peyton, to whom was attached the companies of Captains Stone and Owens. The First Battalion of the Independent Cavalry. 250 men commanded by Colonel McCown; Lieutenant-Colonel Boughan’s battalion of the Fourth Cavalry, 200 men, and Capt. Joseph O. Shelby’s company of Rangers, 43 men, making a total of 1,812 men. The remaining portion Of my command, being unarmed, was used to present the appearance of a reserve corps and baggage guard. My division took up the line of march as ordered, and most of them without having prepared any breakfast.

About 7 a.m., having marched some 5 miles, our scouts reported the enemy in force 3 miles in advance. I immediately went forward with some of my staff to reconnoiter their movements and examine the ground. -Perceiving that they were descending a slope towards a creek skirted on both sides with timber, I sent orders to Captain Shelby, who was in the advance, to halt and detain the whole command out of view, hoping that the enemy would cross the creek, when I could oblige them to take position in the bottom, while I drew up my force on the height commanding it. My expectations were realized, and after the enemy had crossed the creek I ordered Captain Shelby forward to check their advance. I then directed Colonel Weightman to deploy the brigade in order of battle on the ridge of prairie overlooking the enemy. This order was executed with celerity and precision, he placing Colonel Graves on the right, the artillery in the center, and Colonel Peyton to take position on the right of the First Brigade, and extend over their line as far as practicable towards the timber, the other division taking position on the left of my command. The ground upon which our army was drawn up was a high ridge of prairie, gently sloping southward, with undulations to a creek about one mile and a quarter distant. In front of our right was a large field of corn extending to the timber on the creek. The enemy, under command of Colonel Sigel, apparently about 2,000 strong, with seven pieces of artillery, took up their position on the north side of the creek, about three-quarters of a mile from the timber, and threw a few spherical-case shot at Captain Shelby’s company, which was ordered back to the main line. This movement, conducted in the face of both armies, was executed with a precision worthy of the parade ground.

I then sent this company to the extreme right, to reconnoiter the timber and examine for a crossing. The action commenced by the enemy opening a heavy fire from their battery. This was promptly responded to by the artillery of General Parsons’ command which had unlimbered on the left of my division. Captain Bledsoe, under the direction of Colonel Weightman, then opened a steady and well-directed fire upon the densest of the enemy’s masses, forcing them to take refuge in the depression of prairie and finally to retire some 200 yards, when Colonel Weightman promptly and gallantly advanced his whole brigade in battle order and reopened his fire from Captain Bledsoe’s guns. By this time I had led the cavalry on the right through the corn field with a view of our flanking the enemy, or, if the ground was suitable, of charging their battery.

The enemy opened with some execution a well-directed fire of grape and spherical-case shot upon our advancing column, which sustained itself with much gallantry, and Colonel Sigel, fearing that his army would be outflanked, and suffering very much from the rapid and well directed fire from Captain Bledsoe’s battery, retired under cover of his battery across the creek.

Colonel Weightman, in his report, speaks in the highest terms of the coolness and steadiness of the First Brigade throughout this portion of the engagement, and I bear grateful testimony as to the eagerness with which the cavalry desired to charge over the most unfavorable ground. Our loss up to this time was very small.

Colonel Weightman, now joined by Colonel Hurst’s regiment, advanced, and perceiving the enemy posted on a ridge beyond the creek, unlimbered Within 400 yards of the enemy’s battery and opened upon them with round shot and canister, while the infantry advanced to engage the enemy at close quarters. This point was severely contested and the loss great.

The officers of Captain Bledsoe’s artillery are reported to have most gallantly served their guns in person, two of them (Lieutenants Wallace and Higgins) after being wounded; the latter falling exhausted under the muzzle of his piece.

Lieutenant-Colonel O’Kane, in the most gallant style, pressed forward with his command, and, aided by a portion of General Clark’s division, repulsed the enemy from their position.

Colonel Sigel again commenced a retrograde movement, and retreated across a prairie 5 miles to Spring River, closely followed by the infantry and artillery. The cavalry under my command, joined by a regiment of General Slack’s division, commanded by Colonel Rives, endeavored to outflank them on the right, but the retreat was so rapid as to defeat our object. On nearing Spring River we attempted to intercept the enemy’s crossing, but they again opened a heavy and destructive fire from their artillery, which compelled us to take a crossing higher up, and, pushing forward, endeavored to surround the town.

For the details of the actions of the First Brigade in their several contests for the city I refer you to the able report of Colonel Weight-man.

As I was enabled to reach the rear of Carthage, I dismounted the whole command, who eagerly pressed to the support of their comrades engaged in town, and just arrived in time to see the complete rout of the enemy.

Our loss in these engagements amounts to 44 killed and wounded. Lieutenant-Colonels Rosser and O’Kane and Captain Bledsoe are favorably introduced to my notice by Colonel Weightman, and I take great pleasure in seconding his recommendation, and ask leave to add to the list the name of Col. Richard H. Weightman as deserving a brevet for gallant and meritorious.

To the officers and men of my command I return my thanks for their, gallant bearing and their dauntless zeal for the cause so dear to us all. The great object of our march is about complete, and, though commenced under difficulties that discourage many, yet, with a column of veteran troops threatening our rear and powerful force of the enemy in front, we can congratulate Ourselves on a victory which is but the prestige of our ultimate success.

To Colonels McMertre and Woodard, Assistant Quartermaster Barkery, and others of my staff, I am indebted for their aid in conveying orders, and to my aide-de-camp, Lieutenant-Colonel Maclean, for his assistance in the disposition of the forces and arrangement of the line of battle.

The report of Colonel Weightman and other officers, along with the list of killed and Wounded, is hereby attached and made a part of this report.

I am, sir, with much consideration, your obedient servant,

JAMES S. RAINS, Brig. Gen., Comdg. Second Division, Missouri State Guard

From: R. H. WEIGHTMAN, Colonel, First Brigade, Second Division, Missouri State Guard.

To: Brig. Gen. JAMES S. RAINS, Commanding Second Division, Missouri State Guard

July 17, 1861.

GENERAL: In obedience to your orders I have the honor to report the operations of my First Brigade of your division of the Missouri State Guards in the battles of 6th instant, and will of course strictly confine myself to its operations without mention of the actions of others, unless in cases where such mention may be necessary to explain the movements, &c., of this brigade. The First Brigade on the day of the battles was 1,204 strong, composed as follows: Lieutenant-Colonel Rosser, First Regiment Infantry, commanding; Capt. Hiram Bledsoe’s company of artillery, three pieces (one 12 and two 6 pounders), 46 men, and Captain McKinney’s detachment of infantry, 16 men, and Colonel Graves’ Second Regiment of Infantry, 271 men; Colonel Hurst’s Third Regiment of Infantry, 521 men; Lieutenant-Colonel O’Kane’s battalion of infantry, 350 men.

On the morning of the 5th of July, about 8 o’clock, while the Army of Missouri was on the march southward towards Carthage, about 10 miles from that place (your division in advance), I was directed by you to deploy my brigade in order of battle, to meet the enemy, more than 2,000 strong, with eight pieces of artillery, then advancing to attack us. Accordingly I arranged the brigade in order of battle, Colonel Graves on the right, the artillery in the center, and Lieutenant-Colonel O’Kane on the left. At this time Colonel Hurst was 3 miles in the rear with his regiment, which, having marched since 4 o’clock in the morning without breakfast, had, with my authority and of necessity, stopped to prepare a meal. I immediately dispatched a courier to the rear for him, and directed him to come forward at speed and take position on the right of Colonel Graves. You, general, with the remainder and greater portion of your command (composed principally of mounted men), while I was deploying, took position on the extreme right of the Army of Missouri. On the line thus taken by your division the other divisions formed as they successively came on the ground.

The engagement was begun about 8.30 o’clock a.m. by the enemy’s artillery, which opened a heavy fire of round shot, shell, spherical-case shot, and grape. This was promptly responded to by the artillery of General Parsons’ division, four 6-pounders, which had unlimbered in gallant style immediately on the left off my brigade. Captain Bledsoe then opened upon the enemy a steady and well-directed fire, by my direction, aiming at the densest of the enemy’s masses, ceasing fire whenever the enemy, driven from their ranks, took refuge in depressions on the plains so as to be out of sight, and reopening upon them as they again showed themselves in masses, notwithstanding the fire from the enemy’s artillery was rapid and well directed, and continued for forty minutes. Our loss, owing to the fact that our line presented no depth to them, was small.

At this point Major Murray, of Lieutenant-Colonel O’Kane’s battalion, had his horse shot under him by grape shot. The enemy then slowly retired for about 200 yards, halted, and commenced the engagement, when I advanced the whole line of the brigade in battle order, and reopened fire upon him by Captain Bledsoe’s guns, General Parsons’ artillery having by this time retired, as I learn, for want of ammunition. At this time the cavalry of your division, under your immediate command, was closing on the enemy’s left flank, and at the same time a large body of cavalry from some of the other divisions was threatening his right flank, and the enemy, after cannonading us but a few minutes, again retired under cover of the fire of his artillery, passing through the timber which skirted its banks, crossed Bear Creek, one of the tributaries of Spring River, about 1 ½ miles in rear of their second position.

Up to this time the engagement had been in the open prairie, without shelter for the infantry or artillery of my brigade, who, being immediately in front of the enemy and in his line of attack, received the great severity of his fire. I cannot too much commend to your favorable notice the steadiness, worthy of disciplined troops, displayed by infantry and artillery of the brigade. Before the enemy returned the second time, Colonel. Hurst, with his regiment, came forward from the rear at double-quick time, and took the position assigned him on the right of Colonel Graves. I again advanced in battle order the whole line of the brigade.

As I neared the timber, proceeding along the road I discovered the enemy through the openings through which the road passed posted in force on the brow of the hill on the opposite bank of the creek, distant about 400 yards, and only to be seen through the opening. At this exposed point I directed Lieutenant-Colonel Rosser to have the artillery unlimbered and to open fire upon the enemy, and at the same time I directed the infantry on either wing of the brigade to pass into and through the timber, and engage the enemy at close quarters. All these orders were promptly obeyed amidst a storm of grape. The artillery steadily unlimbered, and opened a carefully-aimed fire upon the enemy. Lieut. Col. T. H. Rosser in person, with the calmness of a professor of entomology examining a rare addition to his collection, aimed one of the guns, while the enemy’s grape shot tore up the earth and disabled men and horses around him. In the course of the cannonading at this point Capt. Hiram Bledsoe and Lieutenant Wallace, of the artillery, and Capt. F. M. McKinney, of infantry, all of Lieutenant-Colonel Rosser’s command, in person served the guns, in consequence of the number of men disabled, Lieutenant Wallace remaining at his post, though twice wounded in the leg.

At this point the artillery lost in wounded the gallant Lieut. Charles Higgins, seriously but not fatally wounded, who, shot down at the gun he was serving, gained his feet and continued the loading until completed, and fell exhausted under the muzzle of his piece; Lieutenant Wallace very slightly wounded, and 8 privates. Three horses were also wounded, and 4 killed.

Lieutenant-Colonel O’Kane, with his battalion, upon the receipt of my order, advanced rapidly through a field, and on the skirt of the timber nearest to us fell in with the enemy, and aided by Captains Gaines’ and Kelly’s companies (General Clark’s division) and Colonel Burbridge’s regiment (General Clark’s division), engaged the enemy, and after a short conflict drove him through the timber across the creek back upon his main body. Lieutenant-Colonel O’Kane had his horse shot under him, and suffered a loss of 2 killed and 20 wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel O’Kane makes honorable mention of Captains Hale and Vaughn, who rushed into the conflict, and also of Captains McElrath and Gray, and Lieutenant Taylor, commanding Captain Warren’s company–Captain Warren having been shot through the leg by a grape shot.

Responding with spirit and zeal to my order, Colonels Graves and Hurst threw their regiments into the timber on the right of the artillery, and advancing to the creek found it impassable on the direct line of attack at which they reached it, and, being forced to seek a ford at a point below, passed through the timber on the farther bank of the creek on the enemy’s left flank, but not until he was in the act of retiring. The enemy was a third time forced to retire.

By this time it was 2 o’clock p.m. The entire brigade, with the exception of Colonel Graves’ command, had been marching since 4 o’clock a.m. (Colonel Hurst’s regiment without breakfast), and I was proceeding to encamp the brigade upon the ground recently held by the enemy, the scene of their victory, when, learning that Colonel Rives, of General Slack’s command, with his regiment of cavalry, had engaged the enemy and needed support, I again called upon my wearied brigade to advance, to which they promptly responded; but the enemy before our arrival had again retreated.

The brigade advancing crossed Spring River, and was passing through the timber on its banks, and was nearing Carthage, when the enemy from a concealed position opened upon us his artillery. I halted the artillery, and ordered the infantry regiments of Colonels Graves and Hurst to leave the road and pass through the timber and flank the enemy on his left. In obedience to the order, Colonels Graves and Hurst, with their regiments, passed through the timber to the right of the road, and arriving in town fell on the rear of the retreating enemy, but being uncertain of his identity, did not at once open fire on him. As soon, however, as it was made certain by a reconnaissance that it was the enemy, and not our comrades in arms, Colonels Graves and Hurst, together with the infantry regiment of Col. John T. Hughes, of General Slack’s division, opened a heavy and well-directed fire upon the enemy’s infantry, throwing it into confusion and forcing it to retreat with great precipitation. The enemy’s artillery again opened their fire, to which our artillery, which I had brought up, responded, aided by two pieces of General Parsons’ artillery, which had by his order reported to me at this point. The enemy retreated on the Sarcoxie road, and was followed for a mile or two by our indefatigable artillery and infantry. Night put a stop to the conflict, and my brigade encamped in and around Carthage.

The battles of this day of victory for Missouri extended over a space of 10 miles, and were continued for twelve hours. They opened the communication between Missouri and her friends, and gave her access to arms and munitions of war.

In view of the magnitude of these results, so important to the cause of liberty, political and private, in Missouri, and also of the steady courage of the raw levies of Missouri in face of a disciplined enemy, the 5th of July last past is a day to be remembered.

General, it may be safely said that this brigade, your whole division, and the whole Army of the Missouri engaged in that day’s battles have done the State some service.

I have no means of computing the loss of the enemy. The loss of this brigade is as follows: Killed, 2; wounded, 38; total casualties, 40.

Col. R. M. Stith, brigade quartermaster; Maj. George W. Morris, of Clay County, aide-de-camp, adjutant of the brigade; Maj. Thomas M. McCrowder and Sgt. Maj. J. Thomas Whitfield, all of my staff, deserve honorable mention for the zeal, discretion, and gallantry with-which they conveyed my orders in different parts of the field wherever duty led throughout the day. Capt. Emmett MacDonald, volunteer aide; Maj. Charles C. Martin, and Mr. Joseph Donaldson, in like manner, rendered valuable service. To Capt. Charles S. Rogers, of your staff, I express my obligations for valuable information of the enemy’s movements, derived by him from personal reconnaissance of the enemy upon the field.

Without disparagement to the many officers of this brigade who faithfully and honorably served the State on the 5th instant, I recommend for brevet commissions. Lieut. Col. Thomas H. Rosser, Lieut. Col. W. S. O’Kane, and Capt. Hiram Bledsoe.

With highest consideration, I have the honor to be, yours, &c.,

R. H. WEIGHTMAN, Colonel, Commanding First Brigade, Second Division, M. S. G.

From: JNO. B. CLARK, Brigadier-General, Third Division, Missouri State Guard

To: His Excellency C. F. JACKSON, Commander-in-Chief, Missouri State Guard

July 19, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to submit for your consideration the following report of the part taken by the forces under my command in the engagement with the enemy on the 5th instant in Jasper County, in this State.

On the morning of the 5th instant, at about 6 o’clock, the line of march in the direction of Carthage was resumed in the following order: Brigadier-General Rains occupying the extreme right, Brigadier-General Slack on his left, my division on the left of General Slack’s and on the right of Brigadier-General Parsons, who formed the extreme left of the advancing columns. After marching about 5 miles, I received intelligence that the enemy was strongly posted in line of battle 2 miles in my advance and 8 miles from Carthage, on the road we were traveling. I immediately dismounted such of my men as were mounted, and caused all under my command who were supplied with guns to be formed into line of battle, under the immediate command of Col. J. Q. Burbridge, Lieut. Col. Edwin Price, and Maj. John B. Clark, jr. The line thus formed contained 365 men, rank and file. With this force I in person advanced, and on nearing the line of battle formed by the command of Colonel Weightman I observed Brigadier-General Parsons advancing with his artillery and infantry, and seeking to take his position in line immediately on the left of Colonel Weightman’s command, such position being the only available point for using successfully his battery against the enemy. Seeing this movement of General Parsons, and concurring with him in the propriety of changing our positions as observed in the line of march, I deployed my forces to the left, thus making my command occupy the extreme left of our line of battle.

It was now 11 o’clock. The enemy being posted something near a thousand yards from our front, with eight pieces of artillery, responded to the fire of General Parsons’ artillery with brisk and continuous fire of shell, grape, and shot, lasting between twenty and thirty minutes, which was spiritedly replied to by the artillery from the batteries of Captain Guibor, of General Parsons’ command, and Colonel Rosser and Captain Bledsoe, of Colonel Weightman’s command, killing and wounding a number of the enemy’s men and horses. At this engagement, and while taking my position with my force in the line of battle, my horse was severely wounded in the neck by a shot from the enemy’s artillery, which circumstance, together with the shower of grape and shell continuously poured upon my forces, caused a momentary confusion in the line, but was soon repaired, and every officer and soldier received the fire with the coolness and composure of veterans. Upon consultation with Colonel Kelly, commanding a regiment of General Parsons’ division immediately on my right, I ordered an advance of my forces in the direction of the enemy. At this moment General Parsons came up from his batteries and gave a similar order, when our commands, together with the battalion of Colonel O’Kane, of Colonel Weightman’s command, made a rapid movement in the direction of the enemy. After advancing some fifty yards-the enemy made a retrograde movement, double-quick time over the eminence on which he had been posted into a ravine, which effectually concealed him from our view. Supposing his design by such movement was to gain a position on our left and to make an attack on our flank, the several commands changed their direction from the south to the east, each marching in separated columns, Colonel O’Kane forming the extreme right,-with Major Dills on his left, Colonel Kelly on my right, and my column forming the extreme left. Continuing in this direction for half a mile, and upon ascending the hill, I discovered the enemy, who seemed to be rapidly forming into line of battle about one mile and a half from his first position, behind a cluster of trees, and upon an eminence on the south side of Bear Creek. Immediately in the front and for some miles above him was a skirt of thick brush timber, through which the creek ran, and upon which his line was being formed. We immediately advanced to the timber on the north side of the creek and took a position near the enemy, when a sharp and incessant fire of small-arms on either side occurred, lasting for about thirty minutes; but by well-directed fire from the battery of Captain Bledsoe, which early in the engagement was run near the enemy, and the fatal aim and steady advance of the infantry, the enemy was driven from his second position and forced to make a rapid retreat, losing one piece of his artillery and suffering a heavy loss of killed and wounded.

In this engagement my command, having engaged the enemy at distance of from forty to fifty yards, and in attempting to cross the creek to charge the enemy, suffered a loss of 10 men killed and wounded. At this engagement Lieut. Col. Edwin Price had his horse killed under him while gallantly urging and cheering forward the forces.

A detailed report of the surgeon is hereto attached, and made a part of this report.

When the enemy commenced his second retreat my forces were compelled to make a detour of half a mile up the creek before they could find a crossing, the depth of the stream, together with the abruptness of banks, being of such a character as not to allow crossing at a shorter distance. When we had effected a crossing we heard the firing of cannon in the direction of Carthage, about 1 mile in our advance, to which point we rapidly hurried. On arriving there we found the enemy still retreating in the direction of Carthage, but occasionally firing his artillery to cover his retreat. At Carthage a sharp conflict occurred, of some fifteen or twenty minutes, between the enemy and portions of the cavalry, infantry, and artillery of the several divisions, when he again retreated, and were pursued for several miles beyond Carthage, and until the darkness of the night caused a cessation of the pursuit.

Thus ended a conflict in which the citizen soldiery of Missouri have given to the world an earnest of their determination to defend their rights and redress their wrongs, and which inspires hope of success in the stormy future upon which we are now entering.

I have no means at hand to give an accurate account of the loss of the enemy. From the number of his dead and wounded scattered upon his line of retreat it cannot be otherwise than great.

In this connection it gives me pleasure to state that my entire command, officers and soldiers, acquitted themselves with honor, and deserve the gratitude of the country; and I desire in this public manner to bear my testimony to their valor and zeal, and to make my public acknowledgment to my entire staff and to Col. J. Q. Burbridge, Lieut. Col. Edwin Price, and Maj. John B. Clark, Jr., of the First Regiment of Infantry, and to the respective captains, lieutenants, and privates under their immediate commands in the several engagements. A full and complete list of the names of officers and privates is hereto attached, and made a part of this report.

Surg. W. C. Boon, of Fayette, Howard County, Missouri, and John J. Grinstead, of Chariton County, and Asst. Surg. S. A. Peters, of Boone County, Missouri, by their unremitting attention to the wounded in the several engagements and the skill and success with which they performed a number of critical surgical operations, are entitled to the highest commendation.

Before closing this report I desire to express my thanks to Brig. Gen. M. M. Parsons, Colonels Weightman, Kelly, Rosser, and O’Kane, Major Dills, Captains Bledsoe and Guibor, with whom I was thrown during the engagement, and who at the head of their respective forces cordially and efficiently united and acted with me in every movement of the forces under my command. Brigadier-Generals Slack and Rains, with portions of their, respective commands, engaged the enemy at points which could not be observed from my position, and I therefore am unable to speak from personal observation of their movements.

I avail myself of this opportunity to tender my thanks to Col. Thomas L. Snead and Col. William M. Cooke, who volunteered to me their services through the several engagements, and gave me most valuable aid, and under circumstances of continued exposure of their lives.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant;

JNO. B. CLARK, Brigadier-General, Third Division Mo. S. G.

From: W. Y. SLACK, Brigadier-General, Fourth Division, Missouri State Guard

To: Maj. Gen. S. PRICE., Commander-in-Chief, Missouri State Guard

July 7, 1861.

The undersigned, commanding the Fourth Division, begs leave to report that on the 5th of July instant his command consisted of Col. B. A. Rives’ regiment of cavalry, in the aggregate 500 men, and Col. John T. Hughes’ regiment and J. C. Thornton’s battalion of infantry, in the aggregate 700 men. At 11 a.m. of the 5th we met the enemy, 2,300 strong, in the road 10 miles north of Carthage, in Jasper County, where the line of battle was formed. Colonel Hughes’ regiment, with Major Thornton’s battalion, under Hughes’ command, formed the center of the line, the right being formed by the infantry of Colonel Weight-man and Colonel O’Kane, the left with the infantry under General Clark. The enemy’s position being 700 yards in our front, a brisk cannonading was opened from the batteries on both sides, which was kept up for fifty-five minutes. Colonel Rives’ regiment of cavalry was ordered to threaten the right flank and rear of the enemy, which he did with considerable success, diverting their fire from the front.

The enemy retired from their first position with considerable loss, but took position again about one mile south of the first and in the road, opening a brisk fire from their batteries upon our front ranks at a distance of some three or four hundred yards, which Was promptly returned by Colonel Weightman’s battery. Colonel Hughes’ command attempted to occupy a woods skirting the enemy, where his small-arms could have been brought to bear upon the enemy, but owing to the deep water in the stream failed in his effort until the enemy had again retired in the direction of Carthage, being closely pursued by Colonel Hughes’ command.

In the town of Carthage the enemy took his next position, taking shelter in and behind houses, walls, and fences. This stand of the enemy was an obstinate one, dealing shot and shell freely from their batteries into our ranks. Colonel Hughes’ command, under his direction, and that of Lieutenant-Colonel Prichard and Major Thornton, was brought in close proximity to the enemy’s lines, when a deadly fire was opened upon them by our infantry. The enemy retired in great haste from his position in town, being hotly pursued by Colonel Hughes’ command, a constant fire being kept up. The enemy again planted his batteries on the heights one mile east of town, and succeeded in a large degree in protecting the hasty retreat of his shattered and disorganized column. Colonel Hughes’ command was pushed forward under shelter of a skirt, of woods, and was again brought in very close proximity in the rear of the enemy’s retreating forces, and again opened a destructive fire upon their lines, the enemy still continuing to retire in rapid haste.

By this time nightfall had set in, and, owing to the exhausted condition of Colonel Hughes’ command, they were called from the field.’ A portion of Colonel Rives’ cavalry, in command of Captain McNeil, continued in pursuit of the enemy, continuing to annoy their flank and rear until it was entirely dark, and capturing a portion of their baggage, when the chase of the enemy was entirely abandoned. During the whole of the enemy’s retreat his flank was successively annoyed by Colonel Rives’ command.

In these several engagements the losses in my command were as follows: In Colonel Rives’ regiment 2 were killed on the field, 2 mortally wounded, and 1 missing, supposed to be a prisoner; in Colonel Hughes’ command 2 were mortally wounded, 4 were severely wounded, and 2 slightly wounded.

I have the gratification to report that all the commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers and privates in my command during the several engagements on the 5th displayed all the energy and endurance of veterans, giving abundant evidence that they can be relied on in any emergency.

Colonel Rives’ separate report, herewith submitted, will show more particularly the operations of his regiment on that occasion. The undersigned, being employed the whole day with Colonel Hughes’ command, reports the conduct of that branch of the army from his own personal observation. My command captured on that occasion 8 prisoners, and 2 baggage wagons loaded with tents and other quartermaster’s stores. Valuable service was rendered me that day on the field by my entire staff.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

W.Y. SLACK, Brigadier-General, Fourth Division, Mo. S. G.

From: M. M. PARSONS, Brigadier-General

To: Governor Clayton F. JACKSON, Commander-in-Chief Missouri State Guard

Camp on Cowskin Prairie

July 10, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report to you the movements of my division in front of the enemy on the 4th and 5th instants.

About 6 o’clock in the evening on the 4th of July I received intelligence from my quartermaster, Colonel Monroe, whom I had sent forward with an escort of 95 men to take possession of the mills near Carthage, that the enemy were in strong force in that vicinity, and the colonel demanded of me immediate relief. I ordered my division to halt for refreshment at Camp Slack. By 10 o’clock that night my wagons were reloaded with all the camp equipage, the animals hitched up, and my division under arms, ready for an immediate movement on Carthage, of which I had the honor of informing your excellency at the time. In a very short time thereafter I received an order from you to order my division into quarters and remain in camp during the night. Early on the next morning I received orders from your excellency to march my division in the rear of the army, which-position I took immediately, Generals Rains’, Slack’s, and Clark’s divisions marching in my front in the direction of Carthage, which was about 12 miles distant. About 10 o’clock a.m. I received your dispatch, stating that the enemy were forming for battle in our front. I put my column in rapid motion, and upon arriving within about a mile and a half of the creek called Bear Creek. I discovered that the advanced divisions of Generals Rains and Slack had formed in line of battle. At this time I did not know the position nor the strength of the enemy, but hurrying up my battery, consisting of four brass sixes, on arrival to the left of Colonel Weightman’s battery I discovered the enemy formed for attack at the distance of 1,000 yards, and in numbers apparently 2,500 or 3,000, formed in the following order: one regiment to the right of the road; one to the left, supporting in the first instance seven pieces of artillery, with their third regiment in reserve 100 yards in the rear.

Advancing my batteries to the front and to the left of Colonel Weight-man’s, forming my infantry, under Colonel Kelly and Major Dills, to the left of my artillery, General Clark’s division coming rapidly into line upon the left of my infantry, my cavalry, under Colonel Brown, Captain Alexander, and Captain Crews, I ordered to take position on the extreme left of General Clark’s line.

Having made this disposition of my forces, being so cordially and promptly co-operated with by General Clark, I rode up to my battery and ordered Captain Guibor, its commandant, to open fire, which was done instanter. The enemy’s batteries immediately responded, Colonel Weightman’s battery returning the fire as promptly. Without any material change of position, the batteries continued their conflict for about twenty minutes to the great disadvantage of the enemy; but not wishing to have my infantry any longer exposed to the enemy’s batteries, I determined to harass them with the cavalry, so as to draw their fire, at the same time sending a body of mounted riflemen to Bear Creek for the purpose of cutting the enemy’s rear and to get possession of the crossing in that direction. I ordered Colonel Brown’s regiment of cavalry to make a demonstration on the enemy’s right flank, at the same time leaving orders with my adjutant, Colonel Standish, for Colonel Kelly, that so soon as I could make any efficient movement with the cavalry, to advance my whole line.

Colonel Brown advanced with his cavalry upon the enemy’s right flank, which caused him to change the position of his right, as well of infantry as of artillery. Two pieces of artillery were at this time diverted from my infantry, and directed exclusively upon my cavalry. Seeing that there was a prospect of surrounding the enemy, I ordered the whole of my cavalry, Colonel Brown commanding, to Bear Creek, to occupy the timber at the crossing, and, if possible, prevent their retreat. The enemy, discovering the object of this movement, commenced a slow and sullen retreat by their right flank, Colonel Kelly, General Clark, and my battery promptly advancing upon them. The cavalry did not succeed in getting the position designated for them, in consequence of which the enemy were successful in recrossing Bear Creek and establishing themselves on a steep eminence on its south bank. Reconnoitering this position, which was about three-quarters of a mile from the first occupied by the enemy, I found the enemy’s batteries stationed so as to completely command the crossing, which was about 30 feet wide, the creek itself being about the same distance in width, thick timber and undergrowth lining the banks of the stream on either side for about 30 yards in width to the right and left of the crossing for several miles above and below. On their right flank on the north side of the creek and to our left of the ford was a large field, its southern boundary being on the timber north of the creek. The enemy’s batteries from the eminence on which they were posted completely commanded the field. Discovering their forces deploying to their right, and taking possession of the timber on their side of the creek, I found it absolutely necessary for the success of the day to make a rapid movement of the infantry through the field above mentioned and get possession of the timber on our side of the stream. This movement was executed with great gallantry by the following commands in the following order: Colonel Kelly’s regiment leading, and to the left of my division; Major Dills’ battalion close upon his right; Colonel O’Kane, of the Warsaw regiment, on the right, and Colonel Clark, with his usual promptness, co-operating upon my extreme left. The enemy used every effort in their power to prevent the success of this movement. They fired rapid volleys of grape, shell, and round shot upon this command in its advance through the field; yet our troops, without wavering, gallantly succeeded in gaining the south side of it, unit, rapidly deploying, threw themselves over the fence and into the timber. In the mean time Colonel Weightman had planted his battery on our side of the creek in the road immediately in front of the enemy’s and opened fire.

The action on the enemy’s right with General Clark’s infantry and mine-now became general, the opposing lines having armed within 30 or 40 yards of each other. Brisk volleys on both sides were kept up for nearly half an hour, and the enemy finally gave way and retreated under cover of their artillery.

Not being advised as to what was going on to the right of the road and to the right of Colonel Weightman’s battery, I then rode up to a high point of ground which commanded a view of the enemy’s position and our own lines to the right. I then discovered that the whole force of the enemy were in full retreat. I then ordered my infantry and artillery forward. Colonel Kelly, Major Dills, and Captain Guibor, of-the artillery, although having been engaged in a fatiguing action, promptly advanced. Having obtained position upon the open plain, I discovered that the enemy had obtained a position upon the plain about 2 miles from Spring River, having formed at a house merely as a feint to cover their retreat through the defiles on Spring River in the direction of Carthage. This river is about one and a half miles from Carthage. I advanced my infantry and two pieces of my artillery for the purpose of again giving them battle, but before my forces came up the enemy had accomplished their object, and again retreated.

When I arrived at Spring River, having ascertained that two pieces of my artillery, under Captain Guibor, had already crossed and were in the front, I delayed a while for my infantry to come up, which they did as promptly as they could. The river being deep, and the men wearied from their long exertion, I turned my carriage back to ford them over the stream. Immediately thereafter I ordered them to the front at as quick a pace as I thought they were able to march. About this time I heard cannonading in Carthage, about one mile in advance. Hurrying up with my infantry, I arrived in town, and found there a body of cavalry. I ordered them to the front immediately. Passing to the east of the town I found my artillery engaged with the enemy at a mile distant, the enemy having occupied the wood at my left, about 400 yards distant. By this time, Colonel Kelly having arrived with my infantry, I ordered him to advance immediately and take possession of the wood to my left. After a few minutes’ sharp firing the enemy was again dislodged and in full retreat across the prairie.

It is due to Major Dills, of the infantry, and to Captain Alexander, of the mounted service, to say that they and their commands acted with great discretion and bravery in driving the enemy from this last position.

At this position it is with regret that I report to your excellency that one of my bravest and best officers fell at the head of his command, viz, Captain McKinzie, of the Clark Township Southern Guards. Your excellency will pardon me for the digression when I state that this valuable officer was my orderly sergeant through Doniphan’s campaign in Mexico, when we were striving to uphold the very flag which now floats at the head of the menials that attempt to oppress us. I deem this testimonial of my regard for him as due on account of our long association together in defense of our country.

Our army at this time (it being sunset) having driven the enemy beyond the mills east of Carthage, which it was my original intention to occupy, and having ordered my commissary, Colonel Roberts, to move forward with a detachment to take possession of a considerable quantity of flour which I had ascertained was in the mill, I then directed my infantry and cavalry and artillery to retire into camp about one-quarter of a mile to the east of Carthage.

While it is due that I should say to your excellency that my artillery and cavalry acted with the greatest bravery and precision; and, without any intention to detract from the merits of any other officer upon the field, it is due that I should call to your excellency’s especial notice the ability and daring of Colonel Kelly, of my regiment of infantry, and all the officers under his command; also Major Dills and the battalion under his command, and also Captain Guibor and Lieutenant Barlow, of the artillery. I might recount several instances of personal valor of the two last-mentioned officers which came under my own observation, but it is sufficient to say that by their prowess the artillery of my division won a position upon the field. I will also state that I Was gallantly sustained upon the field by all my staff.

My casualties were as follows: Killed, Captain McKinzie; wounded, Jesse Gilfillan, second lieutenant, Colonel Kelly’s regiment; Thomas Doyle, William D. Hicks, and Garret Scott. Capt. Lucius Gaines, of Major Dills’ battalion; B. F. Asbury, of Captain Crews’ company, and R. E. Baber, of Captain Livingston’s company, were slightly wounded. The number of the enemy killed and wounded in the field has, I presume, been already reported to you by the proper authorities.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. M. PARSONS, Brigadier-General

From: JAMES McCOWN, Col., First Battalion, Second Cavalry, Eighth Division, M. S. G.

To: Brigadier-General Rains, Commanding Eighth Military Division, Missouri State Guard

CAMP LEE, Cowskin Prairie, Mo.

July 16, 1861.

Herewith please find my report of the engagement of our force with the Federal troops under command of Colonel Sigel 5th instant, near Coon Creek, 10 miles north of Carthage, Mo.:

My battalion of cavalry consisted of Company A, commanded by Captain Crenshaw; Company B, commanded by Captain Johnson; Company C, commanded by Captain King, and Company D, commanded by Captain McCowan. The aggregate number of my command engaged was 250 men. The position assigned my command in the field was the extreme right wing of the army. From that position I was ordered up by Brigadier-General Rains in the direction of the enemy’s battery for the purpose of making a charge. My command advanced up beyond a cabin and near the middle of a grain field, when Brigadier General Rains joined me, and continued at and near the head of my column during the engagement and the entire day. Upon being joined by General Rains, I understood from him we were to charge upon the enemy’s battery on a given signal from the commanding officer of cavalry on the east wing. I neither saw nor heard any signal from the east wing to charge, nor was any order given by Brigadier-General Rains at any time for my battalion.

The movement of cavalry throughout from the west wing was a flank movement, and in passing out of the grain field my command exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy’s battery, wounding Private George W. O’Haver, of Captain Crenshaw’s company (left arm shot off), of which wound he died at the end of two days; his horse was also wounded:. And advanced, wounding Private Elijah Wood, of Captain McCowan’s company (left leg shot off, but in a fair way to recover). Six horses killed in Captain McCowan’s company; several slightly wounded.

After passing through the grain field in the midst of the fire we were led into and across a body of timber and halted by General Rains, some time after which we were ordered across the prairie to the timber-on Spring River in order to gain a position in rear of the enemy, but arrived too late, the enemy having gained the timber in their retreat before we arrived.

While halted for the purpose of ascertaining the position of the enemy near the timber on Spring River, we received shots from the enemy’s battery, one of which wounded Private John Byler, of Captain McCowan’s company, in the left thigh and leg, and also wounded his horse.

In consequence of failing to gain the rear of the enemy at the timber on the north side of Spring River, We had to pass some distance down Spring River in order to gain a crossing. After crossing to the south side of the river we traveled up the road leading to Carthage until within a mile and a half of Carthage, when we obliqued to the right of the road, marched up to a point of timber opposite to and about 1 mile south of Carthage, when we formed the line, and marched into the town of Carthage soon after the enemy had retreated out of town.

All of our movements during the engagement were according to the orders of Brigadier-General Rains.

I am proud in being able to state that during the whole day command, both officers and privates, demeaned themselves well, and evinced more cool courage than is generally found among raw recruits.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES McCOWN, Col., Comdg. First Bat’n Second Cav., Eighth Div. Mo. S. G.

From: R. L. Y. PEYTON; Col., Third Regiment Cavalry, Second Division, Missouri State Guard

To: Brig. Gen. JAMES S. RAINS, Commanding Eighth Division, Missouri State Guard

Cowskin Prairie, Mo.

July 19, 1861.

GENERAL: I have the honor to say that on the morning of July 5, while the army was on the march towards Carthage, I was informed by you that the Federal troops were some miles just ahead of us ; then directed to ascertain the number of companies in my regiment properly armed and supplied with ammunition. I did so immediately, and found that only two companies and part of another had the necessary ammunition ; the remaining six and a half, though the most of them had good arms, were totally without ammunition and could obtain none. I reported this to you, and was then directed, as senior colonel, to take command of the cavalry, composed of my own force, just mentioned, and also the battalions of Colonel McCown and Lieutenant-Colonel Boughan, and the companies of Captains Owens and Stone, of Henry County, and march them forward in the direction of the enemy. The force from my own regiment, composed of Company A, commanded by Captain Dook; Company B, commanded by Captain Marchbanks, and part of Company H, commanded by Captain Erwin, as also the battalions of Colonel McCown and Lieutenant-Colonel Boughan and the companies of Captains Owens and Stone in a few moments were on the line of march. The balance of my regiment was left under command of Lieutenant-Colonel White. Major Tyler, of the regiment, went with us.

After a march of some 6 miles, and when arriving on the brow of the hill north of Coon Creek, we found the enemy posted about a mile ahead of us on the main road. Here a halt was ordered, and in a very few moments, our artillery coming up, the cavalry, by your directions, wore deployed to the right and moving down a sloping plain for about 400 or 500 yards, were halted to await further orders from yourself, my own regiment at the head of the main body, and the battalion of Colonel McCown filing to the right and taking position some 300 yards in advance of us. While resting here I received an order to send off the companies of my regiment to join that of Captain Shelby, detailed for some special service, and immediately sent Captain Dook and his company. While in this position the batteries of the enemy were on the left, to the southeast and north of the creek, distant about three-quarters of a mile from my regiment, with a large corn field between us, and directly south of us to the timber of the creek it was, I suppose, a little over half a mile, with fencing to pass through. After remaining at the point I have mentioned for some short time you appeared on the field and took command in person of the whole column.

By your order my regiment and those in rear of me turned to the left, and entering the field (the fence being thrown down for that purpose) came up in the rear Colonel McCown’s battalion, who had entered the same before us and from a different point, and then the whole force by your command passed through to the timber of the creek. This was done under a severe and heavy fire from the cannon of the enemy, yourself in the advance. In rushing for nearly a quarter of a mile under the fire of the artillery, my own regiment (consisting then of only 60 men), both officers and privates, bore themselves with calmness and gallantry, and halting at the edge of the timber reformed and passed through in good order to the prairie on the south side of the creek. Every officer and private in the whole column, as yourself can testify, were ready to obey any call you might give them.

After crossing over on the south side of the timber and gaining the prairie the whole column was halted, and remained there for some time. In a short while Captain Dook, with his company, regained his regiment, and the whole column, moving forward, keeping the course of the enemy, after a march of some 4 miles, was halted, in order that you might cross over and confer with those in command of our army on the left of us, you leaving instructions not to move until you should appear in person or send orders. Before your return to my command the column was marched forward in order to intercept the enemy at or before he should march to Carthage, which movement afterwards met with your approbation.

In a very short while you overtook us at the second creek, and the command was marched rapidly forward between the second creek and Spring River; the cannon of the Federal forces again opened upon us. After crossing Spring River, when within about a mile and a half of Carthage, the firing of cannon was heard in the direction of the town, and the command was by you then marched as quickly as possible towards that point. When within about a mile of Carthage, by your order we dismounted in the road, and, forming in line, entered the town, but too late to engage in any action.

I have further to report to you that all of the men in my regiment who left in the morning with Lieutenant-Colonel White who could procure arms and ammunition did so, and then acted throughout the day with the forces on the left. Captain Moore, of Company C; Lieutenant-Colonel Graves, Leaky, and 27 privates; Captain Smith, of Company E; Lieutenants Ferly, Williams, and Bennett, with his 6 privates; Captain Bryant and Lieutenant Campbell, of Company F, with 4 privates; Lieutenant Martin, of Company G, with 2 privates ; Lieutenant Brookoust, of Company H, with 12 privates, and Lieutenant Williams, of Company A, they being all who could procure arms and ammunition, with Lieutenant-Colonel White, I am informed, did gallant service in different parts of the field.

In the affair at Carthage Captain Moore was injured and Private Lewis Highley severely wounded.

I have great pleasure in stating to you that the officers and privates of my regiment and the officers and privates of the whole brigade while under my immediate command obeyed with promptness any order given by you, and conducted themselves with the courage and steadiness of true soldiers.

I have further to say that the whole number of men, officers and privates, of my regiment that took part in the affair of the 5th instant was 181.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R.L.Y. PEYTON, Colonel, Comdg. Third Reg’t Cav. Second Div. Mo. S.G.

From: RICHARD A. BOUGHAN, Lieutenant-Colonel, Vernon County Battalion

To: ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Eighth Division Missouri State Guard


July 19, 1861.

SIR: Herewith please find report of the battalion under my command in the engagement had with the Federal forces on the prairie near Dry Fork, 12 miles north of Carthage, the county seat of Jasper County, Mo., on the 5th day of this month.

The force under my command that day from my own battalion was 200 men, two-thirds of whom were armed with common rifles and shotguns, viz: Company A, Capt. R. H. Williams, 4 officers and 60 men; Company B, Capt. C. D. Smith, 4 officers and 40 men; Company C, Capt. J. F. Stone, 3 officers and 32 men; Company D, Capt. George W. Hopkins, 4 officers and 30 men, and Company E, Captain J. Crockett, 3 officers and 30 men, making an aggregate of 200 men. Colonel Hyde, of Saint Joseph, Mo., with about 100 men, was ordered to attach his command to my battalion for that day, and the position assigned to me was on the left of Colonel Peyton’s regiment.

When the order was given to charge on the battery of the enemy I moved forward with the whole command, having divided the force under me into two squadrons, giving to Colonel Hyde the command of the first, assisted by Major Bolton, and I commanded the second squadron, assisted by Captain Cunningham, of Colonel Hyde’s battalion. The men marched off in good order, and were anxious to fight. We were prevented from making a direct charge on the battery of the enemy from the fact a strong fence ran parallel with, north, and between my command and the position taken by the enemy. We therefore followed in rear of Colonel Peyton’s regiment through the field, wheat and corn, until some confusion, occasioned by pulling down a strong fence, was discovered at the head of the column, when I obliqued to the right, intending to get a position in rear of the enemy and charge from that point. From the time we passed the brow of the hill in the field we were exposed to a raking fire of canister and round shot until we reached the timber. I am proud to say the men behaved admirably, promptly obeying every order given to them, and were remarkably calm and cool for young soldiers.

Lieutenant Kimble, of Company B, had his leg broken and his horse killed under him by a cannon ball. Lieutenant Badger, of the same company, had his saber and scabbard broken in two by the explosion of a bomb. Private Hockaby, of the same company, had his horse killed under him. Capt. J. F. Stone, of Company C, had his horse killed under him while at the head of his company. Private Wilson, of the same company, lost his horse at this time.

I was ordered to take my command down the creek and cross over at the first crossing I could find. I did so, and joined the cavalry brigade an the prairie south of the creek. We were not near enough again during the day to give or receive a shot from the enemy.

Very respectfully,

RICHARD A. BOUGHAN, Lieutenant-Colonel, Comdg Vernon County Battalion

From: B.A. RIVES, Colonel, First Reg’t Cavalry, Second Division, Missouri State Guard

To: Brig. Gen. W. Y. SLACK


July 24, 1861.

SIR: In obedience to your orders I herewith submit a brief report of the participation of the First Regiment Cavalry, Fourth Division Missouri State Guard, in the engagement of the 5th of July.

My regiment was stationed on the extreme left of our line of battle within seven or eight hundred yards of the batteries of the enemy. A brisk cannonade was opened on our lines about 10 o’clock a.m. At the second discharge from the enemy’s guns two horses of my command were killed, and grape shot and shell fell thick in our ranks, the officers and men remaining perfectly cool under the fire. I was ordered by you to flank the enemy’s right and threaten his rear, which order was executed with as little delay as possible, having to tear down a strong plank fence which was directly in our way. In executing this order a masked battery, discharging grape shot and shell, was opened on my regiment, by which I lost 4 brave and gallant men. Capt. John N. Stone, of Company D, fell bravely leading his command. First Sergt. Joel Stamper and Private James Heron, of Company G, and Private William R. Burton, of Company A, were either killed or mortally wounded in this action.

I crossed Bear Creek, and after the second engagement between our artillery and infantry and that of the enemy I got in front of the enemy, and formed my command on the north side of Buck Branch, in conjunction with Colonel Brown, commanding First Regiment Cavalry, Sixth Division Missouri State Guard, when another short engagement ensued, but Colonel Weightman coming up with his artillery, the enemy again retreated.

I was then ordered to report to and cooperate with Brigadier-General Rains, and endeavor to intercept the retreat of the enemy through Carthage, but in consequence of the difficulty in crossing Spring River, when we arrived there the enemy had passed through the town, being hotly pursued by Colonel Hughes and others. I joined in the pursuit and continued it on foot until dark. Captain McNeil, of Company B, being separated from my command, succeeded in capturing a portion of the transportation and baggage of the enemy.

Too much credit cannot be awarded to the officers and men under my command for the bravery exhibited by them on this their first battlefield, and the fidelity with which they executed my commands.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

B.A. RIVES, Colonel, First Reg’t Cavalry, Second Div. Mo. S. G

From: BEN McCULLOCH, Brig. General, McCulloch’s Brigade, C.S.A.

To: Hon. L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War, Richmond, Va.

Camp Jackson, Ark.

July 9, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to state that I returned to this camp to-day. It is 2 miles from Maysville, Ark., and 7 miles from the northern boundary of the State. I started from this position on the 4th instant with Churchill’s regiment of mounted riflemen and 1,200 men of General Pearce’s brigade, under the command of the general. General Price, of Missouri, had reached a position in the northwestern corner of his State with 1,700 men. The general offered to march with me to the aid of the governor of his State, and joined my command as we passed his camp on the first day’s march.

From authentic information I had learned that the governor of Missouri had formed a junction with General Rains and was endeavoring to make his way to General Price’s camp, and also that every effort was being made by the Northern troops to cut him off. A force of 2,400 well-drilled troops were marching north towards Carthage against him; a force of 3,600 were marching south, rapidly gaining upon him. Rumors were also afloat that a force was marching from the northeast, under General Lyon, and still another was marching against him from Kansas. Under these circumstances I knew there was no time to be lost, and if the forces marching against the governor could concentrate upon him, his force of disorganized, undisciplined men would probably be cut to pieces, and Missouri fall entirely under the control of the North. I at once saw Generals Pearce and Price, and concerted a plan of operations.

I had a few days previous issued a proclamation to the people of Western Arkansas calling them to arms, as their State was threatened. The effect of the proclamation had gathered a force of several hundred men at Fayetteville, Ark. I ordered Colonel McRae, of Arkansas, to take command of this force and make a demonstration on Springfield with it. I found out afterwards, through intercepted orders, that the effect of the demonstration was to call back portions of the force which was marching against the governor.

On the 5th instant I found from authentic information that if the governor was to be rescued by my command, it was necessary to move with more celerity than the infantry and artillery could march. I therefore moved on with about 3,000 cavalry, leaving the infantry and artillery in camp 28 miles north of this camp. Upon arriving within 12 miles of Neosho I ascertained that the force had already left that place and marched north against the governor, leaving a detachment in Neosho between 100 and 300 men. I immediately sent two columns of cavalry on different roads to capture the detachment – one column of six companies, under Colonel Churchill, and another, under Captain Mcintosh, of five companies. The movement was entirely successful, and 137 prisoners fell into my hands, with 150 stand of arms, 1 color, 7 wagons (loaded with subsistence stores), and an ambulance. In the hurry of reporting this affair I made the amount of property and prisoners captured less than it actually was. During the night, having heard that a heavy cannonading had been heard during the day towards the north, and knowing that the governor was fighting his way towards me, I immediately mounted my command, and reached Neosho before morning. After a short rest I started with the entire command, and after a rapid march of 20 miles I formed a junction with the governor, who was at the head of about 7,000 men. He had met about 10 miles north of Carthage the force of Federal troops, 2,000 strong, and had fought them nearly the whole of the preceding day, the Federal troops slowly falling back before him. They had evidently heard of our approach, and as soon as an opportunity occurred they had made a rapid retreat towards Springfield. The Missourians lost about 12 killed and 60 wounded. They think the loss of the enemy was fully equal to theirs.

Having made the movement without authority, and having accomplished my mission, I determined to fall back to this position, and organize a force with a view of future operations.

The governor has determined to take position about 12 miles from me with his entire force, and effect an entire reorganization of it. He seems confident that if he had the necessary arms he could bring a force at once of 50,000 men into the field. The force that was marching upon the governor’s rear will no doubt move on to Springfield, and I think there will be an urgent necessity in the course of a few days to make an attack upon that place, or we will receive an attack from their concentrated forces. Should I receive no instructions in the mean time, I think that I will, together with Generals Pearce and Price, make an advance upon it as soon as the different forces are sufficiently organized to take the field.

I would here beg leave to call the attention of the Department to the conduct of the men of my command during a rapid march of several days and nights, and some of the time without any other provision than beef and salt; but, notwithstanding everything, they bore themselves like men, and their only regret seemed to be that they could not prove their strength against their Northern foes. I would take this occasion to call the attention of the Department to the conduct of Captain Mcintosh since his appointment on my staff. His services in the camp and in the field have been invaluable, and I hope that other officers of military experience may be sent to my command for duty with it.

I would again beg leave to call your attention to the fact that neither arms nor ammunition have been furnished me, and that the Texas regiment will soon be with me. They only received 1,600 single-barreled pistols and a few sabers from the arsenal at San Antonio. I am also much crippled for the want of the necessary funds. I hope you will see proper to have my requisitions filled at once.

I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,

BEN. McCULLOCH, Brigadier-General, Commanding

From: F. SIGEL, Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade Missouri Volunteers, US

To: Brigadier-General SWEENY, Commanding Southwest Expedition

Springfield, Mo.

July 11, 1861.

SIR: After having arrived at Sarcoxie, 22 miles from Neosho, at 5 o’clock p.m. on Friday, the 28th of June, I was informed that a force of 700 to 800 men were encamped at Pool’s Prairie, about 6 miles south of Neosho, under the command of General Price. I also received a report that Jackson’s troops, Parsons in command, camped 15 miles north of Lamar, on Thursday, the 27th, and on Friday, the 28th, and that they were there first informed of Government troops being in Springfield on their march to the West. Rains’ forces were reported having passed Papinsville on Thursday evening, the 27th, and being a day’s march behind Jackson on the 28th. I immediately resolved to march first against the troops at Pool’s Prairie, and then, turning to the north, attack the forces of Jackson and Rains, and to open my communication with General Lyon’s troops, who were said to have had an engagement on the 28th of June at Ball’s Mill, on the banks of the Little Osage River, about 15 miles north of Nevada City, and to whom I had sent several scouts, of which only one returned, but without bringing reliable intelligence.

Scarcely had our troops left Sarcoxie on the morning of the 29th, when I received information that the camp at Pool’s Prairie was broken up on the same morning, and that the troops had fled towards Elk Mills, 30 miles southwest of Neosho, in the direction of Camp Walker, near Maysville, which place is not far from the southwest corner of the State of Missouri.

It was now my duty to give all my attention to the northern forces of the enemy. Apprehending that they would try to find their way to Arkansas, I ordered a detachment of two companies and two pieces of artillery, under the command of Captain Cramer, to Cedar Greek and Grand Falls, to occupy the Military and Kansas line road, and to obtain all possible information relative to the northern troops of the enemy. I also ordered the battalion under Colonel Salomon, on his march from Mount Vernon to Sarcoxie, to unite with the troops under my command at Neosho by forced marches. As soon as this battalion had arrived, and our troops were sufficiently prepared, I directed them from Neosho and Grand Falls to Diamond Grove (7 miles south of Carthage), where they arrived at noon and advanced towards the north.

One company of Captain Hackmann I ordered to move from Mount Vernon to Sarcoxie. Captain Conrad, of Company B, Rifle Battalion, Third Regiment, I ordered to stay in Neosho as garrison, and for the protection of the Union-loving people against bands of secessionists but to retreat to Sarcoxie if he should find it necessary. Company H, Captain Indest, was one of the two companies sent to Grand Falls, from which place this company had not returned when the battle commenced.

On the evening of the 4th of July, after a march of 20 miles, the troops went into camp on the southeast of Carthage, behind the Spring River. It was now as much as certain that Jackson’s troops, reported 4,000 strong, were about nine miles before us, their scouts swarming over the great plateau to the north of Carthage, and almost within our sight.

The troops under my command on the 5th of July who were engaged in the action of the day were composed as follows: Nine companies of the Third Regiment, with a total effective strength of 550 men; seven companies of the Fifth Regiment, numbering 400 men; two batteries of artillery, four pieces each. With these troops I advanced slowly towards the enemy, our skirmishers driving before them numerous squads of mounted riflemen, who were observing our march. The baggage train followed our troops at a distance of about three miles.

After crossing Dry Fork Creek, 6 miles beyond Carthage, and advancing 3 miles farther, we found the enemy in line of battle on an elevated ground, gradually rising from the creek, and about one and a haft miles distant. Their first line was formed in three regiments, deployed in line, and with proper intervals between them. Two regiments, forming the wings, consisted of cavalry, the center of infantry, cavalry, and two pieces of artillery. The other pieces were posted on the right, and one on the left wing. The whole force within our sight may have numbered 3,500 men, besides a strong reserve in the rear.

As our advance guard was already engaged, I sent two pieces of artillery and two companies of the Third Regiment forward to assist them. One piece of artillery and one company of the Third Regiment of infantry I posted behind the creek, as a guard against movements of the cavalry towards our rear and our baggage. The remainder of our troops I formed in the following order: The second battalion of the Third Regiment, under the command of Major Bischoff, on the left in close column: next to them, four pieces of artillery; in the center, the Fifth Regiment in two separate battalions, under Colonel Salomon and Lieutenant-Colonel Wolff; on the right, three pieces of artillery, under the command of Captain Essig, and to his right the First Battalion of the Third Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Hassendeubel.

When these dispositions were made, and after we had advanced a few hundred yards, I ordered Major Backof to commence his fire with all the seven pieces against the enemy’s lines. The fire was answered promptly. I observed now that the two mounted regiments of the rebel army prepared themselves to turn our right and left. They moved by the flank, and, describing a wide circle, left great intervals between them and the center. I immediately directed the whole fire of our artillery against the right of the enemy’s center, so that in a short time the fire of his artillery began to slacken on this point.

I formed now a chain of skirmishers between our pieces, ordered two pieces of Captain Essig’s battery from the right to our left wing, and made known to the commanders and troops that it was my intention to gain the heights by advancing with our left and taking position on the right flank of the enemy’s center. In this critical moment, Captain Wilkins, commander of one of the two batteries, declared that he was unable to advance for want of ammunition. No time could be lost. One part of the troops on the extreme right and left were already engaged with the mounted troops, and to advance with the rest without the assistance of artillery seemed to me a movement which could easily turn out into a déroute. The moral effect of the enemy’s mounted regiments behind our lines, although the real danger was not great, could not be denied. To lose our whole baggage was another consideration of importance. It was therefore with great mortification that I ordered one part of the troops behind Dry Fork Creek, whilst Lieutenant-Colonel Hassendeubel, with the First Battalion of the Third and a battalion of the Fifth Regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Wolff, followed by four pieces of Captain Wilkins’ battery, repaired to the baggage train to defend it against the projected attack.

The enemy followed slowly toward Dry Fork Creek. Captain Essig’s battery had taken position behind the ford, assisted by one company of the Fifth Regiment (Captain Stephani) on the left, and two companies of the Third Regiment (Captains Dengler and Golmer) on the right, whilst two companies of the Fifth Regiment (Stark and Meissner) remained as a reserve behind both wings. It was at this point that these troops resisted the enemy’s entire force for two hours and inflicted on him the severest losses.

Up to this time the rebellious flag had sunk twice amidst the triumphant shouts of the United States volunteers. Meanwhile the two large bodies of cavalry had completely surrounded us, and had formed into line against our rear. They were posted behind a small creek, called Buck’s Branch, which we had to pass. To meet them, I left the position on Dry Fork, and ordered two pieces to the right and two pieces to the left of our reserve and baggage, assisted by parts of the Fifth and Third Regiments in column, under Colonel Salomon and Lieutenant-Colonel Wolff, whilst Lieutenant-Colonel Hassendeubel, with his well-known ability, formed three companies of the First Battalion, Third Regiment, in line, and in front of the baggage, against the cavalry. Behind these troops and baggage Lieutenant Schrickel, of the First Battery of Artillery, with two companies, was acting as a rear guard against the main body of the enemy, moving from Dry Fork. After one round of our whole line, the infantry moved in double-quick time towards the enemy, and routed him completely. His flight was accompanied by tremendous hurrahs of our little army.

The troops and baggage train crossed the creek, and retreated unmolested to the heights crowning the north side of Carthage before Spring River. Here they took position again. The enemy advanced slowly with his center, while he pushed forward his cavalry to turn our right and left, and to gain the Springfield road. As I thought it most necessary and important to keep open my communications with Mount Vernon and Springfield, I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Wolff, with two pieces of artillery (Lieutenant Schaefer, Second Battery), to pass Carthage, and to occupy the eastern heights on the Sarcoxie road. Captain Cramer, with two companies (Indest and Zeis), had to follow him, and to guard the west side of the town against a movement of the enemy towards this side. Our rear guard took possession of the town to give the remainder of the troops time to rest, as they had, after a march of 22 miles on the 4th and 18 miles on the 5th, been in action the whole day since 9 o’clock in the morning, exposed to an intense heat, and almost without eating or drinking. The enemy, taking advantage of his cavalry, forded Spring River on different points, spread through the woods, and, partly dismounted, harassed our troops from all sides. I therefore ordered the retreat towards Sarcoxie, under the protection of Our artillery and infantry, taking first position on the heights behind Carthage, and then at the entrance of the road of Sarcoxie into the woods 2 ½ miles southeast of Carthage. From this place our troops passed unmolested to Sarcoxie. The losses of all the troops under my command on this day were 13 killed and 31 wounded. Among the latter, Captain Strodtmann, Company E, Third Regiment, and Lieutenant Bischoff, Company B, of the same regiment. The First Battery lost nine horses, the Third Regiment, Major Bischoff, one. One baggage wagon was lost in Carthage for want of horses to move it.

According to reliable information, the enemy’s losses have not been less than 350 to 400. One of their pieces was dismounted and another burst.

It is with the deepest regret that I must report the surprise and capture of Captain Conrad and his company of 94 men at Neosho on the 5th of July. Officers and men were released on oath not to bear arms against the Confederate States during the war.

With the greatest pleasure, and to do justice to the officers and men under my command, I must say that they fought with the greatest skill and bravery. Although more than once menaced in flank and rear by large forces of cavalry, and attacked in front by an overwhelming force, they stood like veterans, and defended one position after the other without one man leaving the ranks.

With the most sincere thanks, I acknowledge the services of the Fifth Regiment under their brave commanders and adjutant; they showed themselves as true friends and comrades of battle. And so did the artillery and their able commander, Major Backof, who, as well as Adjutants Albert and Heinrichs, assisted me during the whole day in performing the duties involved in my command.

I am, sir, with the greatest respect, yours,

F. SIGEL, Colonel, Commanding Second Brigade Missouri Volunteers.

From: N. LYON, Brigadier-General, Commanding Army of the West, US

To: J. M. SCHOFIELD, Assistant Adjutant-General

Springfield, Mo.

July 25, 1861.

The general commanding, having examined with care the official report made by Col. F. Sigel, commanding Second Brigade, Missouri Volunteers, of the engagement between the troops under his command and the rebel forces on the 5th instant, takes great pleasure in expressing in this official manner his high appreciation of the generalship displayed by this able commander and of the high soldierly qualities exhibited by his officers and men. The general commanding tenders to Colonel Sigel and his command his thanks, and those of a grateful country, for their brilliant service.

N. LYON, Brigadier-General, Commanding Army of the West.

From: T. W. SWEENY, CaptainSecond Infantry, US

To: Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.

Springfield, Mo.

July 12, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I left Saint Louis Sunday, June 23, with 300 men, and arrived at Rolla, the terminus of the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad, the same day, where I established a depot. I proceeded from that point the following day, and arrived at this place Monday, July 1, having established garrisons at various points along the route to keep my communications open.

After taking the necessary steps to make this my center of operations, I issued orders to Colonel Sigel and Colonel Salomon, the headquarters of whose regiments were at Sarcoxie and Neosho, to concentrate their forces and move in the direction of Carthage, where, I was led to believe from information received, Governor Jackson’s and General Rains’ forces were encamped. In compliance with my orders, Colonel Sigel advanced with all his force, except one company left at Neosho, to the point designated, and at about 10 o’clock in the morning of the 5th instant engaged the enemy. The enemy, being vastly superior in numbers, completely surrounded our troops and attempted to cut them off. Upon receiving information of these facts, I hastily collected about 400 men, and within three hours after receiving the intelligence was on my way to relieve Colonel Sigel’s command. I fell in with the retreating column at Mount Vernon, Lawrence County, and prepared to give the enemy battle, who I learned from my scouts was advancing in great force. Having remained at Mount Vernon for two days, I took up my line of march for this place, fearing an attack on it from the combined forces of Jackson, Rains, Price, and McCulloch, whose troops I learned were about to form a junction on the Arkansas frontier, towards which the enemy retired from Carthage.

I have an effective force of 2,600 officers and men at this point under my command, and feel confident in my ability to hold until joined by General Lyon, who I learn is within two or three days’ march of me.

I am very deficient in ammunition for the eight field pieces attached to this command; also for the .69-caliber rifle musket with which the principal part of my command is armed. I have repeatedly presented my wants in these particulars, and pressed them upon the attention of the authorities at the Saint Louis Arsenal without effect.

The inhabitants of this portion of the country are generally loyal, and since my arrival here I have organized several regiments of Home Guards, but they are very deficient in arms and ammunition. Mounted troops are much needed. Colonel Wyman’s regiment Illinois Volunteers is expected to arrive here soon.

Enclosed please find official report of the battle at Dry Fork, also a plan of the battle. I enclose a printed copy of a proclamation issued by me at this place on the 4th instant.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T.W. SWEENY, Captain, Second Infantry, Commanding

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