The rebels in this part of Missouri being utterly dispersed, soon after the affair of Kirksville, Major Caldwell reported with his command at Lebanon, a considerable town about fifty miles southwest of Rolla. He was soon afterwards appointed Lieutenant Colonel, in place of Trimble, who, having been severely wounded at the battle of Pea Ridge, resigned early in September, 1862. The duties of Lieutenant Colonel Caldwell's command in southern Missouri were similar to those which had been done north of the river. By the campaign of Pea Ridge, Missouri had been cleared of rebels in force. Subsequently, General Curtis having marched with the Army of the Southwest through Arkansas to Helena by Batesville, southwestern Missouri became again uncovered and liable to incursions from the insurgents moving through the passes of the Boston Mountains. Wherefore, General Schofield, with
headquarters at Springfield, eventually organized the Army of the Frontier, which covered the State against the threatened attack, and in December, by the battle of Prairie Grove, warded off the principal danger. Nevertheless, Missouri was perturbed, and restless as the waters of a roving guerrillas, and frequently considerable bodies of troops made forays into the State. It may readily be believed,
therefore, that it was a difficult as well as dangerous task to protect our long lines of communications to the frontier army. This service also involved the keeping down of outbreaks and the covering of a frontier from the Iron Mountains of Missouri to the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. In this important line of duty Lieutenant Colonel Caldwell was engaged for several months, his command
augmented by Companies L and M, which did not join in Curtis' march through Arkansas, being constantly engaged in fatiguing service, and oftentimes meeting the enemy in skirmish or in battle. A detachment of his command was engaged at the sharp battle of Hartsville in January, 1863, and in a number of affairs of lesser note his troops acquitted themselves with great credit. The detachment was engaged in these services of importance, but of no such general interest as to meet with much public notice till the summer of 1863, when it joined the cavalry division under General Davidson in the campaign of Little Rock. Moving by Pilot Knob, the detachment marched into Arkansas near the southeastern corner of Missouri, and thence, moving southward, joined the column under Steele near the White River, and took prominent part thenceforth in the operations which resulted in the capture of Little Rock. Afterwards, the command was actively engaged in movements in the direction of Camden, and performed services both valuable and brilliant.
The official reports and correspondence in which Lieutenant Colonel Caldwell and his detached command are mentioned always most favorably are numerous, and the compiler regrets that his limitation of space will not permit him to make further quotations from them.
On February 4, 1862, the eight companies composing the first and third battalions of the regiment, under command of Colonel Cyrus Bussey, were ordered to proceed from Benton Barracks to Rolla, Mo., at which place they arrived on the 6th. A few days later orders were received from General Halleck to detail two companies to garrison the post at Salem, Mo., twenty-five miles southeast of Rolla.
Companies I and K, under command of Major William C. Drake, were selected for this duty and, like the Second Battalion, were destined to a long separation from the rest of the regiment. On February 11th, 1862, Colonel Bussey received an order from General Curtis, couched in the following language:
"Come on by short route; make forced marches to overtake me." The commander of the post at Rolla telegraphed General Halleck, asking to have General Curtis' order countermanded, as he was apprehensive of an attack and needed all the troops then at the post to defend it. Other troops were forwarded to take the place of the cavalry companies and , on the morning of February 14th, Colonel
Bussey left Rolla with the remaining six companies of his regiment. The weather was very cold, the roads were bad, forage was scarce, and this first long march was prosecuted under many difficulties,