Knowing that General Curtis was pursuing the rebel army, that he deeded reinforcements and that a battle was impending, Colonel Bussey pushed forward, night and day, only making brief halts to enable the men to procure food for themselves and horses, and reached Springfield, only to find the army gone.
Leaving Company L, as a garrison at Springfield, the march was continued with the remaining
five companies until the night of the 18 di , when, after a march of over two hundred miles in four
days, Colonel Bussey joined the army of General Curtis at Sugar Creek, Ark., with Companies A,
B. C, D, and M. of the Third Iowa Cavalry After a brief rest, the detachment accompanied an
expedition to Fayettville, Ark., which captured that town, drove out a force of the enemy, killed
one man and captured fifty.
From the 22nd of February to the 4th of March the detachment was kept upon the move, reconnoitering towards the Boston Mountains, where the enemy were concentrating a large force. On the night of the 5th of March, the enemy, 40,000 strong, were reported advancing. The army was ordered back to Sugar Creek, a distance of twelve miles. General Sigel's division, while falling back in obedience to orders, on the morning of March 6th was attacked by the enemy, and the cavalry brigade, commanded by Colonel Bussey, (of which the five companies of the Third Iowa Cavalry formed a part,) was ordered to reinforce him. The brigade moved promptly and soon met the wounded which were being sent to the rear. This was the first experience of the detachment under fire. A running fight ensued and was kept up until the enemy abandoned the pursuit, within a few miles of the position occupied by the rest of the army at Sugar Creek. In this engagement the loss was considerable on both sides. On the morning of March 7, 1862, the hard fought battle of Pea Ridge began. The official report of Colonel Cyrus Bussey shows how gallantly the five companies of the Third Iowa Cavalry fought during the battle, and the important service they rendered in the subsequent pursuit of the enemy. Besides the five companies, A, B, C, D, and M, of the Third Iowa Cavalry, consisting of two hundred and thirty-five men and officers, the Colonel, as the ranking officer of the brigade, had under his command during the battle the following forces: The Benton Hussars, under command of Colonel Nemett; four companies of the First Missouri Cavalry, under command of Colonel Ellis; two companies of the Fremont Hussars, under command of Lieutenant Howe, and three guns of Captain Elbert's battery. His report describes at
length and with particularity of detail all the movements of his command during the battle and the pursuit which followed. The report covers the operations of all the troops under his command, the following extracts referring only to the most conspicuous portion of the service rendered by the companies of his won regiment.
After describing the preparatory movements and the taking of positions assigned to the different organizations of his command, Colonel Bussey thus describes the opening of the battle in his front: At this point we came within full view of the enemy's cavalry passing along about a half mile distant to the north. No other force being discovered, the three guns were immediately advanced
by General Osterhaus, who was present and in command, about two hundred yards, and immediately opened fire on the cavalry of the enemy on the road to the northwest. One company of the First Missouri Cavalry was in line of battle on the left of the guns and one company of the same troops on the right. The companies of the Third Iowa Cavalry were formed in line of battle in rear of the guns, parallel with the road and facing to the north. While forming the Benton Hussars in line on the right of the Third Iowa Cavalry and facing the west, I was ordered by General Osterhaus to send two companies of the Third Iowa Cavalry down the road to the west, to charge the enemy's line at a point supposed to be about a half mile distant. This order was communicated