I then sent word to the General that I had need of reinforcement, having become satisfied that
it was no small party, merely to annoy the road, with whom I was contending, but a very
considerable force, perhaps his main body.
From subsequent information, I learn that it consisted of between ten and fifteen thousand
men, comprising all the Missourians, some of whom were called Confederate troops, and were
under Col. Little; others, Missouri State Guards, under General Price; there were other rebel
forges, including Indians, the whole commanded by General Van Dorn in person; with about
twenty guns some of which were rifled, while I had not quite two thousand five hundred men on
the field, with twelve guns which came up successfully, were disabled and ran out of
ammunition in such a manner that I never could have more than five playing at the same time.
I know of the following Divisions being engaged there, viz: Frost's, Slack's, Parsons', Raines'
and Little's. Also, the following batteries: Ghebor's, Clark's, [Emmet,] McDonald's and Wade's.
Against this force my Division, with the slight assistance mentioned further on, held its
ground for upwards of seven hours.
After retiring from my first advanced position down the road, there was a lull in the action,
and I went over to see Col. Dodge, who was about three quarters of a mile distant near the road
running to the east along the ridge and beyond Clemen's house.
During this time the enemy advanced up the hollow in the brush, along the main road, and
Col. Vandever ordered forward the infantry, when there ensued a desperate conflict with small
arms, our men driving them back to the foot of the hill, when the enemy opened his batteries.
As our wounded men were being brought back by their comrades from this desperate
encounter, many of them would hurrah for the Union and utter expressions of joy that they had
an opportunity to suffer for the cause.
Col. Vandever, 9th Iowa, commanding the Brigade, exhibited the utmost coolness and
bravery. He was everywhere where his presence was most needed, cheering and encouraging his
men, who, however, needed but little encouragement, and directing their effort to the best
advantage. His horse was hit twice.
Col. Phelps, commanding Phelps' regiment of six months Missourians, had three horses shot
under him and received a contusion from a shell. Both he and his regiment behaved nobly.
Major Geiger, of the same regiment, had a horse shot under him.
Major Weston, 24th Mo. Vols, had three or four companies on Provost Guard duty, a part of
which were stationed on the hill and did good service in protecting the flank.
Capt. Hayden, commanding the Dubuque Battery, acted with his usual coolness in
superintending the operations of his guns. He had two horses killed under him.
Major William H. Coyl, 9th Iowa, was here wounded in the shoulder. His gallantry had been
I sent word to Col. Dodge to draw his force near. After our men retired from the range of the
Battery, there was another short lull, when the enemy advanced and there was another desperate
encounter, in which the enemy failed to drive us out of the edge of the timber, but was driven
back himself, we being materially assisted by two mountain howitzers under Major Bowen and
his Lieut., Madison, which had been sent up by the General.
It was at this time that one of the guns of Hayden's Battery was lost, in the attempt to place it
on the top of the hill, by going into a large body of the enemy who were concealed in the brush.
There was now a lull for a considerable time, the enemy being engaged in arranging his
forces for a final attack.
From the Tavern I could not see him, on account of the thick bushes, but on the right, the
timber being more open, Col. Dodge saw him plainly advancing and placing his batteries and
At this time I was satisfied that the enemy was two strong for me, although my troops had
fought with most heroic gallantry, and I would have retired but for the following reasons:
The position which I now held would, if occupied by the enemy, have commanded our camp.
We had some stores in a barn near the Tavern, and I was constantly expecting reinforcements
which I knew the General was using every effort to get up to me, and if they arrived in time we
could hold the ridge, which would be as valuable to us as to the enemy, and the General sent me
word repeatedly " to persevere." I determined, therefore, to hang on to the last extremity,
knowing that every moment saved brought my reinforcement nearer. I sent what was left of the
35th Ills.. to Dodge, as it belonged to his Brigade.
I received about this time a battalion of the 8th Ind. and three rifled pieces all of which I
placed in position at the Tavern; but soon after, the enemy opened on Dodge with artillery and
infantry, and I sent the last arrived troops to him.
Enclosed find report of Lieut. Col. Shunk, 8th Ind., of his part of the engagement
While Col. Vandever was closing the gap thus occasioned, the enemy commenced swarming
up the road and hollows, and through the brush in front of us.
My troops fought with most heroic courage and devotion, officers exposing themselves
freely, cheering and encouraging their men; but it was impossible to withstand such
overpowering numbers, and the men retreated across the field, but rallied again handsomely
along the fence not far back.
Lieut. Col. F. J. Herron, 9th Iowa, had his horse shot under him, was wounded and taken
prisoner. He had commanded his regiment during the entire engagement, and his courage and
conduct won the admiration of all, and will add to the laurels he gained at the battle of Wilson's
Here my horse was hit three times. The artillery fired until the last moment, and in
consequence thereof lost two pieces, several of the men being shot down while trying to attach
them to the limber. The three pieces of artillery lost that day by Capt. Hayden's Battery were
recovered by our troops on the next.
Upon retiring to the fence above mentioned, we fortunately met General Curtis with
reinforcements, under General Asboth, advancing. The commanding General conducted the
remainder of the operations in person.
During all this time, Col. Dodge had sustained a constant engagement with the enemy.
He had placed himself on the hither side of the field, near Clemens' house, and though
immensely outnumbered, and in point-blank range of grape, held his position until his
ammunition gave out, when he retired a short distance, waited for the enemy's approach, gave
him a last volley, which checked and turned him, and then marched off the field with colors
flying, bringing his wounded men along. Col. Dodge had three horses shot under him, one of
them being struck with twenty balls, and received a slight wound in the hand.
Lieut. Col. J. Galligan, 4th Iowa, was wounded in the hand. Lieut. Col. Wm. P. Chandler,
35th Ills., was taken prisoner while rallying a squad of men to check the enemy who were very
near the left flank.
Major John McDonnell, with two Battalions of the 3d Ills.. Cavalry, supported the fight
during the entire engagement, and Col. Dodge speaks in the highest terms of their conduct. They
were much under fire of artillery, they skirmished constantly, and frequently dismounted to fight
on foot. Some of the men whose horses were disabled joined the infantry and fought out the
battle with them.
Capt. Sparks was wounded. Capt. Davis had a horse shot under him.
The 2d Battalion of the 3d Ills. Cavalry supported the left, and was, a part the time, placed on
top of the hill to the west of the Tavern, skirmishing with the troops there, some of whom were
Lieut. S. F. Dolloff received a dangerous wound in the thigh. Lieut. W. S. Lee had a horse
shot under him.
The total loss of the Division was: Killed, 97; wounded, 488; missing, 78; total, 663. We
brought on to the ground: Infantry, 1,790; cavalry, 469; twelve smooth-bore guns, with 204 men;
In giving the above narrative, I have spoken of those officers and troops whom I personally
noticed or whose conduct has been specially reported to me. There are many others deserving, of whom I have not yet heard. All the troops behaved with such gallantry and devotion that it is the proudest boast of my life to have commanded them.
My Staff were of the greatest services to me; 1st Lieut. T. W. Sullivan, Adjt. 3d Ills. Cavalry,
A. A. A. G. of the 4th Division, rode the same horse on which he made the gallant charge at Dug
Springs, where both he and his horse were desperately wounded. He carried a great many orders
and went forward many times to reconnoiter, exposing himself freely; his horse was wounded.
Lieut. L. Shields, 4th Iowa, acting Aide, was of great assistance; he had a horse shot under
him, while conducting a battalion of the 8th Ind. to Col. Dodge.
Lieut. A. Bowman, 9th Iowa, acting Aide, was of great service in transmitting orders, &c.
Mr. John E. Phelps, who has been acting Aide since February 17th, was with me in all the
hottest parts of the engagements and was wounded in the leg.
Sergeant Major Jas. Wm. Woostor, of my regiment, was killed while trying to disentangle an
artillery team in front of the troops.
After the engagement we lay on bivouac in front of the enemy until the morning, when the
action was again renewed. My Division being on the right, did not come in contact with the
Capt. Hayden's Battery, however, did excellent service, having been posted by the General in
person, so as to cross-fire on the enemy.
The 1st Iowa Battery also, under Lieut. Davids, did good execution with what little
ammunities he had been able to obtain during the fight, and the 3d Ills. Cavalry, as on the
previous day, was of great benefit to us by skirmishing on the flanks.
Before closing, I wish to remark on the facts, that Col. Dodge, with a large, part of his
Brigade, by special direction of the General, had been out the night before the battle until 12
o'clock, blockading the road by which the enemy traveled an hour or two afterwards to get in our
rear. This blockading delayed the enemy and was of great advantage to us.
Also, Col. Vandever, with a large part of his regiment, Phelps' and the 3d Ills. Cavalry,
composing more than half of his Brigade, being on detached service, made a march of forty
miles the day before the battle to join us.
The horses had absolutely nothing to eat from the morning of the 6th till the evening of the
8th. These facts show that my Division was tired when it went into action, account for the
absence of some of the men who were absolutely worn out and demonstrate what our soldiers
cheerfully endure for the cause.
I enclose herewith reports of Col. G. M. Dodge, 4th Iowa, and of Col. Wm. Vandever, 9th
Iowa, with the accompanying papers, likewise the report of Col. David Shunk, commanding
Battalion of 8th Ind.
Very respectfully, your obd't serv't,
E. A. CARR
REPORTS OF BRIGADE COMMANDERS.
HEADQUARTERS 2D BRIGADE, 1ST DIVISION.
CAMP AT ROSE HILL, ARKS. MARCH 12TH, 1862.
COL. OSTERHAUS, COMMAND. 1ST DIVISION:
The following report of the action taken by 2d Brigade, 1st Division, in the engagements of
the 6th, 7th and 5th March, is respectfully submitted:
March 6TH, 1862.—About 2 P. M. I received your order to march the Brigade from Sugar
Creek back to your assistance. I immediately halted the regiments and batteries on the road, and
marched them back in the double quick about three miles, where I found you hotly pursued by
the enemy. I formed the 36th in line of battle, and then, by your order, fell back slowly about one
mile, where I reformed four companies in ambush, and marched the other six companies one
mile to the west and formed them in line.
The enemy having given up the pursuit, I reformed my regiment and returned to camp at
March 7th.—I received your order at 9 o'clock A. M., and marched my command to an open
field or farm a little north of Leestown, and formed in the following order: 36th Ills. on the left,
Hoffman's Battery next on the right, 12 Mo. next on the right, and three pieces of Welfley's
Battery, supported by Company E, 36th Ills., on the extreme right.
While forming this line we were surprised with a precipitate retreat of cavalry, but my
command stood like veteran soldiers, and just as the enemy made his appearance behind the
cavalry, I opened up a brisk fire from the artillery, and prevented his following up the retreat.
Soon after this I directed Lieut. Beneke's section of Welfley's Battery to throw three shells to
a high, steep hill on our right, and about a mile in advance, where appeared to be officers
directing the movements of the enemy. These shells dispersed them.
After this I threw out companies B and G, of the 36th Ills. Vols.; Co. B to skirmish, and Co.
G to cover.
These companies soon discovered three regiments of the enemy's infantry lying in ambush,
and one formed a square, whom they engaged for about fifteen minutes, retiring in good order,
but with the loss of twenty wounded, thirteen in Co. G, seven in Co. B. It was during this
skirmish that the officer supposed to be Gen. Ben. McCulloch was shot by Peter Pelican, of Co.
B, 36th Ills. I then directed the artillery to fire upon the ambushed enemy, and moved forward
the 36th Ills., but the enemy retreated in great confusion, when I retired to my first position. Soon
after this I skirmished the woods over an area of a mile square, with the 36th Ills. and 12th
Missouri, taking several prisoners, when I received your order and marched my command to a
large field about two miles in advance of our position in the morning, and to the rear of the
enemy, where we remained until midnight, when we marched to the Keitsville road and camped
until morning-my command suffering greatly from fatigue, deprivation and exposure, having had
nothing to eat or drink for twenty-four hours, and neither blankets nor shelter during the night.
March 8th.—About 8 o'clock A. M. I formed my command on the ground you assigned me,
in the following order:
Welfley's Battery on the right, joined by the 12th Mo. and Hoffman's Battery and the 36th
Ills. on the left, in close column by divisions.
Soon after I directed two companies of the 12th Mo. and two from the 36th Ills., which I
increased to four companies from each of these regiments, to skirmish the hill slopes. These
skirmishers advanced in splendid style, and drove the enemy before them, those of the 12th Mo.
capturing three cannon and a very fine silk rebel flag from the Dallas Battery.
At about 10 o'clock A. M. my command joined in skirmishing to the telegraph road,
repulsing the enemy and taking a number of prisoners and guns, and a large quantity of
ammunition, flour and salt.
We then followed up the repulsed and retreating enemy seven or eight miles, when we went
into camp. The next morning, 9th inst., we marched to Keitsville, and then returned to camp near
Our loss is as follows: 36th Ills, 3 killed, 32 wounded (2 of whom have since died), and 1
Lieut. and 30 enlisted men prisoners.
This regiment brought into action 830 men and officers, and nearly all the casualties, except
the capture of the privates, occurred on the 7th inst.
In the 12th Mo., 3 were killed, 28 wounded and 2 are missing.
This regiment brought 360 officers and men into the field.
This light loss, I am convinced, is due to the good discipline and courage of the men and to
the coolness and valor of the officers; for while the men charged upon the enemy under the
severest fires, with alacrity and determination, the skill of the respective officers kept them in
perfect order and protected them from unnecessary exposure.
Where every man did his duty, it may be unjust to particularize; but while I tender my
heartfelt thanks to all my command for their promptness in obedience and for their valor in
battle, and especially for the daring and courageous stand which they made on the morning of the
7th, I would respectfully mention the unflinching courage and the collected bravery of Major
Wangelin, of the 12th Mo., and the untiring energy and valor of my A. A. A. Genl., Geo. H.
Willis, and of my Aid de Camp, Robert M. Denning, who executed my orders with promptness
in the midst of storms of shot and shell.
I would also mention the intrepidity and determined boldness of Capt. Silas Miller, of Co. B,
and Capt. Irvine, Co. G, 36th Ills., who led their commands against an overwhelming force of the
enemy, and brought them off with but little loss; and also the brilliant charge made by Cos. H
and K, 36th Ills., under the commands of Capts.. Meritt L. Joslyn and J. Quincy Adams, which
drove a large force of the enemy like chaff before the wind.
Col. Comdg. 2d Brigade, 1st Division, S.W.D.
Headquarters First Brigade, Third Division, March 10.
To Col. Jeff C. Davis, Commanding Third Division South Western Army:
Sir:—In accordance with your order, and as is customary in such cases, I have the honor to
submit the following report of the part taken by the brigade under my command in achieving the
complete victory over the enemy in the late battles fought on the seventh and eighth instants, at
Leetown and Elkhorn Tavern, in Benton County, Arkansas:
On the morning of the sixth, in obedience to your command, I moved my brigade, consisting
of the eighteenth Indiana regiment, under Lieut. Col. Washburn, the eighth Indiana, under Col.
Benton, the twenty-second Indiana, under Col. Hendricks, and the first Indiana battery of six
field pieces, under Capt. Klaus, and took possession of the hills on the north side of Sugar Creek, and immediately west of the principal telegraph road from Springfield to Fort Smith, the
twenty-second occupying the left on the ridge next the road; the eighth, with Klaus's battery in
the centre, on another prominent point, and the eighteenth upon the next ridge to the right, each
point being separated by deep ravines extending back a considerable distance in the direction of
the Cassville road. Col. Benton and Lieut. Col. Washburn, in compliance with orders, set their
respective commands to work throwing up in the course of five hours quite a respectable
breastwork, which, in case of an attack from the direction of Cross Hollows, would have been an
On the night of the sixth, the brigade bivouacked in this position. Nothing of moment
transpired until about ten o'clock of the seventh, when the firing of artillery was heard a mile or
two to our right rear; also heavy firing heard in the direction of Cassville, immediately in our
rear. The twenty-second having in the meantime been ordered by you to reinforce Col.
Vandever, near the village of Leetown, the left wing of the eighth, under Lieut. Col. Shunk, and
Capt. Klaus, with one section and a half of his battery, were ordered to support Col. Carr, whose division, in conjunction with Gen. Asboth's, was then engaged with Price's force near Elkhorn Tavern. About two P. M. I received your order to proceed with the eighteenth to the scene of action, which order was executed with despatch by Lieut. Col. Washburn. On arriving I found the twenty-second in line of battle, on the left and rear of Davidson's Peoria battery, which was in position in the south-east corner of a large open field. We immediately formed on their right.
Here I took command of both regiments. Col. White's brigade being warmly engaged with the
enemy in the woods, on the right of the clear land, I was ordered to his support. Moving in
double quick time by the right flank, and passing through the timber to a small hill, I found the
fifty-ninth Illinois retiring in disorder, having been overwhelmed by vastly superior numbers,
and a murderous fire from the Louisiana, Arkansas and Cherokee troops. I closed up my line as
soon as the fifty-ninth passed through, and advancing through the field, changed my line of battle
by wheeling to the left until I got about parallel with the right side of the large field first named;
then pressing forward, I found the enemy rushing upon Davidson's Battery (Col. White, with the
thirty-seventh Illinois, having retired to change his line), having taken two guns, which they
turned on my command with some effect. Here they received a full volley from us, which threw
them into the utmost confusion, when they abandoned the guns taken, and retreated from the
field, a part of them passing to our right rear, and a large force taking immediately through the
line of the twenty-second, which gave way by order of Col. Hendricks, and retired from the field,
leaving the eighteenth alone. About this time Col. Hendricks fell, having received two mortal
wounds. About the time the enemy found that I had them flanked, Col. White rallied the
thirty-seventh, and nobly seconded my efforts to retake the battery. That portion of the enemy
which passed my left flank, poured a desperate volley on the rear of the eighteenth, which was
rendered comparatively harmless by having the men fall flat down. The left wing was promptly
faced by the rear rank, and returned the fire, with terrible effect, on the enemy, while the right
wing fired to the right front on those who were rapidly retreating in that direction. We then
passed through to the open ground in front, having secured a complete victory over a force three
times our number, of the best Louisiana and Arkansas troops, assisted by a large body of
Cherokee Indians, many of whom paid the penalty of their base ingratitude to the government
that has so bountifully provided for their welfare.
After some little time, the twenty-second returned and took their position on the right of the
eighteenth, where we bivouacked, on the same ground where we first formed. Thus ended the
battle near Leetown, in which the enemy lost Generals McCulloch and McIntosh, with many
other officers of distinction.
About ten P. M. your orders were received directing me to move my command to the support
of Col. Carr s division, who had been warmly engaged all day with Price's forces. At twelve we
moved, returning to the main road; thence north to the cleared land south of Elkhorn Tavern,
where we took position on the right side of the road, the let's of the eighteenth resting on the
road, and the right of the twenty-second closing up to the right wing of the eighth, which had
rendered gallant service during the day under Lieut. Col. Shunk, in conjunction with the right
wing of Klaus's Battery, which I found in position opposite the centre of my command. Here we
bivouacked on the edge of the brush until morning.
At half past seven A. M., the fire was opened by Davidson's and Klaus's Batteries, which, in a
short time, was answered by a tremendous fire of grape and canister, from a masked battery in a
point of scrubby timber not over one hundred and fifty yards from my line. Klaus's Battery, after
firing a few rounds, were forced to retire, the twenty-second and eighth likewise falling back in
haste. The eighteenth remained in ambush, unobserved as yet by the enemy, their fire passing
over, until I deemed it advisable to bring them to the rear, which order was executed without loss
and in good order. I now reformed the twenty-second and eighth, and directed my line of battle
parallel with and about three hundred yards from my first position in the woods, but on receiving
orders from you, I changed my line of battle by throwing the right back a little, in which position
we cautiously advanced until my right rested on the clear land adjoining our first position. Here I
received a message that the masked battery had retired, that I had to change position to get out of the line of fire of our own batteries, which were then moving. forward, the enemy having given
way. Here we passed to the front by files from the right until we were on the ground pointed out
for us near the brush concealing the enemy's batteries, when, to my surprise, I found that there
had been a mistake in supposing it withdrawn, as a perfect shower of canister belched forth from
the thick brush in front, which fortunately was aimed too high. Lieut. Col. Washburn being
forward, promptly gave orders to change front forward and form line along the fence, which was
rapidly executed, our own batteries and that of the enemy in the meantime playing over us.
An order to charge and take the battery was now given, which was received with cheers, the
line advancing steadily with fixed bayonets, increasing the speed to a double quick; our men
cheered with undaunted spirit, which caused the rebels to hastily withdraw their battery, and a
general stampede ensued. We now deployed to the right, the eighteenth being in the advance, and
the eighth and twenty- second being separated by Col. White's brigade, which, in the excitement
consequent upon the unexpected attack from and subsequent charge on the battery, had formed
on its left. In this position the two brigades pushed on the enemy in full retreat, frequently giving
them a heavy fire from muskets and rifles, the chase being kept up through heavy fallen timber,
passing which we got into open timber, and moved rapidly forward; the enemy now having
passed out of sight, and the men being exhausted, I gave up the chase, but advanced steadily up
to the Huntsville road, when I halted on the eighteenth, and awaited the arrival of the rest of the
brigade, which came up in a short time. Col. Benton arrived with the right wing of the eighth,
and the balance of Klaus's battery, who had been left to hold the crossing at Sugar Creek, no
doubt thinking their lot a hard one at not being permitted to take a more active part in the
achievement of so glorious a victory. This was the first time my command got all together since
the engagement first commenced.
During the engagement of both the seventh and eighth, Capt. Klaus rendered the most
efficient service, being several times, the first day, unsupported by infantry, consequently in
great danger of being cut off by the enemy.
I cannot close this report without noticing the promptitude with which nearly all the officers
executed the commands given, but more particularly would I return thanks for the efficient aid
rendered by Lieut. Col. Washburn, Major Thomas and Capt. Short, acting Major of the
eighteenth, to Col. Benton and Lieut. Col. Shunk, of the eighth; also to my acting Assistant
Adjutant General, Lieut. George S. Marshal, and Lieut. William F. Davis, aid-de-camp, who
both rendered prompt and efficient service in delivering orders on the field.
The officers of the line tried to emulate each other in forwarding the good cause in which we
are engaged, and the men deserve the praise and congratulation of the whole country for the
courage and efficiency exhibited on all occasions in the face of a desperate and unscrupulous foe.
In consideration of the galling fire to which my command was frequently exposed, I am
happy to say but little loss, comparatively, was sustained. every advantage being taken to save
the men from exposure, by lying down and otherwise, to which the accompanying list of killed,
wounded and missing will bear testimony.
The following officers have been favorably noticed by their respective commanders in
regimental reports, namely: Capts. Jonathan E. Williams, John C. Jenks and Dr. G. W. Gordon,
of the eighteenth, and Lieut. Col. David Shunk, of the eighth.
Many others, no doubt, deserve particular mention who have escaped the observation of
myself and their immediate commanders. Respectfully submitted,
Colonel Commanding First Brigade, Third Division.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION
CAMP ON SUGAR CREEK, ARKANSAS, TUESDAY, MARCH 11TH, 1862.
General:—In obedience to your order, received at about one o'clock P. M., of the seventh
instant, this command, consisting of the thirty-seventh Illinois volunteers, the fifty-ninth Illinois
volunteers, (late ninth Missouri), and the Peoria Light Artillery—in all about nine hundred and
fifty-six men—took position in front of the enemy near Leetown, in this county.
The force we encountered consisted of the third Louisiana, under Col. Hebert—regiment
formerly commanded by Gen. McIntosh; Col. Mitchell's and Col. McRae's two regiments of
Arkansians, and a large body of Indians under the command of Gen. McIntosh, with a reserve of
several other regiments—all being under the chief command of General Ben. McCulloch.
The enemy taking position in a dense thicket on our right, the command was moved in and
forward in line of battle in perfect order within one hundred and fifty yards of the enemy's front.
Both lines then advanced, not a gun being fired until the distance between them was reduced to
sixty or seventy yards, when the fire opened about simultaneously from both sides, and was
maintained for about three quarters of an hour, with very little intermission, at very short range.
At this time, finding that the enemy were outflanking our right, notwithstanding I had
deployed this command to an extent which was of itself hazardous, in the effort to perfect such a
result, and desiring to execute a change of front corresponding to the requirements of the
emergency, I threw back the 37th Ill. in good order to the corner of the field on our left, where it
was again formed. While in the execution of this duty a fresh regiment of the enemy made a
sudden charge from the brushwood, and after disabling a number of horses by their volley,
succeeded in capturing the guns of the Light Artillery. Their triumph was short-lived, however,
for the 37th immediately fired upon them and charged, routing their right wing, at the same time
that the first brigade, under Col. Pattison, came into action on our right, driving the left wing of
the enemy in confusion from the field and retaking our guns. After following the enemy into the
woods about a mile beyond the battle-field, this command rested for about two hours, when we
marched, by your direction, to a position on the main road in the direction of Cassville, where we
bivouacked for the night.
Among officers who all exhibited the utmost gallantry and efficiency, it is impossible to
distinguish individuals. Of Col. M. S. Barnes, of the 37th, and Lieut. Col. C. H. Fredericks of the
59th, it is but just to say that they were cool, determined, and discharged their duties as
commanding officers of their respective regiments in a manner that entitles them to the thanks of
their countrymen. Both Maj. Chas. Black, of the 37th, and Maj. P. Sidney Post, were wounded
early in the engagement, each severely in the sword arm. The former continued in the field until
peremptorily ordered by my self to leave it for the purpose of having his wound dressed Maj.
Post also refused to leave the field until it was insisted on by Surgeon Maynard. Capt. C. F.
Dickerson of the 37th and Capt. Clinton F. Hunter, of the 59th, who, by virtue of seniority, filled
the places of Maj. Black and Maj. Post, respectively discharged the duties devolving upon them
with great gallantry and efficiency.
All the officers of the line, without exception, deserve the highest praise; not one flinched or
shrunk from his duty The same of all the non-commissioned officers and privates
The Peoria Light Artillery company, under the command of Capt. Peter Davidson, deserves
honorable mention. Although not brought into action until late in the day, their fire was delivered
with precision and great effect, all the officers and men of that command displaying the utmost
firmness and efficiency. Our loss was as follows:
* * * * * * *
All our wounded have been attended to by Assistant Surgeons E. A. Clark, of the 37th, and
Maynard of the 59th, in the most assiduous manner. Their skill and zeal in the discharge of their
responsible position is worthy of high commendation.
On the morning of the eighth inst., I took position in front of the enemy, our right resting on
the Springfield road, three companies supporting the battery of the Peoria Light Artillery on the
extreme right, and the remainder of the brigade to the left in an open field, with no shelter from
the enemy's batteries but a rail fence.
Our battery, by my direction, opened fire (the first of the day) upon the woods in front, where
a portion of the enemy's infantry were discerned in the act of forming, their line of battle. Our
fire was responded to by the guns of the enemy to our right, where they were masked by a dense
growth of underbrush, and within grape and canister distance. For about half an hour I sustained
this position alone, with but four guns, our infantry being entirely out of range, and therefore
useless, while at the same time they were greatly exposed to an enfolding fire which began to tell
upon them. At this time I directed a movement to the left, and about two hundred and fifty yards
distant, placing the infantry out of range of the enemy's artillery, and establishing Davidson's
battery on an eminence within easy range of the enemy. From this position our fire was received
and told with fearful effect. The artillery of Gen. Sigel's and Col. Carr's divisions soon formed on
our left, and the action became general.
The artillery gradually advanced on the enemy, while my command, under the same order,
moved to the right in connection with the first brigade, under Col. Pattison, forming a continuous
line, and connecting with Gen. Sigel's infantry. We now advanced in perfect order upon the
enemy's left, delivering volley after volley with great rapidity, precision and effect. The rout of
the enemy was complete, and we halted at the "Elkhorn Tavern," about a mile and a half in
advance of our first position, the pursuit of the enemy being continued by Gen. Sigel's column.
The conduct of officers and men was but a repetition of the previous day. None faltered; all
performed their duty nobly.
The Peoria Light Artillery, however, on this day had the opportunity which they had not so
fully before, to exhibit the great skill and daring of their officers, and the discipline and bravery,
of their men. Their guns were served with the regularity and rapidity of a parade day, and that
under a terrible fire of shell, grape and canister, from more than double the number of their own
guns, for some time before any artillery, except that of the first brigade of this division, was
brought into action.
This battery was subsequently moved to the front and right, where, after taking, position near
the main road, it opened a very effective fire of canister upon the enemy, who was concealed in
the brush, but was immediately routed from their position by this fire.
The officers of this battery, Capt. Peter Davidson, and Lieuts. Burns, Hintel and Fenton, have
exhibited all the qualities requisite to the highest perfection, and are entitled to the respect and
thanks of their countrymen.
To Brigade Adjt. J. C. Dodge, I am indebted for prompt aid at the commencement of the
action of the seventh, but having been sent to yourself with a message, he was prevented from
joining the command again till near the close of the action.
Chaplains Anderson, of the 37th, and Shoemaker, of the 59th, were present in the field,
rendering all the aid in their power in removing the wounded and relieving their sufferings.
I should do injustice if I omitted to mention the very valuable aid received at various times
from your aids, Cols. Henry Pease and Morrison; also from Adjt. Holstein. The form and voice
of Col. Pease were often seen and heard along the line, cheering and encouraging the men on to
victory, regardless of personal dangers which he was under no obligation to encounter except on
The Quartermasters of both regiments, Capts. Peck, of the 37th, and Buarhin, of the 59th, the
Brigade Quartermaster, Lieut. S. M. Jones, and Brigade—, A. D. Becker, have, during the three
days of the enemy's presence, discharged their duties patiently and efficiently, their several
departments, so exerted to the welfare of their troops, having been always in order. Losses during
the action of the eighth:
* * .* * * * *
I close this report with my warmest thanks to you, General, for the wisdom, firmness and
ability with which the movements of my command have been directed by yourself, and for your
kindness to my wounded.
I am, General, very respectfully your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS 1ST BRIGADE, 4TH DIVISION,
PEA RIDGE BATTLEFIELD, ARKANSAS, MARCH 10th, 1862.
Lieutenant:—I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the 1st
Brigade of the 4th Division in the battle of the 7th and 8th insts., also of the killed, wounded and
On the morning of the 7th I was ordered to take position with my Brigade near Elkhorn
tavern, on the Springfield road. On my arrival, I discovered the enemy in the timber about one
half of a mile to the right, and brought up one section of the 1st Iowa Battery, which opened the
battle, doing considerable execution. The enemy fled to the hollow, when I deployed my line,
covering as much ground as possible, placing Major McConnell, commanding one battalion of
the 3d Ills. cavalry, on the right, the 35th Ills. infantry on the left, and the 4th Iowa infantry and
one section of 1st Iowa Battery on the centre, sending forward a company of skirmishers from
the 4th Iowa, who soon became sharply engaged, causing the enemy to open on us with shell,
solid and grape shot. Four pieces of the 1st Iowa Battery were planted on the Springfield road,
near the Tavern, which opened on the enemy's batteries to the right. Capt. J. A. Jones and Sergt.
Gamble were wounded here. Soon after this the 35th Illinois infantry became engaged (in the
attack made in the morning) on the left, and fought with great bravery. Col. Smith fell wounded,
and the regiment lost severely.
As soon as the engagement had fairly begun, I closed up my line to the left and awaited the
attack, keeping the section of the battery at work with my skirmishers until near]y two o'clock,
when the enemy ceased firing and drew back. I soon discovered that the enemy were preparing
for a general attack, and changed front to the right, covering my men with a "rail fence," forcing
the enemy to cross an open field to reach me. I formed my line and opened fire with one section
of my battery (the other four pieces having left the field for want of ammunition); the enemy
answered with eight pieces of artillery, and advanced on my right, left and front. I brought up the
skirmishers and placed them on the left, and held the position for more than two hours, with at
least 6,000 infantry and eight pieces of artillery against me, the artillery playing upon us at short
range with canister. My section of the battery left the field early, having exhausted all their
ammunition. Near the last of the engagement, three rifled pieces of a German Battery were sent
to me and took position on my left, which, after firing three or four rounds, was compelled to
retire from the field, being flanked by a regiment of the enemy. I then ceased firing to discover
the position of the enemy's forces on my right, when they immediately advanced to within one
hundred feet of my lines, when I ordered my men to fire, which they did so effectively that the
enemy fled along the whole line in confusion. Fresh regiments immediately filled their places.
Finding that the enemy were outflanking me on the right, and that my forces were insufficient to
extend my lines, I sent for reinforcements and obtained five companies of the 8th Indiana
infantry, which I placed on my right. The firing becoming more terrific (the enemy having
placed a battery on my left that enfolded my line), the ammunition of the 4th Iowa beginning to
fail, the 35th Illinois being forced to give way, I ordered Col. Chandler to rally his men, which he
did with great gallantry, driving the enemy back a short distance on the left, but he was soon
surrounded and taken prisoner with forty men.
I noticed at this time that the 2d Brigade, which was on my left, ceased firing. I sent my
Adjutant to ascertain the cause; he informed me that they had retired. At this time the
ammunition of the 4th Iowa had almost entirely given out, and I ordered them to fall back, which
they did in splendid order, in line of battle, the enemy running forward with their batteries and
whole force. I halted and turned on them, and with my last ammunition poured so hot a fire into
their ranks that they fled in confusion. I then fell back and took a position in the open field in my
rear. The Division at this time having been strongly reinforced, Gen. Curtis ordered the 4th Iowa
to fix bayonets and advance (though they were out of ammunition); they did so, and moved
briskly over the field, but found no enemy. Gen. Curtis then ordered us to halt, it being dark. I
then took the Brigade back to camp to replenish their ammunition and clean their guns, which
they did, and at 12 o'clock took another position on fire left of the road. At sunrise, the 1st Iowa
Battery was put in position and opened fire on the enemy's batteries, which were planted on the
point near the hotel. The fire was effective and very hot. The battery had to retire in about an
hour, having spent all the ammunition. I was then ordered to the right, and took that position,
advancing with the entire line steadily until the enemy fled in all directions in confusion. We
took many prisoners; also one gun (spiked) and one caisson.
The list of killed and wounded in the Brigade shows that it fought against fearful odds, and
disputed the field with great stubbornness. Every field officer in the Brigade was disabled and
had to leave the field, and only two Lieutenants were left in the Battery.
When so many fought so gallantly, it is hard to distinguish, but I noticed the daring bravery
of Major McConnell, of the 3d Ills. cavalry, who supported me on the right, and of Col. Smith, of
the 35th Ills. infantry, who, in the early part of the day, fought gallantly until he was wounded. I
make mention especially of Lieut. Col. Chandler, who displayed coolness and bravery in rallying
his men. Lieut. Col. Galligan rendered efficient service in holding the 4th Iowa firm, no part of
which gave way an inch until the whole was compelled to fall back. I wish to mention especially
the bravery and valor of Capt. A. H. Griffith, acting Major, and of Lieut. J. A. Williamson,
Brigade Adjutant; also of Lieut. V. J. David, commanding the section of the battery on the right;
also of private J. W. Bell, Adjutant's clerk, 4th Iowa, who fell mortally wounded while nobly
doing his duty; and Color Sergeant T. Neil, who, after being severely wounded, stayed upon the
field. The conduct of the above named officers came under my personal observation. All did well
and fought nobly, and did their part in winning a great battle.
The following is the number of the killed and wounded in each command.
* * * * * * * *
I am, very respectfully,
Your obdt. servt.,
G. M. DODGE
Col. 4th Iowa, Commanding 1st Brigade, 4th Division
Lieut. F. W. SULLIVAN , A. A. A. General, 4th Division.
REPORTS OF REGIMENTAL AND OTHER OFFICERS.
COLER-25TH INFANTRY ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS.
CAMP NEAR PEA RIDGE, BENTON CO., ARK., March 9th, 1862.
GENERAL - At 2 o'clock on the morning of the 6th inst., six companies of the 25th
Regiment of Illinois Volunteers marched with the main body of the 1st and 2d Divisions from
camp near Bentonville to Sugar Creek Hollow. Scarcely had we reached the latter place, a
distance of sixteen miles, when we received a dispatch saying that General Sigel, with our rear
guard, was surrounded and engaged by a vastly superior force of the enemy; that unless
reinforced quickly he would certainly be cut off and defeated. Without waiting for further orders,
I ordered an about face and retraced our steps on a double-quick a distance of about five miles,
when we met the brave Sigel, who had most gallantly cut his way through the enemy's line.
Here the four companies which had been detached on the day previous to take possession of
some flouring mills, rejoined the regiment. Night approaching, and the enemy not appearing in
any considerable force, I was ordered to return and take position on the heights overlooking the
valley of Sugar Creek, put out pickets, and rest upon our arms and await further orders.
The morning of the 7th came, and with it the intelligence that the enemy, in full force, had
succeeded in gaining our rear, and were drawn up in line of battle. Soon was heard the booming
of cannon, announcing that the batteries of both armies were engaged.
Every officer and man stood in his place in the ranks, and awaited impatiently, anxiously
expecting every moment to be ordered forward to take part in the deadly strife. Thus we stood
until 4 o'clock P. M., under the most painful suspense, all confident of victory, but fearful we
would not be allowed to take a part in achieving it. A stern joy was felt when General Sigel rode
up in person and ordered the regiment, together with the 44th Illinois Volunteers, to move
forward to the support of the left wing of our line of battle.
On our arrival at the scene of action, it was ascertained that the enemy had retired, leaving
that part of the field to our troops.
At this time heavy firing was heard far to our right, where a doubtful contest seemed to be
raging between the troops under command of Col. Carr and those composing the left wing of the
General Sigel being called upon for help, I, by his order, dispatched the five companies
comprising the left wing of the regiment to reinforce Col. Carr, while the right wing moved
forward in the line of battle, supporting two pieces of artillery. After moving forward from one
thousand to fifteen hundred yards, without meeting the enemy, it became apparent that for the
time he declined further battle.
As darkness gathered over the field of blood, our moving columns were brought to a halt, to
lay down and rest upon their arms, and the firing ceased throughout the entire length of the lines,
not to be renewed until the coming day.
Early on the morning of the 8th, the two wings of the regiment were again united, and I was
ordered to take a position in an open field, under cover of a fence and a log barn, about one
hundred yards in front of Welfley's Battery, and not over nine hundred yards from the batteries
of the enemy. This position was gained in excellent order, although to reach it we were
compelled to pass through a shower of shot and shell, over an open field, in full view of the
Arrived in position, I ordered the men to drop flat upon the ground, in which manner they
remained for one hour and thirty minutes, exposed to a terrible fire from the enemy's guns, aimed
principally at our batteries on the rising ground in our rear, which wore returning the fire with
As the fire from the enemy's battery began to slacken, the able and ever-ready tactician,
General Sigel, ordered the batteries to advance, and at the same time ordered me to proceed,
under cover of a thick underwood, to a point within four hundred yards of the enemy's line, my
left flank opposite the left of the enemy's batteries, and resting upon the Cassville and
I approached this new position unobserved, moving at a double quick over the open ground,
but at a slow and cautious step through the underbrush, keeping well covered so as not to attract
the attention of the enemy's batteries.
In our front was an open field about four hundred yards across, immediately beyond which
was woodland covered with trees, logs, and an uncommonly thick growth of oak underbrush,
from which the leaves had not yet fallen. Here the enemy was posted in strong force a few rods
from the fence, so as not to attract the fire of our batteries.
By this time several regiments on my left were closely engaging the enemy. The thunders of
the artillery and the incessant volley of musketry, from both our own and the enemy's lines,
argued to me that victory was trembling in the balance.
At this seemingly critical moment, Gen. Curtis rode up and ordered me to gain the fence on
the opposite side of the field, and at the same time ordered forward the several regiments on my
We dashed across the field and reached the fence in good order before the enemy could bring
his pieces to bear on our lines. When I reached the fence, I found that the ever gallant 12th
Missouri Volunteers were close upon my left, but that I was without immediate support on my
right. I halted for a moment, and sent forward a few resolute skirmishers to find the precise
position of the foe. They soon returned, and reported them in large force about seventy-five
yards distant. During this short interval of time, the men disencumbered themselves of blankets
and knapsacks, saying they would conquer or never leave the brush.
My right being now supported, I ordered a movement forward into the brush. We had not
advanced over fifty yards when a loud clear voice was heard to cry out, "Ready!" I instantly gave
the command, "Cover."
The: men had scarcely dropped upon the ground, when the enemy from his coverts let loose a
terrific volley of musketry, which was promptly returned by our ranks with deadly effect.
At the same time Welfley's battery belched forth death into their thinning ranks, yet the
greater number stood their ground, and fought bravely until about the sixth round, when they all
gave way in the wildest disorder.
After giving them a few parting rounds to increase the velocity of their speed, I ordered the
fire to cease. " The victory was with the Stars and Stripes. "
The regiment entered the action four hundred strong; early on the morning of the 8th,
company "A" in command of Lieut. Mitchell, was detached to support two pieces of Capt.
Welfley's battery, a duty which he gallantly performed.
I am proud to report that in every position in which they were placed, officers and men
showed the coolest courage and most determined bravery. They obeyed every order, and
performed their duty well.
Where all done so well, it would be invidious to make distinctions; but I cannot close this
report without making mention of the gallant conduct of 1st Lieut. John F. Ison, of company G,
who by the bursting of shell received a severe and painful wound in the hand and was otherwise
injured, yet he refused to leave the field, and remained in command of his company until the
close of the action.
The following officers took part in the action: Maj. R. H. Nodine, Adj. Geo. W. Flynn, Capts.
Clark, Boyden, Wall, Tuggart, Osborne, Summers. and Andrews; 2d Lieuts. Mitchell, Lake,
Braselton, Vandever, Knapp, and Richards.
I append a list of our killed, wounded, and missing.
I have the honor to be, my dear General, your obedient servant,
W. N. COLER, Col. 25th Reg't Ill's Vol's Comm'g. Gen. P. J.
Osterhaus, Commanding First Division.
Camp near Leesburg (town)
March 10th, 1862
Col. Coler, Commd'g 25th 111's Vol's:
After receiving your order to reinforce Col. Carr on the afternoon of the 7th March, I
proceeded with the left wing of the regiment to a point opposite the enemy's center, where I took
a position in a small piece of brush. Gen. Curtis soon after ordered me to move across the
meadow and to charge the enemy, and if possible to drive him from his position. In pursuance
with this order, we advanced across the field and penetrated the brush on the opposite side about
three hundred yards, when some scattering shots were fired from the rear of our left. Supposing
them to be from some of our own men who had got behind their company, I ordered them to
stop. I halted the command, and moved towards the left wing to ascertain the cause of the firing,
when a prisoner was brought to me, who was sent to ascertain who we were by the commander
of the enemy's force at that point, and who informed me that the 7th Louisiana regiment and two
others were lying to our left about forty yards. Owing to the darkness and thickness of the
underbrush, I found it impossible to distinguish friend from foe, and also from the fact that one
of our own batteries was playing upon us from the angle of the brush and the road, I thought it
best to retire, which I did, recrossing the meadow and taking position in the brush about four
hundred yards from the enemy, where we lay on our arms all night, at the request of Col. Carr. In
the morning we rejoined our command.
Very truly, your obedient servant,
R. H. NODINE, Maj. 25th Ills. Vols.
WANGELIN-12th INFANTRY MISSOURI VOLS.
Camp " Rose Hill Battlefield."
Colonel: In accordance with your instructions just received, I do hereby submit my report of
the movements and actions of the 12th Missouri Volunteers on the days of battle, March 6th, 7th,
and 8th, 1862:
Arriving in Bentonville March 6th, at about 10 o'clock A. M., I was ordered by you to remain
in town until receiving further orders. The regiment had their arms stacked in front of a large
unfinished frame church. The 2d regiment Missouri Volunteers marched from the south into our
road, and followed the main army of which the 12th Missouri formed the rear. In the rear of the
2d Missouri, and apparently from the same direction, appeared a large body of troops, who after
a short time were discovered to be the enemy; how strong, I am not able to say. The effective
strength of the 12th at that day was only some 325 men, as two companies had been ordered off
several days previous. The enemy, outnumbering us and the other troops in town greatly, spread
out his men on both sides with the road, and parallel with it, in order to intercept all egress. I was
then ordered by Gen. Sigel to march in the rear of a company of flying artillery, on the same road
as our whole army had taken. Shortly after, however, the whole regiment was ordered forward,
with the exception of one company, who remained as protection behind the artillery almost the
whole day. We had hardly left town when it was taken possession of by the enemy. Gen. Sigel
ordered the 12th, the only infantry present, to throw out skirmishers on both sides of the road,
and to march the balance of the regiment on both sides of the artillery by the flank, fronting
outward. This way we marched, without any molestation, for several miles, when we were
suddenly attacked by a large body of cavalry, who were, after an engagement which to me
seemed to last about a quarter of an hour, driven from the field, leaving many of their dead and
wounded on the field. This was the first time the men stood in fire; but all, without exception,
behaved gallantly, pouring in their shot with deliberation and coolness. The enemy, so severely
repulsed, withdrew, and we marched forward on our road without any further molestation.
The casualties of the day were three wounded. One ambulance with the driver was taken,
with some sick soldiers of some other regiment. We marched on, and meeting you after a few
hours' further march, went into camp.
March 7, 1862.—This morning the regiment was ordered to follow in its march, the 36th
Illinois Volunteers, and finally after an hour's march deployed in a large field, protecting Capt.
Hoffman's battery. After a while two companies were ordered to deploy as skirmishers towards
the woods, about one-fourth of a mile in front of us, to protect some horses and drivers who were sent to recover a cannon which had been lost in a previous engagement of the day, which order was executed in gallant style; the gun was recovered and brought back. We were then several times ordered to change our position, when finally, while the regiment was marching into the timber by the right flank, and was about half in the thicket, a large body of the enemy's infantry appeared, which was soon engaged by the regiment's left wing, and after considerable execution driven back. This ended the second day's engagement as far as this regiment is concerned.
After some marching without coming to any other general engagement, we, in company of several
other regiments, encamped in a large cornfield, without fire or food. The casualties of the day
were twelve wounded, some of whom severely.
It is with great satisfaction that I can bear testimony to the coolness and bravery of all the
officers and men under my command during the whole day. The comparatively small loss I
attribute solely to their firmness, which enabled them to drive the enemy off with great loss,
without being subject themselves to a very protracted fire.
The third day, March 8th, commenced with a march at 121/2 o'clock A. M., towards the
telegraph road, whereon we encamped for the rest of the night, and the regiment finally obtained
some food, the first for twenty-four hours. The battle was commenced by the enemy by throwing
round shot over and sidewards of our camp, without hurting anybody. We were marched about 7
o'clock A. M. into a large corn-field, occupying about the centre of the left wing of the army,
which was placed in a large semi-circle. On our right was Welfley's, and afterwards some other
battery; on our left Hoffman's battery. This position was occupied for some hours, the battle
being for that length of time only an artillery engagement. After this time the enemy's cannon
having been almost silenced by the well directed fire of our artillery, Gen. Osterhaus ordered two
companies to deploy as skirmishers towards the enemy, to which was presently another company
added. The men had to pass over a pretty large field, without any shelter before reaching the
woods in which the enemy were concealed, which was done in double quick time, following up
the enemy into the timber, there composed of large trees without any undergrowth. The enemy
retreated rapidly behind a fence at the other end of the timber from where they poured a
destructive fire on us. The balance of the regiment in the meantime coming up, and the 25th
Illinois skirmishing on our right, and the 36th Illinois on our left, we went forward routing the
enemy completely before our front, and achieving in connection with the other brave troops on
our right and left, a complete and decided victory. This ended the battle as far as I am aware of,
at least as far as this regiment is concerned. The officers and men engaged in battle this day
numbered less than four hundred, but, I say it with pride, showed themselves worthy of the
distinguished commander whose name the regiment bears.
The casualties of this day were three killed and twelve wounded, mostly severely. My horse
was killed by a shot in the neck.
The casualties of all three days, were: March 6, 1862, four wounded, two missing; 7th,
twelve wounded; 8th, twelve wounded, and three killed; making a loss in all of three killed,
twenty-eight wounded, and two missing.
Major Com'dg 12th Mo.
POTEN—17TH INFANTRY MISSOURI V0LUNTEERS.
REPORT OF THE 17TH REG'T MO. VOL'S, 2D BRIG.,
Camp, Rose Hill, March 10, 1862.
Wednesday, March 5th .—In camp at McKreisick's farm, Companies A and C received
orders to join an expedition under Maj. Conrad to the Indian Territory.
Thursday, March 6th.—On the march to Sugar Creek, halted five miles from Bentonville,
when the intelligence reached us that the enemy had attacked our rear guard at Bentonville.
Major Poten having been sent to General Curtis to report the state of affairs, leaving Capt.
Niegeman in command, the regiment marched back on the road to Bentonville, and covered the
retreat of the division. Major Poten having in the meantime returned, and two companies of the
15th Regiment Missouri Volunteers, under Major Landry, having been attached to our regiment,
reached camp about dark.
Friday, March 7th—Remained in camp until noon, when General Sigel ordered Major Poten
to advance on the road to Bentonville. The command consisted of the 17th Regiment Missouri
Volunteers, two companies of the 15th Missouri, Major Landry; two companies of Benton
Hussars, Major Heinrichs; two pieces of artillery under Capt. Elbert; and two companies of 3d
Missouri, Capt. Hartman; Major Poten commanding the whole. Having advanced about five
miles, we discovered the enemy in front of our right wing, on the hills. Our skirmishers had for a
while kept up a lively fire, driving the enemy back. The artillery having come forward, fired
three shells at them, without, however, receiving any response from the enemy. Major Heinrichs
now advanced with his two companies of cavalry close up to the enemy's stand, when they fired
at him with three cannon, wounding one of his men severely, on the head, another one slightly.
The object of the expedition having been gained, the order to retreat was given by Major
Poten, and carried out with the greatest order. Several prisoners were taken going back to the
camp, where the whole train of the division had been left.
Saturday, March 8th.—According to orders received from General Sigel, our force, after the
arrival of four companies of the 2d Regiment Missouri Volunteers, proceeded along the
telegraph road to the battle-field. Posted on the left wing, the regiment deployed as skirmishers,
and advanced over the hill in front to the telegraph road, where we received the order to follow
the retreating enemy. Marched to within two miles from Keetsville and camped there. In
consequence of intelligence received that the enemy was encamped one mile further, the
command started again, through Keetsville. After fruitless exertions to catch up with him, the
command returned to camp on Sugar Creek, at Rose Hill.
Below a list of our loss since Wednesday, March 5th.
* * * * *
A. H. POTEN,
Comd'g. 11th Regt. Mo.
FRED. LEBER, Adjutant.
Headquarters 44th Ills. Vols, North-Western Rifle Reg't, Camp,
Pea Ridge, Ark., March 11, 1862.
GEN. SIGEL, Comd'g 1st and 2d Divisions:
Sir—I have the honor to report the action of this regiment from the 6th to the 9th of March
inclusive. The regiment, stationed at Camp Cooper, near Bentonville, received marching orders
at 11 o'clock P. M. of the 5th, and at 2 o'clock A M. of the 6th, commenced a retrograde
movement towards Sugar Creek Hollow.
Other marching orders were received. Company F, under command of Lieut. Hickey, was
stationed at Williams' Mill, seven miles west, grinding flour for the use of the regiment. A
messenger was immediately sent for them, and they made a very rapid march, reaching the
regiment in time to march with us, bringing also a quantity of flour. The regiment, with the 1st
Division, passed Bentonville at sunrise, and arrived at Sugar Creek Hollow at 11 o'clock A. M.
We had hardly stacked our arms before information was received that the 12th Missouri regiment
had been cut off by the enemy, and we were ordered by you to hasten back to their assistance,
which was immediately done, the regiment going double quick some six miles, but as the enemy
had retreated, we were ordered back and took position on the bluff, west of the Hollow. Contrary to all expectation, the enemy attacked our forces the next morning on the northwest side of our lines, and the battle of Leetown commenced. My regiment, together with the 25th Illinois, 17th Missouri, and part of Welfley's battery were held in reserve until 1 o'clock P. M., when we were all ordered by you to the field and to the rescue. Companies C and A, under command of Captain Russell, were previously ordered to skirmish the woods in front of our position and secure themarch of the reserve to the battle-field. Capt. Russell succeeded, by skillful management, intaking many prisoners and driving back scattering bodies of the enemy who threatened our leftflank. Eight companies proceeded double-quick to the battle-ground near Leetown.
Arriving on the field they were ordered by Brig. Gen. Davis to take position on the right of the road, where the hardest fighting had been done. A line of skirmishers was immediately thrown out and the regiment followed with great promptness, passing over the dead and wounded who lay in every direction. Finding the enemy were retreating, I followed them rapidly, taking a number of
prisoners and keeping up a lively skirmishing fire. After pursuing them over a mile, I took
position on a high ridge commanding the surrounding ground. At this moment you arrived with
artillery and other forces and ordered us forward in pursuit of the enemy. Night overtaking us,
we were ordered into an open field on the left, and slept on our arms in front and near the enemy.
Early the next morning, together with other regiments, we changed position and went towards
the headquarters of Gen. Curtis, near Pea Ridge. At 7 o'clock on the morning of the 8th, we took
position on the left of Col. Carr's regiment, from the north-east. After taking our position and
throwing out skirmishers, the enemy commenced a heavy fire on our right flank, forcing Col.
Carr's regiment and the two batteries they were supporting, to retire. Part of the infantry broke
through our line, but our men behaved with the greatest coolness, and did not fall back until
ordered to do so. Gen. Curtis then ordered me to take a new position, supporting the 1st Iowa,
and one other battery. The order was obeyed with promptness, and as the batteries advanced the
regiment also advanced in line of battle on the open field, exposed to the fire from the enemy's
batteries. You ordered me at this instant to the support of Welfley's and Hoffman's batteries,
stationed on the open field in front of the high ridge occupied by the enemy, which was done
with the greatest alacrity. Having taken this position, companies A, C, G and K, were ordered
forward to support our forces, which were then storming the ridges, which was done in the most
spirited manner, our companies joining with other regiments in driving the enemy from their
strong position, whilst the balance of the regiment followed as a reserve. The enemy having been
driven forward, we pursued them some four miles on the road toward Keetsville. Arriving at the
junction of the Bentonville road, I was ordered after being joined by two companies of the 36th
Illinois regiment and one company of the Benton Hussars, to continue the pursuit of the enemy
on the Bentonville road. At 7 o'clock the next morning, I marched toward Bentonville, going
within five miles of the place. Having no orders to proceed further, and Col. Ellis' cavalry
regiment having overtaken me, I returned to within one mile of the Keetsville road, and the next
day joined your command, leaving two companies to guard the road.
Owing to the coolness and discipline of the soldiers, and the fortunate positions which were
selected, our loss was very small, being only one man killed, two wounded, and seventeen
missing. All, officers and soldiers, behaved with the greatest spirit and courage. I would
especially mention the names of Capt. A. A. Barrett, acting major; Capt. J. Russell, Capt. L. M.
Sabin, Capt. Max Crone, of the Potomac Army, who volunteered for the occasion; Adj. Jas. S.
Ransom, and Lieut. Davis, who displayed great energy and courage.
The regiment has taken in this engagement over one hundred and fifty prisoners, among them
one acting brigadier general, one colonel, one major, one chaplain, three captains, and two
lieutenants. They have also captured one stand of colors, two hundred and thirty stand of arms,
and sixty horses.
Very respectfully yours,
CHAS. KNOBELSDORFF, Col. Comm'g.
HEADQUARTERS EIGHTEENTH REG'T, IND.
COL. THOS. PATTISON, Comm'g 1st Brig, 3d Div., South-western Army:
In obedience to order No.—, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken
by the Eighteenth regiment Indiana Volunteers in the recent engagement near Sugar Creek,
On the 6th inst., the regiment under my command was ordered to take possession of one of
the high points commanding the approach to Sugar Creek by way of the main Texas road leading
through Cross Hollows, and to prepare rifle pits; which we did, working on the same until about
11 o'clock of the 7th, when the firing having opened some two miles in our rear, near the village
of Leetown, we were by your orders transferred to the scene of action. On arriving at the point,
we were ordered to take position on the left, but had hardly formed our line when we were
ordered to change our position to the extreme right of our line, move down to the right half a
mile, and endeavor to get in the rear of the enemy's left, who were engaged with the second
brigade of our division. On endeavoring to gain our position, we met the 59th Illinois retreating,
having been driven back by an overwhelming force. We were delayed a few moments by their
running through our lines. As soon as they had passed us we made a left half wheel, and moved
forward through a dense growth of timber and underbrush, and soon found ourselves in the rear
of the enemy, who were pursuing the 37th Illinois, which was falling back in good order. The
first notice they had of our approach was receiving our fire.
The enemy's force, consisting of the 3d Louisiana, two regiments of Arkansas troops, and a
regiment of Cherokee Indians, immediately turned upon us, and made a vigorous attack; but
having ordered my men to lie down, we received but little damage. The 22d Indiana, which was
on my left, gave way in confusion, and the enemy commenced passing around my left to the rear.
I immediately faced my regiment by the rear rank, lying close to the ground, and replied to their
fire in such a manner as to soon throw them into the utmost confusion. Finding my rear clear, I
faced again by the front rank and pressed on, driving the enemy back into the open field, into the
fire of the 37th Illinois, which rallied in the woods to our left. The enemy fled in "real disorder,
leaving the guns of the Peoria light artillery, which they had taken and been using upon us,
throwing canister and shell, the effects of which were only avoided by keeping my men close to
the ground. We were then ordered to bivouac for the night.
At 12 o'clock we were ordered to move in silence from our station, and take position on the
right of the main road, in the thick brush, bordering on a low bottom field. On our right were
three pieces of artillery, the 22d Indiana, and the left wing of the 8th Indiana. In this position we
lay until seven o'clock in the morning, when our battery opened upon the woods in our front.
After a couple of shots from our battery, we were opened upon by a masked battery not more
than two hundred yards in our front. The fire was so hot as to oblige the battery and infantry on
our right to retire in some confusion. My regiment, I am happy to say, remained in their position
until ordered by you to fall back, while the enemy poured in a perfect storm of shell and
grapeshot, and we only avoided a heavy loss by lying down. When ordered to fall back, we
formed our line on the hill and awaited orders. Between ten and eleven o'clock, we were ordered
to move by our right flank to a position beyond the enemy's left. The 18th being on the extreme
right of our whole line, we were ordered to fix bayonets, and to drive back and turn the enemy's
flank; which order was obeyed, driving them back in the greatest confusion. Our column was
halted, and our men, wearied by charging over hills and hollows, through thick underbrush, were
allowed to rest, the enemy having abandoned the field.
I cannot close this report without calling your attention to the coolness and courage displayed
by the men and officers of my command; and I am greatly indebted to Maj. D. C. Thomas, who
had charge of the right Wing, for his coolness and bravery during the whole action, and his
prompt action in carrying out all my orders. I am happy to say that Capt. S. W. Short, who had
charge of the left wing, discharged his whole duty with promptness and fidelity. Indeed, my
commissioned officers on this occasion proved themselves not only brave, but equal to any
emergency. Without disparaging the merits of the rest, I mention the names of Capts. J. W.
Williams and John C. Jenks, who were thrown under my immediate notice, and I am happy to
say that their coolness and bravery, shown on this occasion, cannot be excelled by any. To Dr.
G. W. Gordon we are much indebted for the promptness with which he followed the regiment to
every part of the field, and the skillful attention he paid to the wounded.
Enclosed please find the report of our dead, wounded, and number engaged.
With great respect, I am your obedient servant,
H. D. WASBURN,
Lt. Col. Com. 18th Reg't Ind. Vol's.
Headquarters 8th Regiment Indiana Volunteers,
March 13th, 1862
COL, E. A. CARR, Comd'g. 4th Division:
Sir—In reply to your note of the 12th inst., I would say, that about 3 o'clock P. M. of the first
days of fighting, an order came from Gen. Curtis to Col. Benton, commanding the 8th Indiana, to
send five companies to your support. He immediately ordered me to take the left wing of the
regiment and proceed in double-quick.
I was joined by three pieces rifled cannon from Capt. Klaus' Indiana Battery, which I
reported to you at the same time. You attached my command, temporarily, to Col. Vandever's.
Afterwards I received an order to go over on the right of the main road, in the brush, to the
support of Col. Dodge, to whom I did not report, from the fact that my guide's horse was killed
under him, and I was Soon engaged by about 1200 of the enemy, with whom I continued to fight,
along with the 4th Iowa, until dark. We then fell back about 300 yards, across the field in the
edge of the timber, and laid on our arms all night. In the morning I was ordered by Col. Pattison,
commanding the brigade, to join my brigade, which I did. My loss in the engagement of Friday
afternoon was five killed and twenty-seven wounded.
I have the honor to be your very obd't serv't,
Lieut. Col. 8th Ind. Vols.
CAMP PEA RIDGE, March 11th, 1862.
GENERAL-Below I have the honor to hand you a report of the part my battery took in the
battle of Pea Ridge. By order from headquarters, I left camp McKreisick, Tuesday, March the