1862--JANUARY 25, 1863.--Marmaduke's expedition into
No. 10.--Report of Col. Joseph O. Shelby, Missouri Cavalry (Confederate) commanding brigade.
HEADQUARTERS SHELBY'S CAVALRY BRIGADE,
Camp Carter. January 31, 1863.
GENERAL: On the last day of December, 1862, when the old year was dying in the lap of the new, and January had sent its moaning winds to wail the requiem of the past, my brigade, consisting of the First Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel [B. F.] Gordon; Second Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel [C. A.] Gilkey; Third Regiment, Colonel [G. W.] Thompson; the scouts, Major Elliott, and Captain Quantrill's old company, under First Lieutenant Gregg, were on the march for foray on the border's side.
The day was auspicious; a bright red sun had tempered the keen air to pleasantness, and cheered the mounted soldiers with the hopes of a gay and gallant trip. The first two days' march was long and comfortable; the third the rain commenced, cold and chilling, and continued without intermission for three days, the grand old mountains standing bare against the dull and somber sky, their heads heavy with the storms of centuries. The men suffered much, but, keeping the bright goal of Missouri constantly in sight, spurred on and on quite merrily.
For two days all went well. The third day my advance, consisting of Major [B.] Elliott's scouts, came suddenly upon about 100 notorious bushwhackers and deserters, who fired upon them quite stubbornly; but upon dismounting several companies of Colonel Gilkey's regiment, in conjunction with Elliott's battalion, and following them in their almost inaccessible retreat, 20 were killed, about the same number wounded, and many prisoners taken, and this murdering, robbing, jayhawking band broken up completely and effectually. Thus the skirmish of White Spring, successful as it was, proved to be the prelude of the victories of Springfield and Hartville. The rain commenced now in earnest, and for three days its cold, merciless peltings were endured by the men without a murmur, although the sky was dark and barren as a rainy sea, and the keen northeast wind pierced the thin clothing of the men with icy breath.
The 4th, 5th, and 6th were spent in long and cold forced marches, varied somewhat by Colonel MacDonald's successful sally upon Fort Lawrence and your advance upon the fortified town of Ozark. Five miles from this place, by your order, I halted my brigade, and gave them time to forage their animals and cook something for themselves, which they did, and were again in marching order by 9.30 o'clock. At this place, and before we started to attack Ozark, I sent Major Elliott and his scouts and two companies from Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey's regiment to gain a position in the rear of the town, on the road leading north, and cut off their retreat. He gained the position thus indicated, but gained it too late, for the Federals had left in hot haste long before Major Elliott could have possibly got around them. Upon arriving in close proximity to Ozark, and not being satisfied as to its evacuation, I dismounted the half of each regiment composing the brigade, formed them as infantry, and, feeling my way along slowly and cautiously, with numerous skirmishers, I soon found that the nest was there and it was warm, but the birds had flown, and nothing remained to do but apply the torch to fort and barracks. Soon the red glare of flames burst out upon the midnight sky, and the cold, calm stars looked down upon the scene. Several prisoners were here taken, and any quantity of commissary stores, but, having no transportation, all, except a small portion consumed by the men, were destroyed, and by 12 o'clock we were again marching northward. It was an intensely cold night, that of the 7th, and the frost hung heavy and chill on the garments of my devoted brigade, marching on to the stronghold of the enemy with a determination in their hearts rarely surpassed.
The sun came up on the morning of the 8th like a ball of fire, and the day was gloomy and chill; but Springfield loomed up before us in the distance like a beautiful panorama, and the men, catching the inspiration of the scene, forgot all their trials and hardships, and were eager for the rough, red fray. With flaunting banners, and all the pomp and circumstance of war, the Federals had marched gaily out to meet us, and taken their position in our front. I had dismounted, meanwhile, the First and Third Regiments, and was forming them as infantry, holding Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey's command mounted until the position of the enemy was perfectly understood and all his motions thoroughly seen. When the plan of action had been decided upon, I then dismounted Lieutenant.Colonel Gilkey's regiment and formed them as infantry, holding in reserve as cavalry Major Elliott's scouts and Lieutenant Gregg's company. Then forming my lines, I rapidly moved my brigade to the open plain south and southeast of the town, rested for a moment, making the final dispositions, and taking breath for the crisis. Major Elliott and Lieutenant Gregg were on the right flank, watching and skirmishing with the enemy there, and over the level earth squadrons of horse swept gaily and fantastically. 'Twas a bright and beautiful scene. There lay the quiet town, robed in the dull, gray hue of the winter, its domes and spires stretching their skeleton hands to heaven, as if in prayer against the coming strife, and, drawing near and nearer, long black lines came gleaming on, while the sun shone out like a golden bar, uncurling its yellow hair on earth and sky, stream and mountain, and lent the thrilling picture a sterner and fiercer light. My skirmishers advanced steadily, and now continual shots in front tell that the enemy are found and pressed sorely. On the extreme left you have organized Colonel MacDonald's regiment into a storming party and sent it at the fort, and they could be plainly seen winding over the crest of the hill and moving rapidly to the attack. MacDonald has met the enemy and is driving them, but they soon re-enforced, and would in turn compel him to retreat. I saw the crisis, and ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon and Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey to charge with their regiments, to support MacDonald. Gallantly it was done, and as gallantly sustained. At the command, a thousand warriors sprang to their feet, and, with one wild Missouri yell, burst upon the foe; officers mix with men in the mad melée, and fight side by side; some storm the fort at the headlong charge, others gain the houses from which the Federals had just been driven, and keep up the fight, while some push on after the flying foe. The storm increases and the combatants get closer and closer.
I heard the cannon's shivering crash,
As when the whirlwind rends the ash;
I heard the muskets deadly clang,
As if a thousand anvils rang!
In this charge a regiment of Federals, just sent from their main fort, were scattered and driven back, and their entire force forced into their heavy earthworks, surrounded by rifle-pits and other obstructions.
I cannot fail, in this connection, to speak of the daring charge of Capt. L. J. Crocker, of Company K, First Regiment; Lieut. William [H.] Ferrell, of Company F, same regiment, and about a dozen other reckless spirits from Gordon's and Gilkey's regiments, upon one piece of artillery, supported by a battalion of Iowans, but who fled after a sharp, hot rally, and suffered their gun and caisson, filled with valuable ammunition, to be borne in triumph to the rear. The battle thickens; Colonel Thompson, who had been stationed on the right with his regiment, and who did not participate in the charge, but who was watching and foiling the movements of a large body of cavalry in that direction, was now ordered up, and advanced with spirit and alacrity. The battery which accompanied the expedition from Lewisburg, commanded by Lieut. Richard A. Collins, and consisting of one rifled piece and one smooth-bore 6-pounder, was advanced, one piece being brought up into the very town, and opening at point-blank range with grape and canister. The Federals re-enforced largely, and came back with cavalry and artillery, and a hot, desperate conflict ensued; one side struggling to hold the position gained, the other to drive them from it. Bravely my fighting brigade meets the onset, and stubbornly they resist; blow tails on blow, shot follows shot. Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon leads the gallant First, and they never fail. Major [D.] Shanks, and Lieutenant Colonel Gilkey, and Colonel Thompson are piloting their regiments, bravely and well, and the contest rages: and the wild death-dance goes merrily on.
Still Collins plies his lurid torch,
Where balls will rend or powder scorch;
Still Shanks and Gordon, side by side,
Like veteran heroes stem the tide.
This stern, sanguinary fight was kept up for hours, and even into the night the roar of artillery and small arms was incessant. On the right, Lieutenant [F. M.] Scott made a bold and daring charge, breaking the first line of Federals in splendid style, and only retiring when accumulating numbers made it madness to advance.
About 3 o'clock I had Major Elliott's scouts dismounted and brought up in the town, forming in rear of and supporting Collins' iron 6-pounder, which moved along the various streets as unconcerned as if peace were made and he was firing a salute over the joyous event, although he was constantly exposed and always in range of minie musketry.
Night came down with weary, brooding wings, laid her dark brow across the cloudy sky, and threw her sable mantle over fort and wall and house and men, checking the bloody strife, and calming the furious passions that had been at war all day. I drew my brigade off calmly and cautiously, formed them in and around the heavy stockade, threw out trusty skirmishers, and prepared to pass the night as best I could, although it was very cold, and the men had no fires, save the smouldering fragments of consumed houses, burned by the terrified enemy at our first approach. When all was quiet, Collins, with his iron 6-pounder and a small support, made a promenade upon the principal streets of the city. Acting upon the principle of the Irishman at a Donnybrook fair, who, whenever he saw a head, hit at it, so this little party, whenever a light appeared, fired at it, and it served not only to encourage our tired soldiers, but it told to the foe, with thunder tones, that we were still victors, proud and defiant. The men lay on their arms until about 2 o'clock in the morning, when I deemed it best, as they were suffering greatly from cold and hunger, to withdraw, which was done quietly and in order, some of Colonel MacDonald's command and Major Elliott's scouts picketing my flanks and front. My brigade suffered seriously in the attack upon Springfield, but it covered itself all over with glory, and won imperishable laurels. There the heroic John W. Buffington, second lieutenant of Company H, First Regiment, ahead of his best and bravest, fell, almost leading a forlorn hope.
Oh! smooth the damp hair over his brow;
It is pale and white, and ghastly now;
And hide the wounds in his gory breast,
For his soul has fled to its final rest.
In the charge beyond the stockade, after that had been won, and almost upon the enemy's guns, H. S. Titsworth, captain of Company H, First Regiment, fell, badly wounded, and has since died. The South had no nobler champion, our cause no braver defender, and he, with Major [Samuel] Bowman, of Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey's regiment, and Lieutenant Buffington form an illustrious trio---three of the grand "immortal names that were not born to die." Peace to their ashes! When the warfare of the world is over, when time strikes records with eternity, and mortality is paling beyond the sunset shore, and the billows of dissolution are white with the wrecks of the universe, these deathless spirits will rise beautiful from their urns of death and chambers of decay, and join the noble band of Southern martyrs that have fallen "with their backs to the field and their feet to the foe."
After the men had all breakfasted the next morning, after ammunition had been distributed, and a leisurely forming of the brigade effected, we started from the scene of a hard-fought battle. The mission had been accomplished; two forts had been captured, a piece of artillery taken, several hundred prisoners paroled, considerable commissary stores destroyed, and we, after making almost a circuit of the town with floating banners and waving pennons, left it alone in its glory, because all had been done that could be done.
Friday, the 9th, moved east with my brigade on the Rolla road, and camped for the night at Sand Spring, where your escort and Lieutenant Scott had fired a Federal fort.
The 10th, we marched through Marsh field, and after burning the fort there, which was done by Colonels MacDonald and Thompson, and after forming a junction with Colonel Porter's command, we camped again for the night, but with orders issued to move at 3 o'clock upon the enemy, as our scouts had brought information of their close proximity.
After a brisk, stiff gallop for several hours this quiet Sunday morning of the 11th, Colonel Porter, leading the advance, came upon them, and formed to fight, waiting in line until my brigade came up, which it did in splendid spirits. After maneuvering for a while, at your order we marched hurriedly to the town of Hartville, and found the enemy in position. My brigade was immediately dismounted and formed for the attack, and Collins stationed on a commanding hill with his three-gun battery. Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon held the left, Lieutenant-Colonel Gilkey the center, and Colonel Thompson the right, the other portions of your division being disposed by your immediate command. Almost immediately after dismounting, I threw out skirmishers, and advanced the whole line upon the town and upon the woods beyond, knowing that within the dark shades of the timber the crouching Federals were waiting for the spring. After gaining the town, and just upon entering the woods, the brigade received a terrible and well-directed fire, which was so sudden that it almost became a surprise. The men stood all its fury well, and it was not until the tornado had passed did they begin to waver; some fell back, it is true; some stood firm, and others crouched behind obstructions that sheltered them; but the left of the First Regiment closed in on them, and the fight raged evenly there. Gordon fell back a little with his regiment, formed their lines anew, and marched again upon the foe. Shanks, with three companies on the right, covered Porter's artillery, and fought long and well. Thompson gets away from the noise and confusion of the start, and comes up sternly on the right. Gordon advances his regiment on the left again, and death's black banner is waving there, and his best and bravest are falling round him. Gilkey comes up to Gordon's aid, and Shanks and Thompson are doing all that men can do to stem the tide. Maj. George R. Kirtley, of the First, and Capt. C. M. Turpin, of Company I, First also, are dead. Captains Dupuy, Burkholder, Jarrett, and Webb, of the Second, are wounded. Captain Garrett, First Sergt. William Buckley, and Private C. [B.] Bullard, of Company G, all of the First Regiment, and all lion-hearted, are badly wounded, and more are falling. Gordon's ensign is shot down, but Lieutenant Corder, of Company C, catches the fallen beacon, and the banner of the bars waves again high over the lurid light of the fight. Collins' battery is busy with its work of death, and his men stand nobly to their posts. But the conflict wanes, and Federals are retreating. I drew off my brigade, mounted them, and left Gordon's regiment to bring up the rear. No pursuit was attempted, for the condition of horses and men forbade it, and prudence demanded we should fall back nearer to our base, which began on the night of the 11th and continued until the evening of the 20th, suffering from cold, hunger, fatigue, rain, snow, and all the ills our exposed condition presented. The trip, general, will be a memorable one. The enemy thought that your division, broken down and demoralized, was hibernating on the banks of the Arkansas, and could do nothing. What will be their surprise to learn that this same division, after marching 300 miles on unshod and miserable horses, hurled itself upon their Gibraltar of the Southwest, terrified them into burning commissary and quartermaster's stores, caused them to evacuate forts, which were burned, frightened Rolla into hysterics, gave the militia of the surrounding country the nightmare for months to come, and woke a thrill in Southern hearts that will prove seed for the harvest. During the march from Hartville to Batesville, the men suffered much, and some in my brigade are badly frozen, yet the cause demanded the sacrifice, and it was made.
I cannot close this report without calling your attention to the brave and gallant manner in which Lieutenant Collins handled his battery, assisted by Lieutenant [Jacob D.] Connor and Sergeants [F. L.] Wayman and [Joseph] Cooper. They deserve a separate battery. Lieutenant-Colonels Gordon and Gilkey, Colonel Thompson, Majors Smith and Shanks, Adjutants [Eli] Hodge, Edwards, and [George M.] Winship did their duty well and nobly, and can be greeted as "Well done, good and faithful servants."
Captain Crocker, of Company K, First Regiment, fell at Hartville badly wounded, and my brigade is thereby deprived of as gallant, as heroic a spirit as ever drew sword for the battles of the right. The officers and men of my command, with but few exceptions, answered all my expectations, and will do to rely upon when "Greek meets Greek." I am also indebted to the valuable assistance of my adjutant, Capt. W. J. McArthur, who, always cool and collected, moved the various regiments without the slightest mistake. In closing my report of this adventurous foray, you will pardon the pride I manifest in speaking of the heroic examples and conduct of many of my men and officers. Captain Dupuy, of the Second Regiment, brave, and tender of heart as a woman, fell, badly wounded, and has lost a leg. The chivalrous Captain [Washington] McDaniel, of Major Elliott's scouts, in that grim charge of Hartville, fell, with a bullet through his dauntless breast, just as the Federals retreated and a few faint notes of victory came pealing on the air. Lieutenant Royster, of the First Regiment, and Captains [H. D.] Stengle and D. A. Williams, of the Second Regiment, showed a bravery and heroism worthy of all praise, and poor Royster was left behind badly wounded. Thomas Smart, private, also of same regiment, who was killed, left behind a name bright as the hills that girt the shores of paradise. In the First Regiment, Privates Bushrod Corder, Christopher Moorman, Harvey Plattenburg, James Gordon, and many others particularly distinguished themselves. Maj. George R. Kirtley and Capt. James M. Garrett, of the First, have left behind them immortal names – names that are too bright to die. My young orderly, Jimmy Clark, displayed a venturesome courage and bravery worthy of the most favorable notice, and was always where I needed him, in his place. My volunteer aide, Captain Waters, was of great assistance, always brave, cool, collected, and daring; wherever the fire was heaviest there he was, and never flinched. My quartermaster and commissary, Majors [G. D.] Page and [John B.] Dale, were always with me, rendering valuable assistance by their great coolness and attention. To those ladies of Little Rock who so kindly remembered my brigade, their thanks are especially due, and under the folds of their starry banners many a noble heart was fired and many a proud step fell quicker when their silken folds caught each warrior's eye.
JO. O. SHELBY,
Colonel, Commanding Cavalry Brigade.
Commanding Cavalry Division.
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