Battle of Pea Ridge
MARCH 6-8, 1862
Report of Col. Nicholas Greusel, Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry, commanding Second Brigade, First Division.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION,
The following report of the action taken by Second Brigade, First Division, in the engagements of the 6th, 7th, and 8th March is respectfully submitted:
March 6, about 2 o'clock p.m., I received your order to march the brigade from Sugar Creek back to your assistance, and immediately halted the regiments and the batteries on the road and marched them back on the double-quick about 3 miles, where I found you hotly pursued by the enemy. I formed the Thirty-sixth Illinois in line of battle, and then, by your order, fell back slowly about 1 mile, where I reformed four companies in ambush and marched the other six companies 1 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 Sugar Creek.
March 7 I received your order at 9 o'clock a.m., and marched my command to an open field or farm a little north of Leetown, and formed in the following order: Thirty-sixth Illinois on the left, Hoffmann's battery next on the right, Twelfth Missouri next on the right, and three pieces of Welfley's battery, supported by Company E, Thirty-sixth Illinois, 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, which prevented his following up the retreat. Soon after this I directed Lieutenant Bencke's section of Welfley's battery to throw three shells to a high and steep hill on our right and about a mile in advance, which appeared to be occupied by officers, directing the movements of the enemy. These shells dispersed them. After this I threw out Companies B and G of the Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteers--Company B to skirmish and Company G to cover. These companies soon discovered three regiments of the enemy's infantry lying in ambush and one formed in square, whom they engaged for about fifteen minutes, retiring in good order, but with the loss of 20 wounded--13 in Company G and 7 in Company B. It was during this skirmish that the officer supposed to be General Ben. McCulloch was shot by Peter Pelican, of Company B, Thirty-sixth Illinois Volunteers. I then directed the artillery to fire upon the ambushed enemy, and moved forward the Thirty-sixth Illinois, 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 Thirty-sixth Illinois and Twelfth Missouri, taking several prisoners, when I received your order, and marched my command to a large field about 2 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 Keetsville 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 8 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 Twelfth Missouri and Hoffmann's battery, and the Thirty-sixth Illinois on the left, in close columns by division. Soon after I directed two companies of the Twelfth Missouri and two from the Thirty-sixth Illinois, which I increased to four companies from each of these regiments, to skirmish the hill and slopes. These skirmishers advanced in splendid style and drove the enemy before them, those of the Twelfth Missouri 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 roads 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 7 or 8 miles, when we went into camp. The next morning (9th instant) we marched to Keetsville, and then returned to camp near Elkhorn Tavern.
Our loss is as follows: Thirty-sixth Illinois, 3 killed, 32 wounded (2 of whom have since died), and 1 lieutenant and 30 enlisted men prisoners. This regiment brought into action 830 men and officers, and nearly all the casualties, except the capture of the prisoners, occurred on the 7th. In the Twelfth Missouri 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 fire 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 Twelfth Missouri, and the untiring energy and valor of my acting assistant adjutant-general, George A. Willis, and of my aide-de-camp, Lieut. 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, Company B, and Capt. Irving W. Parkhurst, Company G, Thirty-sixth Illinois, who led their commands against an overwhelming force of the enemy and brought them off with little loss, and also the brilliant charge made by Companies H and K, Thirty-sixth Illinois, under the command of Capts. Merritt L. Joslyn and J. Quincy Adams, which drove a large force of the enemy like chaff before the wind.
Colonel, Commanding Second Brig., First Div., S. W. D.
Commanding First Division.
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