Battle of Pea Ridge
Report of Capt. Henry A. Smith, Illinois Cavalry.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you an account of the proceedings of my command during the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th instant, which please find below:
March 6 left Camp Cooper soon after daylight, reaching Bentonville at 9 a.m. with 47 men, Lieutenant Chapman, with 20 men, having gone on scout to Pineville the evening before. Three of my men, being on provost guard, were not relieved in time to join the company, and were in consequence taken prisoners by the enemy. After remaining at Bentonville about half an hour the enemy appeared in sight on both flanks and in the rear, their cavalry on the right moving rapidly forward, with the evident intention of cutting us off, which they succeeded in doing about 1 mile east of the town, where we were ordered to act as flankers on the left-hand side of the road. The artillery and infantry were here engaged with the enemy for fifteen minutes, and finally succeeded in driving them back, our company being under fire during the time, but unable to make a charge on account of the brush being so thick in which the enemy were concealed.
After passing forward for 2 miles farther (a continued fire being kept up by the enemy and our skirmishers on left and in our rear), we were again obliged to halt and remain in a very exposed situation in the road (the bluffs on each side being inaccessible to cavalry) for some twenty minutes, during which time the firing was incessant. As soon, however, as the artillery opened upon them in front the road was soon cleared, and we passed forward to camp without further trouble, Lieutenant Chapman and his party coming in about an hour after us by a different road.
At 8 a.m. on the 7th Lieutenant Chapman, with the second platoon, were sent into the valley on the Telegraph road to act as patrol, where they remained until 3 p.m., when they received an order to join Company A. I remained with the wagons until 3 p.m., when I received an order from General Sigel to proceed to the left wing of our division with 20 men and report what I could learn in that direction. After proceeding in this direction about 1 mile we fell in with and captured 33 privates and the following officers: Colonel Hébert, Major and Captain Vigilini, of the Louisiana regiment, of McIntosh's division, the first, Colonel Hébert, being an acting brigadier-general in said division; also Colonel Mitchell and a captain of the Fourteenth Arkansas were of the number taken, and had we been left there until night I believe we would have captured at least 200 of the enemy. The prisoners stated that they had become separated from their commands in a charge made in the morning, and has been unable to rejoin them. At 5 o'clock received an order from General Sigel to return to camp and guard the prisoners and baggage train.
At 3 a.m. on the 8th was ordered to report to General Sigel, and was assigned a position on the left wing of our division, near where the Benton and Fremont Hussars were in line, where we remained until a short time before the firing ceased, when we were ordered to a position farther to the left, in a plowed field, where we remained in line until 11 a.m., when we received orders to move forward on the Telegraph road in pursuit of the enemy. We camped with our regiment that night.
March 9 moved forward to Keetsville with the advance, when I received an order from General Sigel to proceed to Cassville, but after advancing 3 miles on the road met Colonel Wright, with troops and train from that place, and returned with him, the object of my orders being accomplished. Reached our camp at Rose Hill at 7 p.m.
All which is respectfully submitted.
Yours, to command,
H. A. SMITH,
Captain, Comdg. Co. B ( Cav.), Thirty-sixth Regt. Ill. Vols.
Col. NICHOLAS GREUSEL,
Commanding Second Brigade, First Division.
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