Battle of Pea
Report of Capt. Martin Welfley, Missouri Light Artillery.
CAMP PEA RIDGE, March 11, 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 McKisick Tuesday, March 4, with two howitzers, on an expedition. Thursday night, the 6th instant, I returned with one piece to Camp Sugar Creek, leaving the other in charge of Lieutenant Waizenegger.
On Friday morning, March 7, I received marching orders, and left with the command, under General Osterhaus, with three howitzers, leaving the two 12-pounder guns in command of Lieutenant Jacoby, on the ridge, looking south. Being ordered to advance, I went forward about half a mile, where, as I was advancing on a small road surrounded by a timber, the Third Iowa Cavalry rushed down upon me in a regular stampede, running several of my men down. I ordered my pieces left about, which movement was made in good order, but just as I was leaving the timber one of the horses was shot and broke the tongue, and it was impossible to take the piece along. As soon as we had formed in line, myself and Lieutenant Bencke went forward with two companies of infantry of the Twelfth Missouri Volunteers, and, after considerable labor, were able to bring the piece from the brush and into action. We kept up a steady fire on the enemy for about four hours, after which the firing ceased. About dark we followed the main column, and got to camp at 2 o'clock a.m. At 4 o'clock p.m. the two 12-pounder guns came out to the field of action, and returned to camp with General Davis' division.
On Saturday the 8th instant, at 6 o'clock a.m., the battery being ready, was ordered to the left wing, where I occupied with all five pieces the center of our division. Here my battery suffered most, being exposed to a terrific fire from the enemy. After two hours' continuous firing I ordered the three howitzers to advance, and sent the 12-pounder guns to the left, where they occupied a slightly elevated ground, and opened a very successful fire on the then retreating forces of the enemy. The three howitzers then went forward and struck the Cassville road near the Elkhorn Tavern. After arriving here I had the honor to pursue the enemy, which I did till 4 o'clock p.m., when the advance guard camped about 2 miles south of Keetsville. Sunday morning we kept up our advance about 2 miles north of Keetsville, when I was ordered to return to camp, arriving at 2 o'clock p.m.
Enough praise cannot be given to my officers and men, all of whom behaved with the utmost coolness and bravery. To the Twelfth Regiment Missouri Volunteers I am indebted for a fine 6-pounder brass cannon, which they captured in their advance, and also for rendering me such valuable assistance in recapturing my disabled piece the day before. My loss during the two days' engagement is comparatively small, considering the heavy fire my battery was mostly exposed to; the third section, in command of Lieutenant Beneke, suffered most.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
Captain, Commanding Artillery.
General FRANZ SIGEL.
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