Battle of Pea
Report of Capt. Louis Hoffann, Fourth Independent Battery Ohio Light Artillery.
CAMP, March 14, 1862.
On the morning of the 6th instant the battery, with other troops of the First Division, left Cooper's farm for the march to Sugar Creek via Bentonville. When at a place about 4 miles northeast from Bentonville the First Division received information of an attack of the enemy upon the rear guards of our army. The battery, with the Thirty-sixth Illinois Infantry and other parts of the Second Brigade, First Division, on order of Acting General Osterhaus, immediately returned for the support of said rear guards. After a march of about 2 miles Lieut. George Froehlich was posted with two howitzers of the battery in the front of the division, and having thrown 21 shells, spherical case; and canister, at the enemy, compelled him to cease his firing. Lieutenant Froehlich then returned with his section, on order of General Osterhaus, and joined the other two sections of the battery, which, with the Thirty-sixth Illinois, were posted on the road about 1 mile east from the place of action. The whole battery then marched to the camp occupied by the rest of our troops, and was posted on a hill in the neighborhood of Sugar Creek, north of the Bentonville road.
March 7, at 7 o'clock a.m., the battery, on order, left the said hill, and was posted near the headquarters of General Osterhaus, at the Telegraph road, and then marched with the other troops of the First Division about 1 ½ miles northwest, when they met the enemy. Before having been placed in position for the battle the enemy made a severe attack upon the battery, which, however, by the skillful and fast operations of the division and brigade commanders, General Osterhaus and Colonel Greusel, was saved, and being promptly placed in position, met the attack of the enemy with good result. The battery remained at the battle ground from 10 o'clock a.m. to 3 o'clock p.m., and although the fight was a very hot one, compelled the enemy's batteries to cease their firing, and did not change its position until the enemy left his position in the woods and retired. During the battle Private Anthony Meyer, cannoneer, was slightly wounded in the left leg, and 2 horses of the battery were wounded: The four 6-pounder rifled guns threw on that occasion 221 shots and the two howitzers 72 shells and spherical case.
After the retreat of the enemy the battery, on order, left the battlefield and posted itself at a settlement called Leetown, about a quarter of a mile south of the battle ground. At 4.30 o'clock p.m., on order to General Sigel, one section of the battery, commanded by Lieut. Louis Piderit, returned to the battle ground, and remained there with other troops on picket guard, and another section, commanded by Lieut. Max Frank, was detailed to the staff of General Sigel for reconnoitering. The section of two howitzers, commanded by Lieutenant Froehlich, was ordered to the Fayetteville road, on the battle ground of the right wing.
On order of General Sigel, Corporal Conrad Ebner was sent at 11 o'clock p.m. by Lieutenant Frank to the camp for the purpose of furnishing the section of Lieutenant Frank with a caisson filled with ammunition; said corporal, in company with 3 privates, Lorenz Gruner, John Meyer, and Rudolph Frese, left the camp at 1 o'clock a.m., March 8, taking along the caisson for the said purpose; but as neither the men nor the caisson, drawn by 6 horses, arrived at the place designated, and as they are missed since the time they left the camp, it is supposed that they, being misled by the darkness of the night, took a wrong road, and, together with the horses and the caisson, fell in the hands of the enemy.
March 8, before daybreak, the different sections of the battery returned from their detachments into the camp, and, by order of General Sigel, the whole battery left the camp at 7 o'clock a.m. and was stationed near the general's headquarters. Left said place with other troops of the First Division shortly after its arrival, and, commanded by General Osterhaus, marched to the battle-field, about 1 mile north of said headquarters, on the Telegraph road, where the enemy during the night previous had concentrated all his forces.
The battery was placed on the left wing of the First Division, on a high plateau, and has not changed its position, firing without interruption during nearly four hours. After having compelled the enemy to stop the firing of his batteries, Hoffmann's battery turned its whole attention to a high rocky hill opposite our plateau, occupied by the strongest force of the enemy, for the support of our infantry, which at that time commenced its marching up the said rocky hill. At 11 o'clock a.m., when the enemy left his position and commenced to retreat, the battery, on order, left the battle ground, and pursuing the enemy in northern direction on the Telegraph road and firing upon his rear guards, arrived at a place about 3 miles south of Keetsville, Mo., at 5 o'clock p.m., and remained there for encampment.
During the engagement of Saturday, the 8th instant, the battery seized 1 caisson, with ammunition, of the enemy. One horse of the battery was killed and 2 horses wounded. The four 6-pounder rifled guns of the battery have thrown 460 shots and the two howitzers 106 shells and spherical case.
On Sunday morning, March 9, the battery, with the other parts of the First Division, left for Keetsville, and after a short rest at that place returned for encampment to the battle grounds near the Sugar Creek, Arkansas.
For a more distinct explanation of the position of the battery during the engagement I inclose two sketches, marked A and B, the former of the battle ground of Friday, March 7, and the latter of the battle ground of Saturday, March 8, 1862.(not found)
Captain, Comdg. Light Battery, 2d Brig., 1st Div., Ohio Vols.
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