Battle of Pea
Report of Maj. William D. Bowen, Bowen's Battalion Missouri Cavalry, and including operations since February 10, 1862.
HEADQUARTERS BOWEN'S BATTALION OF CAVALRY,
GENERAL: In pursuance of general orders, dated Headquarters, Rolla, Mo., January 25, 1862, this command, with four mountain howitzers attached, under charge of Captain Stephens, Company A, acting as body-guard to Brigadier-General Curtis, took up the line of march for Lebanon, Mo., which point was reached without any incident worthy of comment on the 29th January, when the command encamped.
On the 10th of February, 1862, in pursuance of general orders, dated Headquarters Army of the Southwest, Lebanon, Mo., this command moved towards Springfield. On the 12th instant our advance saw and fired on the enemy's pickets. My command was ordered to the front, which was rapidly gained, when I immediately opened with the howitzers on a heavy picket of the enemy, concealed partially from view by the thick brush. After two rounds the rebels disappeared. At 8 p.m. the camp was alarmed by heavy firing in the front. My command was rapidly pushed forward to the scene of action, but the rebels were already repulsed.
On the 14th, whilst in advance, came suddenly upon the rebel camp, threw 10 shells in the camp, killing 15 and wounding 9. Finding the enemy were trying to outflank us and being so far from the main army, we fell back to camp to-day. We took 30 prisoners, amongst them the notorious Colonel Freeman.
On the 16th, about 3 a.m., sent out 10 men, under command of Lieutenant Ballou, Company C. and Sergeant-Major Evans, to reconnoiter the position of the rebels. They found that the whole force had retreated some time before. About 12 m. came up with the enemy's rear guard, concealed by the brush in the Cross Timber; commenced throwing shell amongst them, then advanced our battery to within 200 yards of their position, and threw canister into their ranks, when they fled. The prisoners taken at this place state their loss was heavy from our shell and canister.
On the 17th came up to the enemy's re-enforcements, opened fire with the howitzers from the valley, when the cavalry was ordered to advance. We formed the center of the column, moved up with the guns to within 200 yards of the enemy's battery. After firing a few rounds we retired, together with the cavalry; advanced again, and maintained the position till our place was filled by one of the heavy batteries. Two guns only were used, the other two being in the rear. On the 22d detached two mountain howitzers, under command of Lieutenant Madison, and Company B, cavalry, Captain Ing, to join an expedition, under Colonel Vandever, to Huntsville, Ark. Detachment returned to camp on the evening of the 6th. On the 7th formed my command for battle. At 12 m., according to orders, took two guns, under Lieutenant Madison, and Company C, Captain Benteen, and reported to Acting Brigadier-General Carr, who instructed me to take position on the road between the Ninth Iowa and the Twenty-fourth Missouri. After firing 24 rounds my pack caissons were exhausted, and I fell back. Having resupplied myself with ammunition, took post about 300 yards to the left of my former position, and threw spherical-case shot into the ranks of the enemy until, finding their heavy guns had our range, we fell back. The ensuing day Captain Williams, with Company D, pursued the enemy some 4 miles, taking 10 prisoners and capturing a wagon and a number of horses.
On the 9th, according to orders from General Curtis, this command reported to Colonel Bussey, Third Iowa Cavalry, proceeded to Bentonville, and attacked the rear of the enemy; threw two shells into their force, captured several horses, and took a number of prisoners. The command returned to the camp about 8 p.m.
I have the honor to inclose herewith a list of the killed, wounded, and missing of this command since the 26th January, 1862.
WM. D. BOWEN,
Commanding Battalion Cavalry.
Commanding Army of the Southwest, U.S. Army.
page visit since October 21, 2002
Page last edited 06/27/2009