Battle of Pea
Report of Capt. Sampson P. Barris, Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry.
IN CAMP IN THE FIELD, March 9, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor of reporting to you that upon receiving your order at daylight of Friday, 7th instant, I formed my company of those present for duty, consisting of 36 men, and marched out west as skirmishers, according to order. When within about three-quarters of mile from camp we fell in with Captains O'Connor and Lewis, of the cavalry of the provost guard, who were firing occasionally on the enemy in the brush, when I took my command out in the brush on the left. We scoured the wood for some distance, when we came to a farm. We divided the company, Lieutenant Hart taking command of one platoon flanking the right of the road, myself, with the other platoon, taking the left. In that position, with cavalry in the center, under their commanders respectively, we pursued the enemy some distance, when I came in sight of them in the distance and opened a fire on them to draw their attention (which they answered), while Lieutenant Hart came up on their left flank and opened fire on them from the brush, which caused them to break in retreat. Becoming satisfied that they were falling back on a strong force we withdrew, together with the whole command, into camp. The whole command, according to my judgment, acted with coolness and bravery.
When we had been in camp some twenty minutes we were called under arms by your order and marched out, when, according to your order, we took position on the side of the hill east of the encampment, as skirmishers, to hold the enemy in check. We had but short time to wait when the enemy approached in considerable force. We opened a fire on them. After a few rounds they fell back a short distance and took cover behind trees, logs, &c., and continued the fire for some time. We were soon re-enforced by Captain Reed, Company A, who formed on our left and entered into the engagement with a coolness and bravery that would have done honor to veteran soldiers. The action lasted some hour and a half, when the enemy retired, moving to our left, after which by your order we moved our position to the left on top of the hill, where we were joined by Lieutenant Lyon, in command of Companies I and H, together with some Iowa infantry and cavalry, the whole under the command of Captain Reed, which position we held till late in the evening, when we were ordered to take position at the foot of the hill, where we were under your immediate command from that time forward. I can say for my men and officers that they exceeded my expectations for deliberate firing, coolness, and courage.
Upon the whole, I believe your whole command acted as soldiers fighting for a good cause.
I have the honor to be, your humble servant,
S. P. BARRIS,
Captain Comdg. Co. F, Twenty-fourth Mo. Vols, Lyon Legion.
Maj. ELI W. WESTON.
page visit since October 22, 2002
Page last edited 06/27/2009