Battle of Pea
Reports of Col. B. W. Stone, Sixth Texas Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTH TEXAS CAVALRY,
GENERAL: I have the honor of reporting to you the action of the Sixth Regiment Texas cavalry, under my command, in the late battle at Sugar Creek:
The five mounted regiments under the command of the late General McIntosh were formed in column in the timber west of the field occupied by the enemy, and were thus marched into the field, our gallant McIntosh at the head and intrepidly marching on the foe. When about 300 yards from the enemy's lines a large force of cavalry was discovered southeast of our then marching position, bearing the colors of the Stars and Stripes. At this moment from that point three heavy guns opened upon our columns a most destructive and galling fire, which mainly affected our second battalions. The regiment of Colonel Greer was on our extreme right, and next was the regiment under my command. At this moment the order was given to charge, and in an instant our gallant columns were pouring a destructive fire in the face of the enemy, and at once they abandoned their guns, and they were taken by our troops and secured.
The column under my command, after the guns were taken, bore to the left and formed line immediately in front of the infantry of the enemy, under a galling fire of infantry and a shower of grape and shell from their artillery. My regiment was then ordered to the rear, and executed the command in the most perfect order. I then reformed them in the open field, and my regiment then stood in ranks unmoved, with the batteries playing full upon us. Having been reserved as the only mounted regiment in the field I kept my position, receiving no orders on account of the fall--the fated fall--of our illustrious Generals McCulloch and McIntosh, until late in the evening, at which time some of our columns were retreating and the enemy attempting to flank our left. I wheeled my command in position to defend against the flanking movement. After being under march for this purpose I was ordered by General Pike to protect the retreat and preserve our trains, which command I obeyed through many difficulties, and brought off the entire division train and all of the public property. I had no further connection with the fight; a fact much regretted by the brave officers and men under my command.
I am especially grateful to Maj. L. S. Ross for his coolness and intrepidity; to Lieut. D. R. Gurley, adjutant; Lieutenant Porter, sergeant-major, and every captain and lieutenant in the regiment. All the officers and men are worthy of the highest praise.
Nothing could so completely have cast a gloom over my command as the untimely fall of our generals, and to their fall may be attributed whatever of disaster befel us. There are but 19 killed, wounded, and missing of my regiment.
I will here state, in behalf of the soldier-like bearing of my men, that they were at all times in ranks, and as cheerful and ready to form in the shower of lead around them as they ever were in camps when called to the drill or dress parade, and did so with the same dispatch.
I am, general, with consideration of the highest regard, your obedient servant,
B. WARREN STONE,
Colonel Sixth Regiment Texas Cavalry.
DES ARC, ARK., April 14, 1862.
GENERAL: In this report of the part taken by the troops under my command in the late action at Elkhorn, to do them justice for their services, I must detail the events of a few days preceding the engagement:
On February 17, while in winter quarters, I received orders to march with dispatch through Fayetteville in the direction of the enemy. In six hours my men were in the saddle train en route, ammunition distributed, and the march begun. I made 20 miles the same day and encamped on the north side of Boston Mountains.
At daylight the following morning the troops were on the move. Receiving orders during the day urging me forward, I hastened, fed my stock by the road-side, and made a march of 54 miles to Cross Hollow, where we arrived at 10 p.m., through continuous rain and sleet and Egyptian darkness.
Next morning I was detailed to destroy the winter quarters in the vicinity of Cross Hollow and to bring up and protect the rear of the army, which was then falling back on Boston Mountains. As the thick, curling volumes of smoke and lurid glare of flame arose from Camp Benjamin my troops doggedly turned to the duty of rear guard for the army, and maintained this position until we were encamped upon the mountain.
Maj. L. S. Ross, of my command, was then called for to take a scouting party in rear of the enemy and cut off his train and annoy his rear. This duty was most gallantly performed by attacking a portion of the enemy's army at Keetsville, killing 25 of his number, capturing 9, and destroying much of his train and commissary supplies. The major returned with wearied, conquering heroes from the field without the loss of a man, although he met the very blaze of their guns only a few feet distant. I cannot too highly estimate the chivalry and gallantry of this intrepid, daring knight, nor too highly appreciate the prudence and administrative ability of this officer, who, although but a boy, has won imperishable honors as all officer in the border warfare of Texas on repeated occasions, meeting, as he has now done, the full appreciation and admiration of our executive, and securing his fullest confidence. It is with pride that I thus bear testimony to the distinguished merits of my brave major, L. S. Ross.
After your advance movement was taken against the enemy at Sugar Creek my immediate brigadier-general (McIntosh) detailed my regiment to make a demonstration against the enemy at Mud Town and Cross Hollow, while the entire army moved by Elm Springs towards Bentonville. This order was delivered to me on the 5th, and was executed as I will now detail: I moved my troops, unsupported either by artillery or infantry, to the batteries of the enemy at Mud Town, but their guns having the best range possible at my column and being heavily supported by infantry, with overwhelming odds against us, I determined to seek a better field. By meeting Colonel Phelps, with his regiment, who was in our rear on the Huntsville road, I turned my column in that direction and succeeded in capturing 40 prisoners, 10 wagons with six-mule teams, some loose mules, and a lot of horses. Captain Jack Wharton late in the evening had a spirited picket skirmish and drove in the enemy's pickets.
I bivouacked at night in a strong natural position, looking for the columns of the enemy until next morning, when we marched and joined the troops in the skirmish at Bentonville on the 6th.
On the morning of the 7th General McIntosh led our cavalry columns against the enemy at 11.30 o'clock, and we unexpectedly met him. He at once opened a galling and destructive fire upon our ranks from his left. The order to charge was immediately given, and the heavens resounded with the tramp of warriors' steeds as they swept the field and rushed impetuously on the enemy's battery. My regiment gallantly led in this most brilliant charge, which was but momentarily withstood by the enemy, who left his guns in the most precipitous flight. The first three companies, under Captains Wharton, Throckmorton, and Bridges, poured a most destructive fire upon the enemy near his guns, killing near 80 of his number. Thanks to these gallant officers for their promptness, valor, and success.
Passing the batteries with my troops, I drew up in line of battle 80 yards distant from the enemy's line of infantry, supporting heavy guns immediately in our front, which at once began a destructive fire upon us. I waited for orders for a general charge, but was directed to withdraw to a greater distance, which I did in the most perfect order. My troops were the only ones to be left mounted during the day on our right, and forming again in the rear of our former line, we stood, during the balance of the day, the continued fire of ball, shell, and shot from the enemy's guns without wavering or complaint and with the sternness of veterans of a hundred battles. All credit to my brave troops.
About the time of our second formation of line our distinguished leader, the gallant, chivalrous McCulloch, fell, embalming his country's cause with his own blood, and depriving his admiring soldiery of their military chieftain and idol. But a short time after this and near the same portion of the field fell Brig. Gen. James McIntosh, in whose courage the troops had the most implicit confidence. May history do their characters justice and later years appreciate their loss as we felt it on that day. Several hours elapsed before I knew certainly of their sad fate, during which time I dispatched officers and aides to every part of the field for orders, but who invariably returned without them, leaving me in the most perplexed condition and mental anguish.
Learning certainly of the death of our generals, I dispatched Major Ross, of my regiment, to you for orders and to give you the true condition of our end of the field. During his absence I was ordered by General Pike to cover the retreat of the infantry (who were then withdrawing from the field) and our train, at that moment threatened by a large force of infantry from the enemy. This I did at once, with the determination of obeying the order and returning to the field, but was afterwards ordered to the arduous and dangerous duty of protecting the train to the mountains. This I accomplished with the prompt assistance of Majors Brooks and Crump, with their battalions; Captain [L. G.] Harmans, of Colonel Young's regiment, and Provence's battery, of four guns, under Lieutenant McDonald.
I am under special obligations to these officers for their aid and officer-like bearing, as also to Colonel King, who was in command of a regiment of Arkansas militia. I brought off in safety the entire train of Price's and McCulloch's divisions of the army.
During the days immediately preceding the battle [my] men took, all told, 70 prisoners, for which I am indebted to Major Ross and Capt. R. M. White--than whom there are no better scouting officers in the Confederate Army.
On the battle-field my first battalion was immediately under the command of Major Ross; the second, under the command of Lieut. D. R. Gurley. Both these officers discharged their whole duty to my full satisfaction.
I am under obligations to my sergeant-major (Porter) and my aides (J. A. Echols and G. Graves) for their efficiency and promptness in executing my orders; indeed, officers and men by their conduct have inspired me with the fullest confidence, and now I think they will follow me to danger or death or wherever duty calls.
I regretted much the temporary absence of my lieutenant-colonel (J. S. Griffith), which deprived him of the privilege of mingling in the fight.
Having thus reported to you the part taken by my men, I have only to report 19 men killed, wounded, and missing from my ranks, and the heavy loss of 30 horses lost in action.
You will please receive general, assurances of my high consideration.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
B. WARREN STONE,
General EARL VAN
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