Battle of Pea Ridge
Report of Brig. Gen. Martin E.. Green, commanding Second Division, Missouri State Guard.
HDQRS. SECOND DIVISION, MISSOURI STATE GUARD,
SIR: I have the honor to report the following as the account of the part which that portion of the army under my command took in the march to Elkhorn in the engagement and return to this point:
On the morning of the 5th instant I received an order to take the rear with my division, letting the baggage train all precede me on the march, leaving my division to bring up the rear. At the camp at Elm Springs the same order was continued, which we continued to do with but little disturbance. On our approach near Bentonville our side scouts discovered an occasional Federal spy, a few of whom we captured. In passing through Bentonville 3 of our men came upon 11 Federals. Our men immediately ordered them to surrender, which they did without firing a gun, and were brought into our camp.
On the morning of the 7th I was ordered to leave the baggage at camp, near Camp Stephens, and go with my artillery and men and take a position at the cross-roads, northeast from Camp Stephens. On my arrival at the point above named I found two regiments of the Arkansas troops there to assist me in defending the point, to wit, Colonel Dawson's regiment, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Smith, and Colonel King's regiment of infantry; also Major Crump came up with his battalion of cavalry soon after we got to this point.
Learning there had been some Federal scouts seen east of us, I sent Major Crump, with 100 mounted men, to scout in an easterly direction. In a few hours they returned, having come upon several hundred of the enemy's cavalry. Believing it was unsafe for them to attack, they immediately countermarched, and were pursued by the enemy some distance. Our men came in in double-quick time, reporting the enemy approaching. All hands were now looking out, eager for the approach of the enemy; every man to his post, gun primed, and ready. We were not kept waiting long. Soon the enemy's cavalry appeared about 600 or 700 yards distant, but seemed cautious about approaching nearer. Soon they were joined by some infantry, when they commenced maneuvering to flank us. As soon as we discovered this move we let loose the artillery upon them. They immediately retreated behind a fence and commenced throwing shell at us. After firing a few rounds on each side the enemy retreated out of sight. On examination we found our firing had had the effect of killing 2, mortally wounding another, and crippling 1 horse.
All was quiet during the night, every man laying upon his arms in position of battle all night. About daylight I dispatched a messenger to General Price, informing him of our strength and situation. Before the return of my messenger I received a message from Colonel Wood, General Price's aide, to bring the baggage up to the army. I consequently put the train immediately on the road, protecting it by dividing my command front and rear, with side scouts on the east. We proceeded in this way, every man buoyant with the prospect of participating in the fight.
When within 1 mile of the battle ground on Saturday morning I met my messenger, bringing an order to return with the baggage to Elm Springs and there await further orders, unless hard pressed by the enemy, in which event I was authorized to continue the march south.
On Sunday at 12 o'clock my pickets were driven in by the enemy. I put the train in motion on the Walnut Grove road, and, in order to protect the baggage in getting out, directed Major Crump, with the cavalry, to move back on the road and skirmish with the enemy, which he did effectually, driving them beyond Bentonville in double-quick. After turning the baggage over I received an order for the ammunition wagons to be sent up. They were accordingly started, with Lieutenant-Colonel Priest and 100 men to guard it. After proceeding some distance difficulties began to present themselves. They accordingly turned back. After turning back they were run into by a lot of Federals. Our men returned the fire, scattered the Federals, and pursued them, capturing 4 prisoners, 9 horses, and several guns. Before they got up to us I received another message, saying the ammunition must be brought up if possible. I accordingly detailed Colonel Porter, with 200 Indians from Col. Stand Watie's command, to join Colonel Priest, and take a more circuitous route and try and get to the army. They succeeded in getting around, but the army had gone before their arrival. They made their way back to us, which they did by going west, joining us at Walnut Grove.
While at Elm Springs I had the co-operation of Colonel Stone, with his command and Brooks' battalion, who took position 5 miles this side of Elm Springs, at a cross-road, to prevent a surprise by the enemy in front. Colonel Cooper, with his command, staid with me until we left Elm Springs. He and his command then took the road leading down the line.
The heavy rain that fell Sunday morning caused the road to be very bad. We consequently had a very hard, tedious, tiresome march. We marched all night, keeping the force and artillery behind, scouts ahead and on each side, traveling in this way all night. As soon as we got to feed in the morning we fed our animals and took the road again, coming to Cove Creek Camp that night. We then took our march leisurely to this point. For the first 20 miles it was only through great exertion that the train could be kept moving.
I here avail myself of this opportunity to express my thanks to officers and men for their indefatigable exertions to push the train forward and the prompt manner in which they discharged all their duties. We lost but little on the road; some of the wagons, being heavy loaded were compelled to throw overboard some few things of little value to lighten their loads. Some old, worthless wagons broke down, which we were compelled to leave, of course.
All things considered our loss was very trifling, although some wagoners inconsiderately threw out some good, new tents. They were picked up by those who followed. The whole train is safely here.
We found on the road two 6-pounder guns and two caissons about to be left for want of teams, their teams having given out. With our captured horses and by dismounting a few men we brought them through. We also found at Cove Creek a large lot of guns. Not feeling willing to leave them, we changed our loads, got three empty wagons and loaded them with guns, and brought them through with us.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. E. GREEN,
Maj. Gen. STERLING PRICE, Comdg. Mo. State Guard.
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