Battle of Pea
Report of Col. James P. Saunders, commanding Fifth Division, Missouri State Guard.
HDQRS. FIFTH DIVISION, MISSOURI STATE
SIR: I have the honor to report to you that on the morning of the 7th instant the Fifth Division, consisting of about 700 infantry and 125 horse and Captain Kelly's battery of artillery, embracing five pieces, took post on the left wing of the Missouri forces (except the horse, which was detached for the day) under orders. My force consisted of the remainder of regiments reduced to skeletons by expiration of time and transfer to Confederate service.
About 11 o'clock I was ordered to occupy a verge to the east of the enemy's position, while Colonel Gates' cavalry went forward to reconnoiter and observe his movements. My instructions were to observe the movements of Colonel Gates and to retire with him if such a measure should be deemed necessary, which a few moments later I accordingly did, and took a position, which I held, with but occasional fighting, till about 3 o'clock, when the left wing was ordered to advance. This movement contemplated an advance of at least a mile, which was made all the way in range of the enemy's guns and most of it under fire of small-arms. Without faltering and with but occasional halts my command advanced with the utmost gallantry to the final charge, routing the enemy and strewing the ground with the dead.
At night-fall we dressed our lines and lay down upon our arms, preparatory to the expected conflict on the ensuing day.
About sunrise on the 8th we again advanced several hundred yards and to within 200 yards of the enemy's guns, which position I held till ordered off the field.
The coolness of the men and the gallantry of the officers cannot be too highly extolled. I will not be so invidious as to name any of those in the line.
To my staff I return my grateful acknowledgments, and especially commend to your favorable consideration George D. Shackelford, my adjutant, and Dr. Palmer, division surgeon, and G. W. Van Lear, volunteer aide, who behaved with distinguished coolness and gallantry throughout both days.
My loss was 9 killed and 32 wounded.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. P. SAUNDERS,
Col., Comdg. Fifth Division, Missouri State Guard.
Maj. Gen. STERLING PRICE.
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