Brig. Gen. John McNeil, USA
Brig. Gen. John S. Marmaduke, CSA
Marmaduke had a strong cavalry division against the Union garrison with mixed reinforcements, totaling about 1,700.
The Union inflicted over 300 casualties and suffered only a dozen.
Marmaduke wanted to catch Brig. Gen. John McNeil, at Bloomfield, Missouri, and do it with his combined force to destroy the Union force rather than just push it back into fortifications. But McNeil got away and all Marmaduke could do was follow.
Marmaduke kept on his way to Cape Girardeau and on April 25 got word that McNeil was nearby. He sent troops to destroy or capture McNeil's force, but fresher intelligence arrived: the Federals had pulled into the town's fortifications. He tried a bluff, and demanded immediate surrender, but the defenders refused.
Marmaduke ordered one of his brigades to probe and discover the Federals' strength. Col. John S. Shelby's brigade made the demonstration which escalated into an attack. Those Union forces not already in the trenches pulled back into cover, and this gave the defending artillery a clear field of fire. Once the Yankees' strength was clear ' and after scouts reported steamers arriving with more Union troops ' Marmaduke broke off the attack.
The next morning a final attack was only intended to cover the withdrawal of the main body ' a feint. It didn't work and the Federals were soon hot on Marmaduke's heels.