No. 2. Report of Colonel Nicholas Perczel, Tenth Iowa Infantry, of expedition from Cape Girardeau, with instructions from General Grant.
CAMP FREMONT, Cape Girardeau, Mo., November 12, 1861.
SIR: In accordance with orders under date of November 6, 1861, I started with the detachment under the command of Colonel Ross, taking with me the section of Campbell's battery and a small body of Lieutenant-Colonel Murdoch's cavalry as an advance guard. In the afternoon the advance guard saw a picket of the enemy, which retreated before them.
In the expectation of meeting the enemy I pushed forward in quick time, but found Spring Hill, where there was a camp of about 250 of the enemy's cavalry, deserted. I marched on till evening, and encamped this side of the Castor River.
I had most reliable information of Jeff.thompson's forces in Bloomfield. He had 1,500 men, part of whim were cavalry, and three pieces of artillery. I was determined to attack him the next day.
Officers and men seemed to be highly elated at the prospect of a fight, and would no doubt have done their duty.
On the morning of the 7th I received a letter from Colonel Oglesby, informing me that he would be at Bloomfield with his forces between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and that he would wait for my arrival. As I was at that time only 6 miles from Bloomfield, and hoping that Thompson might make a stand against my forces, I decided not to wait, but to march forward.
At the moment of starting my scouts brought in two citizens of Bloomfield, bearing a flag of truce; they tendered the submission of their town to the legal authorities and begged for protection. They reported that Thompson retreated the day previous toward Saint Luke. I then marched forward, arrived in Bloomfield at 10 o'clock a.m., took possession of it, and promised protection to the citizens upon condition of their good behavior. Unfortunately some disorders occurred. They were, however, speedily stopped by the appointment of a provost-marshal.
I encamped in the camp recently occupied by Jeff. Thompson, and immediately sent out scouts toward Saint Luke. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon Colonel Oglesby arrived with only a company of cavalry.
His progress having been delayed by bad roads across the swamps, he did not expect to arrive with his troops before the next day. He left a troop of cavalry with me and returned to his forces at Castor River. I sent patrols and scouting parties from Lieutenant-Colonel Murdoch's horse guard in the direction of the enemy, and protected the camp by sufficient outposts.
At noon on the 8th Colonel Oglesby arrived with his forces, and gave me orders to be in readiness to march in two hours. His first intention was to push after Thompson; his second, to march toward New Madrid; and his third, to march towards Belmont, across Nigger Wool Swamp. He gave me orders to march in the last-named direction, promising to follow the next morning. I marched out and encamped at Bessy's Mill.
In the night I received a letter from Colonel Oglesby, informing me that our friends had engaged the enemy at Belmont, and that they had been routed, and his determination to return to his detachment via