No. 33. Report of Colonel S. F. Marks, Eleventh Louisiana Infantry, commanding First Brigade, Third Division.
HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, THIRD DIVISION,
Columbus, Ky., November 8, 1861.
SIR: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 7th instant, after receiving your order to hold my brigade in readiness for further instructions, I received order from Major-General Polk to report at his headquarters with the Eleventh Regiment in reserve until further orders; in about fifteen minutes the general ordered me on board the steamer Charm, to proceed across the river to the Missouri side, and by a flank movement to attack the enemy in the rear. On landing I moved up along the river bank until I saw General Pillow, who gave me the same order, and instructed me as to the proper direction to obtain that position. I then directed the head of my column towards the point indicated by the general and where the fire of the enemy seemed to be the hottest. In about fifteen minutes I had reached a position beyond their fire, and moved up through the bushes until I came in view of a body of men, who appeared to be the enemy, drawn up in an open field towards our left, but partially hid from our view by an intervening rise of ground. They displayed or had amongst them a Confederate flag; at the same time a party on our right called out to us, "For God's sake, don't fire on us; we are friends." I ordered my men to withhold their fire, thinking they might be so. I then ordered Major Butler to advance to the edge of the woods, to ascertain what regiment it was. As soon as they discovered the major the main body opened fire on him. I then ordered my men to commence firing, which they did rapidly and in gallant style. Lieutenant-Colonel Barrow, in immediate command of the Eleventh Regiment, at this moment brought up the left wing, placed them in line, and joined in the general fighting. In about half an hour the enemy's column, now separated in two divisions, the one trying to flank me on the right and the other on the left. I divided my command, and, with the assistance of Colonel Barrow, promptly seconded by all the officers of the line, got it in a position to front the enemy each way; we again opened a general fire for about an hour, at the expiration of which time the enemy broke and fled, hotly pursued by our troops for about half a mile, when I had them recalled and formed in line, at which General Polk arrived upon the field and ordered me to join General Cheatham (who had, I supposed, just arrived with fresh troops) in pursuit of the enemy which pursuit, led by Cheatham's command until they were driven under the batteries of their gunboats, which opened a terrible fire of shot, shell, and balls, to which we had no means of reply.
General Polk then ordered us to return to the bank of the river, as no further good could be accomplished by our muskets when opposed to their floating batteries. Our loss in this affair was, as per detailed statement herewith transmitted, 12 killed and 42 wounded; amongst them was the gallant Butler, who fell while bravely discharging his duty. Lieutenant Alexander, of the Cannon Guards, Company D, fell during the hottest of the fire, while gallantly cheering on his men to action. As to the enemy's loss I cannot state with any accuracy, but we counted in the immediate range of our fire over a hundred dead bodies, besides a larger number wounded and prisoners; amongst the latter was Major McClurken, Thirtieth Illinois Regiment, who was shot from his